Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Raw Nerves

I don't quite know what's going on with me right now. The asthma is hellish again, I'm not even bothering to wait for a full blown attack either. Once I feel my oxygen levels tanking, or go into that feisty I Hate Everyone And Everything Is Pissing Me Off mode I have started to immediately push my meds before the attack starts. Hoping this heads off a few. Recognizing the beginning and heading it off seems like a better way to deal than waiting for the attack to happen.

But I found myself yesterday in tears after a stop light encounter on the edge of town. Yesterday I started my errands with a fun thing so I shouldn't have been crying, I went to the local train depot and watched the heritage steam engine N&W 611. Yes, I went railfanning in the morning.

 The Norfolk & Western steam locomotive making its way into our town for a run back to the place it's stored in between being hauled out to show off for heritage runs. Built in Roanoke, and run through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge mountains through the years. A rare sighting. Coal burning.

This was sort of foolish for me to do, I have had some pretty serious attacks after being within a mile or so of a coal-burning electrical plant. I guess this might have been the thing to cause me to go into that awful pre-asthma state. I didn't think about the fact that I was going to be breathing in coal dust particles until much later.

That was the nice part of the day, before it got too hot. Standing in the sunshine, talking with folks while we waited for a piece of history to roll past. I ended up meeting a neighbor I didn't know, and meeting the parents of a young man I know very well.

It was on the way home from getting prescriptions filled and picking up a few things at the Mennonite store that I encountered a local man begging for money at the stop light. I was perhaps about six cars back, too far back to read much of his sign asking for money and saying he could not find a job. He looked like a young man, longish hair, lean form wearing blue jeans and a tee shirt as the day started to heat up from a pleasant morning to a hot humid lunch time.

I don't know why, but there was something about him, and many of those asking for money by the side of the road, that gets to me. I can only look at these down and out folks and wonder how they ended up in this place. Just starting imagining what led to the side of the road sometimes gets me started, makes me realize anew how fragile that illusion of safety actually is. Makes me unhappy with myself that earlier in the day I was busy judging a man pushing a toddler in a stroller in the 7/11 while he bought enough beer to get very hammered and a pile of smokes. Yeah, I was mentally Judgy McJudge over those smokes and beer. I should know better. I should know this could just as easily be myself or those I love.

At the long light I started fishing through my wallet awkwardly, keeping an eye on the light because this is a high traffic and high speed intersection. Not a good place to set up to ask for money. When I handed off the cash I could see I was very mistaken, he wasn't young, he was middle aged, around 40. I could finally see his sign, which read he had been out of work since the furniture factory in town closed. That was five years ago.

Ended up in the parking lot of the grocery store, weeping for this guy and others I know. Realized later this was just about the time my asthma was starting to give me the first few symptoms that it was approaching.

Hate feeling like this.

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