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  • I wasn't always a social worker, although it seems like it.

    In my mid-twenties I was a chemical lab tech on the East Coast. I was the first female lab tech they hired, and I learned on the job. In three years I was a senior lab tech.

    I had a boss whose motto was "Dazzle them with data and baffle them with bullshit." That's exactly what he did.

    This company was featured in the movie, "A Civil Action," with John Travolta, for 'allegedly' poisoning a nearby town's water causing illness and death.

    I myself used to bath my hands in solvent like it was bath soap. I had to, in order to get the rubberized asphalt off my hands. I tested roofing materials. Laid a few test roofs as well. I even invented a little test machine out of wood. I liked to use the saw and the guys thought it was funny. But hey - I got promoted - laugh that off!

    I really loved this job until the day my beloved friends (male co-workers) decided not to treat me as their little sister and I was sexually harassed big-time. My boss was the ringleader (no surprise there.)

    They all got off scott free - but I have already told this story on CB (Mad Men and Me, Jan 2015). My co-worker who sat next to me was so embarrassed about it later, he didn't speak to me for three months.

    Sort of blame the victim mentally.

    I really liked him before so I broke the ice and spoke with him and he finally spoke with me.

    I'm glad I forgave him as he later committed suicide. He wasn't free but I was. One year later his wife (who had been kept from the truth of his suicide) found out and she committed suicide. It was a double tragedy. I loved them both.

    I suddenly lost my taste for plastics and moved on.
  • Anyway, this story isn't really about that. Well, maybe indirectly. To escape I would go with my friends to Cape Cod. It is a really beautiful place. Maybe not as much as California but maybe yes, in a different way.

    One fine weekend two of my girlfriends and I drove up to Cape Cod. We had a pretty good time together, initially. But, somehow when there are three, it never works. When I was a little girl I had two friends and we all took turns being the one out. Yah, three just never works.

    Anyway, my two friends decided they wanted to go to a nude beach. Uh, yah. Really not my thing. I'm pretty much a prude - an old fashioned prude. I took a trip to California once with my brother and his girlfriend when I was (sweet) sixteen and refused to go with them to see "Hair" because I knew the actors took their clothes off at the end. Instead I stayed in the motel room and watched the movie "My Blood Runs Cold," with Troy Donahue. (Miles is rolling his eyes now-sweet girl, really?)

    I still love that movie. It was on TCM recently.

    "My heart is sad, my hopes are gone, my blood runs cold through my breast. And when I perish, thou alone, shall sigh above my place of rest." (Lord Byron)

    Uh, let's see ... where was I - oh yah.

    So, anyway - my friends told me I could take the car back to Boston and they would hitchhike back when they were ready.


    Only problem is I don't know how to drive a stick shift.
  • "No problem," my tall friend tells me. "I'll give you a crash course."

    Crash course? Somehow that didn't make me feel too comfortable. But I said, "ok."

    We went to a dirt road and - back and forth, jerk, start, jerk stop.

    "Hey, be careful or you'll burn out the clutch!"

    "What is the clutch?" I asked.

    My friend gives me a wry look and after 15 minutes decides I'm ready.

    That trip back to Boston was ... shall I say, ... interesting. Thank God for interstates as I found that fourth gear was a gear I could stay in! The problem was once I got into the city, I must have killed that car a million times before I got home.

    And the horn honking!! "Alright people! Can't you see I'm learning here?" OMG, I thought I'd never make it. But I did, ... finally.

    I sort of swore off my two "friends" after that. However, I convinced my (then) boyfriend to give me some actual lessons.

    Sometime later that year my parents came to visit. My mother was annoyed because my father had rented a stick shift car instead of an automatic. My mother said he hadn't driven one since a teenager and she didn't know what he was thinking! I said, "No problem mom, I can drive you while you're here." Mom looked at me and said, "Where did you learn to drive a stick shift?"

    Later when we were in downtown Boston traffic, - start, stop, start, stop, - mom complemented me on my driving. I just smiled.
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