|Age Range(s)||Young Adult (20-35), Adult (36-50), Senior (>50)|
|Type of monologue / Character is||Talking to the audience, Reminiscing life story/Telling a story|
|Description||Northerly Hills 602OD - Brett talks about a program that combined her job at the halfway house (602Ě) run by the Mental Health Association and the residential program (the O & DĚ) run by the Observation and Detention Center.|
|Details||"The O & D" Middle of the Book|
Brett talks about a program that combined her job at the halfway house (602Ě) run by the Mental Health Association and the residential program (the O & D) run by the Observation and Detention Center.
Written by Jass Richards
|At the end of a week during which I happened to be lucky enough to be staff escort for a trip to the grocery store with the 602s (the mentally healthy wannabes at the psych halfway house) and for a trip to an outdoor festival with the O & Ds (the juvenile delinquents at the detention center), I had a great idea: why not pair a 602 with an O & D? I imagined a program that was a cross between those that paired juvenile delinquents with dogs and those that paired ex-cons with people in wheelchairs. You know the ones I'm talking about. (My dog thought it was a great idea. But then she somehow got the idea that she'd get to go for a car ride in a wheelchair.) So I stayed up late, or early, and presented the idea to each place during the weekly staff meeting. |
Surprisingly enough, it was accepted. Any idea proposed by a mere relief worker is usually rejected out-of-hand; actually, that's not quite true rejection presupposes some degree of consideration. So I figure it was probably that time of the budget year when program directors were told to either 'use it or lose it' and I suspect that neither the 602 program director nor the O & D program director had proposed anything new in a long while, so they were quite happy to grab the ball and run with it. My ball. Of course I didn't get any credit for it. Not that it would've done me any good relief workers are simply not on any career ladder, and neither initiative, good work, long service, nor ass-kissing results in advancement.
But that's just as well because the program 'Northerly Hills 602OD' was pretty much a disaster. Rott (short for Rottweiler), a big kid with hair that was a cross between a Mohawk and an Afro, was a repeat offender for assorted assaults. Actually, one of these was against a coworker who, in a moment of canine confusion, called him Poo (short for Poodle). That was the first time. The second time happened when I dared said coworker to tie a pink ribbon in Rott's hair when he was asleep one night (we had to do bedchecks every half hour). Anyway, Rott was paired with Len, the most meek and mild of the 602s (who didnt have so much a personality disorder as an absent personality). The idea was that antagonism would be statistically impossible and hence another assault equally unlikely. Rott beat the crap out of Len at their first meeting. So he was then paired with George, who was not only physically intimidating, at 6'4" and 240 lbs, but also suffering from delusions of questionable grandeur he thought he was Hulk Hogan. Rott beat the crap out of George too. (The upside is that George no longer believes he's Hulk Hogan.)
Two other pairings are worth mention, both having been reasonably successful. Lily is 602's compulsive shopper. Luann is one of O & D's shoplifters. The three of us headed out to a mall one day, the two of them delighted at discovering in common an enthusiasm for shopping. They made a bee-line for one of those sprawling economy department stores that have everything you could possible imagine but nothing you could actually want. Let alone need. I trailed behind, at a discreet distance that was supposed to make them feel independent, one of such a trip's many purposes.
Lily grabbed a shopping cart and began to fill it at once with socks, tshirts, scarves, hats, jeans, sweaters, umbrellas all the while maintaining a chatter that was part auctioneer and part shopping channel spokesperson. Luann followed, recognizing Lily as the perfect decoy, and stealthily secreted various items into various pockets.
By the time they left Ladies' Wear, Lily was onto her second shopping cart. By the time they'd gotten through Kitchenwares, she'd enlisted Luann to push a third. She was in Shoppers' Heaven. She'd never filled three shopping carts before.
Luann was feeling aggrieved it was clear she was outdone. She'd never be able to lift more than Lily was accumulating. So she scored the next item when Lily was watching, and winked at her. Lily was confused for a moment, looking much like a puppy seeing for the first time an older dog calmly walk away with the just delivered pizza box. While stealing clearly had advantages over buying, she realized, as Luann had, that she couldn't possibly take nearly as much that way. So she decided to stick with compulsive shopping. And that made Luann doubly aggrieved. So when Lily put shoehorns into that third cart six of them, one of each colour Luann blew.
"YOU DON'T FUCKING NEED ALL THIS SHIT!!" she yelled. So loudly she lost half her loot. Among the many items that fell clattering to the floor was a travel mini-shoeshine kit. Lily stared at this shoeshine kit. Luann stared at the shoeshine kit. Lily looked at her shoehorns. Luann looked at the shoehorns. I call it 'the shoe moment'.
Then, wordlessly, they both left the scene. Unfortunately for me, through different exits. I eventually found them both, wandering in the parking lot, looking for my car. (I was doing the same thing.) We left the mall and neither one of them went 'shopping' again.
The other interesting pairing involved Shane, whose conversation was pretty much limited to "Fuck this!" and James, who had no conversation he hadn't spoken in five years. We figured that Shane, having to carry both ends of the conversation, would be compelled to become a little more articulate. And that's exactly what happened. When he was with James, he was overheard to mutter things like "Wanna coffee?" and "Gotta piss." Given another ten years, I thought, he might actually engage in the mindless pleasantries that indicate social maturity. (Go figure, but that's how people measure social maturity.)
But the really interesting change occurred in James. One day, sitting alone in his room, he was heard to have quietly said "Fuck this." Now, not only had he uttered words, but there had been a reasonable facsimile of emotional expression in the utterance as well. Whatever, saying those two little words quietly, alone in his room, seemed sufficient to simply dismiss whatever it was he had been obsessed to silence with for all those years.
A little while later, while watching tv with the others, somewhat less catatonically than before, he again said, "Fuck this" and left the room. It was the first display of autonomy the staff had ever seen.
Of course, only one more step remained, which he took a month later. He said, once more, "Fuck this" and walked out of 602, never to be seen again.