Side Effects

sky with lamp

She sat in front of me, her hair shiny and straight, a tint of red lipstick on her thin lips, black polished nails. I could see she was nervous by the red blush spots on her pale, smooth neck.

“What is your take on this industry?” asks my co-assessor, and I glance at her. Where is that question coming from? Does it have anything to do with the assessment at all? I try to remember the questions we prepared. I look back at the student. She is talking, answering the question confidently, looking at my colleague.

“Yes, well, you know… blah, blah, blah…” I can’t actually hear the words she is speaking. It’s almost like she’s speaking in Mandarin and all I can do is observe her body language.

I squirm in my seat, take the rubber orange lid off my recyclable coffee cup and take a sip of the lukewarm tea. It tastes like nothing.

“So, what is your biggest takeaway from this experience?,” the student is being asked.

She raises her eyebrows and touches her mouth briefly, and then clasping one hand with the other, her nails so black and shiny, neat and competent, she sets off again, explaining all she knows and has learned. Again, I can’t understand anything except my own voice telling me that she obviously knows what she’s on about. And another voice wondering why she has stopped looking in my direction.

I look down at my own hands. They are turning a strange color. I have no nail polish, as that would only accentuate how unsightly my fingertips are. I see something rough on the back of my hands and brush at it. I wonder if it’s from the salmon I scaled yesterday. How in the heck did that stay on through my shower? But it doesn’t brush off.

I glance at my watch. We are grossly late. The school will close soon. I have been here almost all day. My mind is buzzing. I don’t know about them, but I want this assessment to be over. I look at the pile of papers on my desk.

“Do you have a question for her?” my colleague asks me.

“Um, yes, of course.” I am not sure which page we are looking at now. I flip through more papers, but half of them fall on the floor. As I reach over, to pick them up, my cup tips over and soaks everything on the table, including my laptop.

“Don’t worry,” says my colleague, “Let me go get some paper towels.” She steps out, ever so elegantly, looking fresh and together, although she’s been at school all day, doing numerous assessments. I admire her. Her sleek black hair, her bright eyes, her clever questions.

Meantime, the student is looking at me with what she probably hopes is a neutral expression, but I can read the dismay behind her eyes.

I look down at my hands and see they are now covered in scales. And my skin seems to have taken on a green hue. I quickly pull the sleeve of my jacket over my hands, and push my hands down under the table between us.

“Well, it seems we’ve covered everything now. All that’s left is to check your ID, you do have that with you, don’t you?” I ask her. I have pulled this last request out of nowhere, like a magician who suddenly realizes he’s got a rabbit in his cage and a parrot in his hat.

She pulls out her ID card and presents it to me. The picture is a few years old. She used to have red hair, but now it’s dyed that popular greyish blond, very glamorous in young girls in their mid-20s, but for us mid-aged ladies, it’s the natural color we try to cover up with any other shade.

“Um hum,” I mutter, leaning over to look at it. “Wait, let me get my glasses. Oh, your middle name is Sandy?” She leans over to look at it.

“Sandra.” She answers.

“Oh yes,” I answer and wait for my savior co-assessor to return. I don’t know how I got here, but hope to hell I can leave soon and get to a doctor to tend to my green skin and scales.

They told me that the medication might have some strange side effects.

This story was inspired by the prompts on this site: OnLine Writing Guild (OLWG), prompts #85

Number of the week: 37

 

Bring it on!

bed stand

Is it already 2019? How do the years jump past so fast?
Is this a poem or a post?
Is my brain on overdrive or overwork?
Will the sound of a train in the distance elicit sweet memories or trauma?

Everything is questionable.
Nothing is certain.
I woke up this morning to a sweet sensation of connection
And peacefulness.
And immediately questioned how long that would last.
I had dreams upon dreams
But they all slipped away.

I called the therapist
But she doesn’t have time
Yet
And the Company Doctor
can see me on Friday, is that a small yay?

One minute I think ‘all is fine, I can do this’
Next minute I’m choked up and my brain is buzzing.
My ears are warm
My heart is pumping
My eyes are blurring – it could be the contacts – they should be changed soon.

I read through my inbox just now.
Searching desperately for word from the Happy Goddessa who promises me that in 21 days I’ll have positive change. But her email isn’t here, and I don’t know
if I have the energy to fix her bugs.
I can hardly fix my own.

The meditation for sleep last night worked wonders
Along with the purple sleeping pill
And my newly decorated bed stand.
And no TV time, for a change.
No binging.
Just reading.
Helping myself to get to a good place.

What’s wrong with you, Audrey?
That gremlin shouts.
Just do what you have to.
Have to
Should
Need to
They are suffocating me – all these obligations.
I have an overpowering need to break free
To do something completely different
For a change.

But it’s so stormy outside,
I don’t dare face the weather.
I turn up the heat and drink tea
And coffee
And a smoothie
And think about going out.
And I do some of what I have to do.
I read my mails.
Most of my mails.
Some I ignore.
Some I can’t handle.
Thankfully, the battery on my laptop dies. It’s a respite.

There are too many questions.
Too many people with too many needs
Requests, more obligations.
Things to do.
They can carry me under
Like the undertow
On a sunny day,
When you think that
All is fine
And go out for a swim
In the warm, calm waters
But then…

Can’t return to shore, no matter how hard you try
Can’t shout because no one is listening.
Or if they hear you, they don’t understand what the problem is.
After all, you’re a great swimmer, aren’t you?

The chest is achy. Not the chest. It’s mine.
My chest. There’s a brick on top of it.
I’m stuffed with stuffing.
I’m a turkey roast
But not as tasty.

Turkey roasts just wait to be roasted
And carved
And eaten.
I hate waiting, so that can’t be me.

Crisis occurs when things need to change.
Okay, I’m ready.
Here I am.
Bring

            it

                   on.

20 years ago today – for Yarden

yarden image 2018

I should be haemorrhaging blood

Through my ears,

Screaming in agonizing pain,

Howling in sadness;

But 20 years have passed

Since I wrapped you last

in that soft striped yellow sheet

and they took you away.

 

Pain subsides over time.

Not at first, but

Gradually, like surf after a storm,

After a tsunami, a typhoon, a hurricane

Katrina

At first it’s ruins and disaster

Misery

The world an altered reality.

 

Eventually, waves no longer crash

With fury, but damage remains

The basement still flooded

The mildew creeping up the walls

And not wanting to do anything

At all

To fix it.

 

Years pass. Decades. I still weep

hard, at other people’s funerals

I still ache in the depths,

In my heart.

My body feels an emptiness

It can’t replace.

But

 

There is life

Out here, in my world

Laughter and nonsense

And many other gifts you granted me,

When I became your mom.

There is sea and sun

 

Friendships,

Inner wisdom,

Tranquility, perspective.

I share my daily being:

You inside of me

And me inside the world.

 

Audrey Gran Weinberg

For my son, Yarden Weinberg 1994-1998

I is for Irritated (A – Z challenge)

Dealing with Poor Customer Service

This is taken from the email that I just sent to Fietsenwinkel.nl

Dear Sir/Madam,

For the record:

  1. irritation
    art by:  Irritated Audrey

    Last week, Monday – June 4th – around 11:00 am, I called Fietsenwinkel by phone and explainedmy problem: My electric part of the bike – the part that switches speeds – was not working properly. It turns on, and allows me to ride only in ‘eco’ gear. I would like to change electric speeds, of course, so I wanted this fixed.I was told it would take 48 hours to get a response from the bike store or from Fietsenwinkel.

  2. On Wednesday afternoon, when I had not yet heard from your company, I called again, and was told that you are handing my request and it’s very busy this time of year.At this time (and by email), I indicated that my email had changed and is now: aXXXX@ziggo.nl

  3. On Friday afternoon, 8 June, I called again and this time was told that an email had been sent to me (to the wrong/ previous email address) and that I should contact Parnassus bike store.

  4. I contacted the bike store and spoke to a nice young man who said that I could bring in my bike “when I wanted, either Saturday, Sunday or Monday.” Because it was my birthday on Sunday, I was thinking of bringing it in on Monday, but we didn’t make a specific appointment, which the guy said was fine. He told me to come in at my convenience.

  5. On Sunday (my birthday – June 10th), I was contacted by a very angry sounding man from Parnassus bikes, who asked why I missed my appointment on Saturday. I explained to him that we hadn’t made a specific appointment and he replied that ‘this was not how things worked in his shop’. Afterwards, when I tried to make an appointment – he said I could not come on Monday, but rather on Tuesday or Wednesday. (But I work those days, as a teacher, so I asked if it was possible to bring in the bike on Monday after all), and he said that I was very inflexible and that if it’s ‘only Monday then on Monday the 18th.’ By this time, I was feeling a little bit chastened, like I was a bad child…’

  6. Then — in this same conversation – i mentioned to him that it was a problem with the electric part of the bike, because he mentioned ‘versnelling (gears)’ – but i said – it’s NOT the versnelling – it’s the electricity part of the bike, where you change gears/speeds from Eco mode to Turbo, Sport, etc. (as I wrote in my email to Fietsenwinkel).
    This caused the man at Parnassus to get even more angry at me – that I didn’t know the difference between a ‘versnelling (gear)’ and ‘ondersteuning (support).’ Now, It’s true that my Masters in Business Admin did not give me this knowledge – and so I don’t think it’s fair that I need to know the exact terms for what is going wrong with my bike, is it? However, because I apparently got the name of the problem wrong, he said I cannot bring in my bike until he contacts Fietsenwinkel and a new appointment is made ‘for the right thing – for the ondersteuning’.

  7. Today I received an email from Fietsenwinkel asking my I missed my appointment at Parnassus bikes -and can I call them to make an appointment….!!!

Continue reading “I is for Irritated (A – Z challenge)”

H is for Happiness – 3 things that can lead you there! (A – Z challenge still hangin’ in there!)

This week I returned from an yoga retreat that filled me with inner warmth and vibrated my chakras with joy.

You know how it is: life is full of work, children, partners, social obligations, to-do lists, chores, and then something bad happens to really set you back?

What if you turned that around? What if you allowed yourself, just once in a while, just enough to recharge your batteries for a long time to come, something completely different; something for you?

Continue reading “H is for Happiness – 3 things that can lead you there! (A – Z challenge still hangin’ in there!)”

G is for – I was a soldier in Gaza (A to Z challenge still going strong.)

netta pic instagram.jpg

It isn’t easy being an Israeli. One minute you are winning the Eurovision song festival, and the next minute you are fighting off Palestinians at the Gaza fence. I try so hard to avoid politics, but at times, you just can’t sit on the fence – especially the fence near Gaza – so here goes my take on Gaza, Jerusalem and the right to a peaceful existence.

Why did I study in Jerusalem?

Today I was asked, “Why did you actually go to study in Jerusalem?” Well, yes, I did study at the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus, in Jerusalem, and I lived peacefully in the student dorms together with Arab students where we shared cake recipes but not much else.

My boyfriend at the time was arrested after throwing a yogurt at Meir Kahane, an extreme right wing politician, when he came to talk at our campus. I made friends with a Palestinian who lived in East Jerusalem, when he used to come to visit my sister’s flat mate. I made friends with people from all over Israel, who had all come to study in Jerusalem, for a variety of reasons.

Continue reading “G is for – I was a soldier in Gaza (A to Z challenge still going strong.)”

F is for Facing Fears and Fabulous Students (A-Z challenge continues!)

Short sorry…

So, I took a few days break from blogging and felt rather guilty about it, but as guilt is my middle name, I have taken some deep breaths and ‘dealt with it’ since the May vacation is over and work awaits, and there’s only so much procrastination one can do and get away with it. So, work has done in the past couple of days and I left my writing on the shelf. Actually, to be 100% honest, I did write something (else) for the letter F – in handwriting, in the notebook next to my bed –  a piece of fiction! An excerpt from my upcoming book (yes, the one that’s still in the works), but instead, as it’s already a quarter past midnight and work awaits tomorrow yet again, I decided on a shorter blog for tonight.

amsib pic

When the penny drops

Today at school – where I coach students – I encountered a wonderful example of how self development workshops and communication skills can come together and become a thing of beauty. And I say this, because often, when teaching these topics, to 1st year students, it seems as if they really aren’t interested and that they know best, and ‘please don’t try to change or improve me.’

Student Companies in Action!

Continue reading “F is for Facing Fears and Fabulous Students (A-Z challenge continues!)”