Recently I took the long drive to Jacksonville, leaving the comfort of my little town for a “Sleep Study”. Although the Sleep Study is not the story, I am imparting, it certainly affected it.
I have come to the conclusion that they should call them “Sleep Deprivation Studies”. They should give you severe warnings “DO NOT DRIVE FOLLOWING OUR SLEEP DEPRIVATION STUDY“…..(especially for people who have to drive an hour following the sleep deprivation study). Not only are you deprived of sleep, but it is done while you are practicing not feeling suffocated or freaked out by breathing through a mask that creates a suctioning feeling around your air passages.
Why would I undergo such a thing? Well, because I know that in the end, I will be a much more rested person once I allow myself to grow accustomed to my sleep apnea mask. Would I recommend it to a friend?…….Undoubtedly “YES”…….but I also recommend that you have someone drive you to and fro.
This isn’t about the sleep study. It is about what happened after. As I said, I had very little sleep and the clinic was shooing everyone out the door. They didn’t even have coffee to offer.
So, after not acting like a stellar Christian to the sleep study clinicians (Sorry!), I clumsily stumbled into my car, and fumbled with my keys. As I attempted to start the car, I wondered to myself, if it was even legal to be driving in my sleep-deprived condition. A part of me observed that I was maneuvering my vehicle much like a drunk driver would. So I headed in the direction that the sleep clinicians told me I would find the nearest coffee. They had supposedly pointed me toward Dunkin Donuts but I ended up at Starbucks.
I ordered the strongest Starbucks concoction that I could find, downed my Vente Expresso and….realized”Oh no!“….I was still wiped out. I apologetically explained my situation to the Barrister (TMI!), and headed to my car for a nap. My guess is that Starbucks is probably not the best place to crash in your car, since the lovely music they play indoors, is also piped outdoors. I did manage to close my eyes for a bit though. Then I headed sleep-crazedly down the road.
I tried pulling over a few times to locations that looked like they would afford me some rest, but no such luck. I was too self conscious to indulge in the seeming vulgarity of sleeping in my car.
Just before I pulled over for the last time, my sleep-deprived eyes noticed I was almost out of gas. So, naturally I pulled over to the first exit I could. I was relieved to see that I didn’t have to drive far off the exit to find a gas station. I pulled in, noticing that the first pump was out of order, but that the pump further on appeared to be functioning. It struck me on some level, as a fairly bustling gas station, full of more people than cars. It was not until I was near the rear of my car, that I noticed that several of the people were panhandlers.
In my sleep deprived state, the whole thing appeared to be surreal, almost in slow motion.
I have always felt pity for panhandlers. Yeah, I have heard all the cynical rationale about not pitying them. But, think about it!……to actually get so low in your life where you have to beg people to survive!!!!!! And yes, I know that most panhandlers use the money for drugs or alcohol. But think about it!…. to be so low in one’s life that one is begging for drugs or alcohol!!! I am sorry, but that is just plain SAD!!! And no, I am not so naiive that I typically open my wallet for them. What I usually do, is buy them food and come back with it.
As I approached the nozzle, I noticed that one man had approached the man on the opposite side of the pump and another was requesting money from me. There appeared to be several others on the fringes. I told the man approaching me “NO. Not now!” I had my stern matronly expression in which to say: “How dare you approach a lone woman!” My intent was to later buy some food and give it to the man begging from me. As I noticed the throng beginning to swarm a bit, I requested of the gentleman pumping his gas on the other side, to remain until I finished. He was true to his word, in spite of the fact that he no longer needed to, since the place was soon surrounded by police cars.
One police officer soon approached me, asking if I knew my own personal panhandler. I assured him that I didn’t, but explained that I intended to buy him some food after I pumped my gas. He looked at me like I was indeed the sleep-deprived crazy fool that I felt like. He exclaimed “You should never give any of these people anything! They would just as soon stab you, once you gave them something!” I looked around, wondering if I was still in the sleep study, experiencing a cpap-machine-induced-dream. All I could think to say was “Um, is this a dangerous area?” He looked at me incredulously, probably beginning to wonder if I was one of them, since I still had the wire-goo still stuck in my hair in various places. I was certain at that moment I could probably pass for one of them, in both the way I looked and my level of functioning.
He sputtered out his response: “Don’t you watch the news?!?!?!” I thought of answering him honestly and stating “No, I actually don’t watch the news. I don’t see any point in listening to all the crime and corruption occurring in the world.” But, from his flustered state, I realized he would see that as being disrespectful, since his job is all about capturing and stopping crime and corruption. Instead, I provided him way too much information about my “Sleep Deprivation Study”, informing him that I really didn’t know where I was and repeating my initial question, which he obviously found incredulous; “Is this a dangerous area.”
The poor young police officer of no more than 23-28, loudly announced to me that EVERY PLACE is a dangerous place. I tried explaining him to that there are some safe places in the world, but he wouldn’t hear of it. That is when I woke up.
I woke up and saw this poor young man’s reality. I saw in his eyes that his job was just an earnest endless struggle against filth, crime and corruption and that there is no safe haven for him to go to.
I felt sad for him.
I felt sadder for him than I did all the homeless panhandlers put together.
He is so young. And he is doing one of the most honorable and dangerous jobs that a person could do. And yet at this very young age, his faith in mankind, his faith in life is gone. It is one thing for a person to use drugs, and to choose a homeless life of crime, with no faith in life. But it is quite another for a young man to choose to PROTECT AND SERVE, and then to lose faith and hope. All I could think is that it is not fair that the street has sucked out his hope and belief.
There is a part of me that wants to go back and find that police officer and assure him that there is goodness in the world. There are good people and there is meaning.
But most of all I want to tell him there is safety……. in God.
4. http://godistheoriginalartist.wordpress.com/ God is… (for short)… is a newcomer to this crazy world, or else has been born again… Photos of jaw-dropping beauty with captions to make you ponder the meaning of life, what more do you want?
I wrote “To Every End is a New Beginning” back in 1982.
Since that time, I have heard variations on my saying…. in movies, on tv, etc….
I have considered yelling out “Copyright! Copyright! Plagerism!”
Yet, isn’t all art a form of plagerism? If God is the original artist, aren’t we all in essence copying His work?
I guess what makes the difference is that He GAVE us the Earth to be our inspiration. He gave us permission to do with it as we please. I think we should give Him credit for His work of Art though.
I encourage people to down load my photos as much as they desire for personal use. Please give credit for the photo taken by me though.
Feel free to donate as much money as you value the photo. You do not have permission to mass produce or sell the photo(s). If you know someone else who wants a copy of the photo, please direct them to my web site so that they can donate according to what they perceive the value to be.
Do not misrepresent any of these photos as having been photographed by you or another person, nor use them in a creative photo or art collage as your own work of art.
If you are so enthralled by the photo(s) that you want to post them on the web, I ask you to please do so with a link to this site.
If you want to use the photo(s) for profit, such as advertising or web site design etc.., please ask permission and provide an agreed upon payment.
God is the original artist, so I am happy to share with you individually.
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