Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Four in Thrall

Out of the corner of her eye, Kim saw the purse fall onto the floor and disgorge some of it's contents.  The pretty young woman whose lap it was on didn't wake up.  Kim looked at the old man with the medical id bracelet.  His attention was on the sleeping girl too, but that was nothing new.  Kim had noticed him eyeing her before the purse fell.

She was on a graduation celebration weekend with her husband and was waiting for him to return from the car with the their bags.  Kim had just graduated nursing school.  The hotel lobby seemed small for a hotel, but there was an ocean on the other side, and the room rates reflected a degree of elegance that must have been saved for the rooms.  The husband and wife had read good reviews of this hotel while planning their celebration trip.

"Where did you purchase your id bracelet?" she asked the old man.  She had become uncomfortable with his interest in the sleeping woman and part of her wanted desperately to distract him.

He smiled and fingered his wrist and the metal clinging to it.  "This thing?  Oh I..."

She figured his memory was a bit foggy from the way his voice trailed off in thought.  Her last clinical rounds had been in the senior ward, and all old people were now suspect.

"It was a gift from my lovely wife."  He smiled again, but turned his attention back to the fallen purse.  After a furtive glance in Kim's direction, he called to the sleeping woman.  "Miss?"  He reached through the space above the purse and touched her shoulder, but still there was no response.  He pushed a little harder.  "Miss!"

Kim saw that his face was turning red and felt embarrassed for him.  She knelt next to the purse and gathered up the lipstick, envelope, big fat wallet, loose change, and car keys that had spilled out, put them back inside, and leaned the purse against the leg of the chair.

She sat back in her seat and stared at the womans chest.  It was not rising and falling.

"Oh my God!  I think that woman might be..."  Kim quickly returned and touched the woman's neck, gently at first, and then pushing enough to find a carotid pulse.  She looked at the uniformed hotel clerk behind the front desk and said "Call 911!".  He was pale as a ghost, so she took out her cell phone and dialled it herself.

"Is she warm?" asked the old man,

"She has no pulse," she said while she dialled.

"Oh my Lord!" said the clerk.

The old man stood up quickly, thinking there might be something he should do.  He looked around furtively and noticed a police officer outside.  His fist rapped the window glass, catching the officer's attention.  He pointed to the pretty lady.

Officer Cash entered the hotel lobby at 15:30.  He suspected a problem inside due to the behavior of a senior citizen.  His weapon was unholstered and his radio was at hand in case he needed to call for backup.

"What seems to be the trouble?"

Another lady sitting across from the one the senior had indicated said "She has no pulse," also pointing.  No backup necessary, but this did call for some radio work.  He lifted the lightweight device to his ear, pressed the button, and reported, "Possible 10-54 at 3531 Beachfront."

"Dave, 10-54 means possible, so you only have to say '10-54'," came back a sweet female voice.  "I'll send an ambulance over."

"I called 911 and they're already sending one," said the lady who had pointed and reported the 10-54.
"Dave?  An emergency dispatcher has already sent an ambulance to that location," came the sweet voice over the radio again.

"Oh Lord."  The hotel clerk was white and his voice was weak, but everyone suddenly looked at him.  He disappeared from behind the front desk.

"Hey!" beckoned Officer Cash, "Do you know anything about this woman?!"  But the clerk did not respond.
"This situation here is secure," he assured himself.  "I'm going to find that clerk."

The officer scanned the front desk to see if there was a way to get back there.  He leaned over the partition and looked from one side to the other, but couldn't see a way in, or even how the clerk could have gotten out.  The entrance and exit to the clerk's station were very well hidden.  He started walking slowly away from the front desk, scanning the walls for other possible escape routes or some way to locate the elusive clerk.

Just as he turned a corner, the lady called out, "The clerk is back."

"I'm sorry officer, I... I had a sudden panic attack."

"Do you know anything about this woman?"

The clerk's voice was so weak that no one could hear him.

"It's ok.  Just tell me what you know."

"I gave her an envelope.  Maybe it..." but his voice had become too squeaky and slight for him to continue.

"Ok, sir.  Take a deep breath, and tell me about the envelope."

"I t-touched it," he stammered out.

"You think the envelope may have killed her?"

By this time, Kim had the young lady on the floor and was performing CPR on her.  As she did compressions, she said "I touched that envelope too, and I feel fine."

The old man was enthralled by the scene.

"It- it it... it smelled funny." said the clerk.

"Where is the envelope now?" asked the officer.  Kim pointed to the purse while the clerk said "Ogod ogod ogod."

He was back on the radio and soon a HazMat team and an FBI squad arrived (before the ambulance) and removed Kim from the body.  The hotel was evacuated.  All the people were directed into a large tent erected in the street where they stood in lines to be "washed down" by some HazMat agents.  While the last of the hotel patrons were exiting the fire escape doors, the ambulance arrived and one of the paramedics sweet-talked his way to the dead body where he drained a small amount of blood, shook the vial it flowed into, and then held it up.

"She died from sleeping pills.  It's common at this hotel."  He then looked in the purse, and turned to the nearest gloved agent, holding it open.  "I suppose that's evidence, eh?"  The agent reached in and produced an empty prescription bottle from the purse.

The HazMat and FBI scientists who were examining the envelope held up the note that it had contained.  One of them mentioned that it smelled like pipe tobacco and lilacs.  He turned around and read it out loud: "I'm sorry, my love.  I won't forget you."

Sunday, January 3, 2021

A Personal History of Intention

I don't remember it, but a little while after I emerged from my mother, I wanted to swallow.  I was hungry.  I probably cried.  As if by magic, this huge warm boob showed up and I found myself getting the nipple in my mouth and sucking milk out. Of course, this is all rather mundane to everyone who can read.  We all know about nursing.  The magic is kind of lost on us though.

The fact is that we don't have any way to build intention into structure.  We can make a machine which, when activated, does something useful.  We can arrange paper and kindling so that when exposed to some heat, it will start a fire.  We can set dominoes up so that when the first one falls into the second, it knocks them all down, one by one, and it's fun to watch.  None of these things express intention other than our own actions.  Our own actions in setting these things up reflect intention but then we step back and there's no physical representation of it.  Intention is magic.

This is a bit of a review of a book I haven't yet finished reading, Becoming Supernatural, by Dr. Joe Dispenza.  He explains that intention has real effects on the physical world, and encourages his readers to use this fact to create joy.  One section describes drawing a letter to represent something you want to happen and then listing details about that potential event, and then listing your positive emotions that will result from that event occurring.  His description is a set of instructions.  He warns the reader not to put a time limit or deadline on the intention.

My first experience following his instructions was based on gaining clarity.  I immediately felt that I gained clarity.  It took me a full day to decide that gaining clarity would be my goal, about 15 minutes to write my lists, and five more minutes to realize that I met my goal.  Twelve hours later, I decided on another intention, and I'm writing this post to describe it.  This morning, I had a conversation with one of my best friends.  He helped me realize that the kind of intention well-suited for use with Dr. Dispenza's instructions is something specific and seemingly not under your control.  For example...

I intend that a great number of people get the feeling around the same time that they feel more fear than they should.  "I'm more afraid than I should be."  I believe that most people are more afraid than they should be, and they don't realize it.  The recent popularization of a virus has caused a great number of people to realize it, but not enough for me.  There are a lot more elements to my intention than the widespread internal thought "I'm more afraid than I should be."

"Why am I so afraid?"  I intend that people will recognize that the feeling (that their fear is inappropriately strong relative to the danger) can only exist because that danger really is weaker than it appears.  This realization will lead them to explore the sources of information about that danger, and apply their critical thinking skills to those sources.  I intend that it will dawn on them (or remind them) that it's much easier to control people when they are filled with fear.  This will lead them to question "Who is saying it's so dangerous?  Do I want them to have this much control over me?"

A great number of people will be asking themselves these questions, and some of them work for large media corporations. They will become more and more sensitive to the fact that their employer is being used to propagandize the public.  Some of them will see doors open to opportunities to provide the public with more objective news, since that is what interested many of them in the first place.  The CEOs of large media corporations will face the choice of continuing to accept contracts to spread propaganda, or telling the truth.  Which path will make more money?  They have to figure that out to stay within the bounds of the law, which requires them to maximize shareholder value.  Some of their (ex-)employees who went through those doors will choose to serve better news to the public. There will be competition.

This is already happening, but I think COVID19 has not (yet) put "I'm more afraid than I should be" into the minds of enough people in a small enough span of time.  I intend to do that myself, but I'd like to have an obvious sign that my intention has been realized.  I haven't yet chosen the metric which will tell me my intention has been realized.  For all I know, it has already been realized and the obviousness of it just isn't yet apparent to me.  I've got it: Someone will say to me, "I realized I shouldn't be so afraid," or something like that.  It just can't be any of you, but I'm sure you can help to make it happen.