Knocking around the Zoo

I REMEMBER IT WAS A THURSDAY AFTERNOON WHEN I FOUND MYSELF SITTING IN A HOSPITAL WARD. I HAD NO DISTINCT RECOLLECTION AS TO WHY I WAS THERE OR HOW I GOT THERE. IT WAS DURING THE MID 1970’S. I DO ADMIT THAT MEMORIES IN THAT TIME FRAME VARY FROM BLURRY TO INTENSELY ACUTE. I WAS NOT IN A GOOD PLACE AND HOW I GOT THERE IS NOT IMPORTANT. I WAS TRAVELING THROUGH TIME AND LETTING THE WIND DETERMINE MY DESTINATION. I HAD ALIENATED MY FAMILY AND I WAS OK WITH THAT. I HAD RECENTLY ABSORBED A FEW OF KURT VONNEGUT’S BOOKS AND I WAS HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY HIS PERSPECTIVE ON FREE WILL VS. PREDESTINATION. IN ESSENCE, HE PRESENTS FREE WILL AS NON-EXISTENT AND THAT EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES IS PREDESTINED. YET HERE WAS A MAN AND HIS BOOKS THAT PROFOUNDLY INFLUENCED ME. WAS IT AN ACCIDENT OR WAS IT PREDESTINED? OR WAS IT A PREDESTINED ACCIDENT OR DID I CHOOSE TO READ THOSE BOOKS OR HAVE I ALWAYS READ THOSE BOOKS?

SO I FIND MYSELF SITTING IN THE DAY ROOM OF CAMARILLO STATE HOSPITAL. IT WAS PREDOMINANTLY A PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL AND I WAS THERE FOR EVALUATION. THE “ZOO” WAS JUST ONE OF THE NICK NAMES FOR THE HOSPITAL. IT WAS ALSO CALLED “HOTEL CALIFORNIA” AND THE “FUNNY FARM”. LET ME EXPLAIN…. THIS WAS NOT A “FIVE STAR” MALIBU REHABILITATION FACILITY . THIS WAS WHERE PSYCHOLOGICALLY UNSTABLE AND TROUBLED PEOPLE ENDED UP THAT DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY. LIKE ME….AT THAT TIME. I HAD EXPERIENCED SOME INTENSE ESOTERIC EXPERIENCES. THE DRUG CULTURE OF THE 60’s AND 70’s HAD MANY NEGATIVE EFFECTS ON PEOPLE. HOWEVER, THERE WERE MANY PEOPLE THAT BENEFITED BY PASSING THROUGH THE PORTALS OF EXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION.

SO WHICH PATH DID I CHOOSE ? WHICH PATH DID YOU CHOOSE ?

** you are not paying attention !!! NONE OF US HAD A CHOICE ! IT IS PREDESTINED !

SO THERE I SIT IN HOTEL CALIFORNIA AND WONDERING HOW I GOT HERE AND WHY ? I ALSO HEAR A PIN BALL GAME IN MY HEAD AS I WATCH BOB BARKER AND MONEY HALL FIST FIGHTING OVER WHICH CURTAIN I SHOULD CHOOSE !!!! I JUST WANTED A CIGARETTE ! I WAS THERE FOR A FEW WEEKS. MY MOST VIVID MEMORIES ARE THE MEMORIES I CAN NOT GET OUT OF MY HEAD AFTER TRYING FOR 45 YEARS. I ADAPT. I TALKED THE STAFF INTO LETTING ME SWEEP AND MOP FLOORS AND ANYTHING ELSE. I WOULD DO THEIR WORK AND GET A COUPLE CIGARETTES. SOME OF THE STAFF ON WEEKENDS WERE TERRIBLE SADISTIC PEOPLE. THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT WAS THE WORSE ! I WITNESSED BEATINGS AND CHOKING AND USE OF THUMB CUFFS AND PUNISHMENT ADMINISTERED IN CRUEL UNJUST FASHION TO MEN IN WORSE COGNITIVE CONDITION THAN MYSELF. THIS WAS A LOCK-DOWN WARD THAT REQUIRED A PASS TO GET OUTSIDE TO THE GROUNDS AND THE LITTLE MARKET/COFFEE SHOP THAT WAS PART OF “THERAPY”. I MAINTAINED A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE WORKING STAFF.

ALL THE WHILE I AM THINKING, “WHY AM I HERE?”. I KNEW THERE WAS A REASON. WHAT COULD IT BE ? I GOT A GROUNDS PASS. I GOT SOME PAPER AND PENCIL AND STARTED TO DOCUMENT SOME OF THE ABUSES THAT I WITNESSED FIRST HAND. ONCE I GOT A GROUNDS PASS, I WAS ABLE TO GET A FORM FROM THE FRONT OFFICE OF THE HOSPITAL. I FILED A WRIT OF HABEAUS CORPUS WITH A SOCIAL WORKER THAT I FINALLY WAS ABLE TO MEET. THEN I WAITED…. I GOT THE GUYS IN MY DORM TO MAKE THEIR BUNKS, GET UP IN THE MORNING AND DO THE BEST THEY COULD GETTING READY FOR BREAKFAST.

WE HAD ONE GUY ON OUR FLOOR. HE DID NOT SPEAK… EVER. HE WOULD TRY TO BUM THE LAST PUFF OR TWO OFF OF ANYBODY’S CIGARETTE. HE WOULD JUST PUT HIS THUMB AND FOREFINGER TOGETHER AND PUT THEM TO HIS LIPS TO ASK FOR THE FINAL BIT OF TOBACCO SMOKE. HE KNEW TO LINE UP WHEN WE ALL HAD TO WALK TO THE CAFETERIA BUILDING. HE WAS SILENT. I THOUGHT HE MIGHT BE DEAF OR MUTE. I LIKE TO TALK A LOT AND TELL STORIES. I SPENT A LOT OF TIME WITH HIM. I HONESTLY DO NOT REMEMBER HIS NAME AND IT IS VERY POSSIBLE I NEVER KNEW HIS NAME. HE WAS NOT ALLOWED TO GO OUTSIDE. HE ONLY SAW THE SKY WHEN HE WALKED TO THE CAFETERIA. HE WAS CATATONIC. A NURSE TOLD ME THAT SHE THOUGHT IT WAS NICE THAT I TALKED TO HIM. I EXPLAINED TO HER THAT I TALK TOO MUCH AND HE DOES NOT TALK AT ALL. SO…..

IT BALANCES OUT. THIS GUY WAS A GREAT LISTENER !! THE BEST !! I GOT TO BABEL AWAY AND GO ON AND ON. ME TALKING TO HIM AND HIM LOOKING AT ME SOMEHOW MADE ME APPEAR MORE SANE. IF I WAS TALKING TO AN EMPTY CHAIR, I WOULD APPEAR MORE CRAZY ! I WOULD EVEN ANSWER MYSELF WHEN I WAS TALKING TO HIM AS IF HE WERE ANSWERING. NOW THE ANSWER TO: WHY WAS I THERE?

ONE DAY HE AND I WERE TALKING ABOUT “WHO KNOWS WHAT ?” AND THE DAY NURSE IN HER GLASS BOOTH IS LOOKING AT US. MY CONVERSATIONALIST FRIEND LOOKS UP AT ME AND SAYS TO ME !..

HE SAYS…. ” I DON’T TALK ! ” I ANSWERED AND SAID ” I DON’T BLAME YOU ! MOST PEOPLE DON’T LISTEN ANYWAY ! BUT YOU’RE A GREAT LISTENER !” THE NURSE CAME FLYING OUT OF THE GLASS BOOTH AND ASKS ME IF HE JUST SPOKE TO ME ??? SHE SAYS OMG ! HE HAS NOT SPOKEN TO ANYONE IN 2 YEARS AND SHE TOOK OFF BACK TO THE GLASS BOOTH AND SAYS SHE IS CALLING THE DOCTOR !!! MY NEW X-CATONIC FRIEND STANDS UP AND YELLS AT ME……….

” I WANT TO GO OUTSIDE !!!”

I ANSWERED WITH, ” DO I LOOK LIKE I HAVE ANY FUCKING KEYS ?

GO TELL THE NURSE IN THE BOOTH !! OFF HE GOES AND YELLS AT HER, ” I WANT TO GO OUTSIDE !

SO WHAT DOES THE NURSE DO ? SHE WALKED OVER TO THE DOOR, OPENS IT AND LETS HIM OUT. SHE SAYS ” HAVE A GOOD TIME BUT DON’T GO FAR! LATER, I HAD 2 DOCTORS CAME AND ASKED ME WHAT DID I DO ? I EXPLAINED THAT HE DID MORE FOR ME THAN I DID FOR HIM. HE JUST LISTENED TO ME AND LET ME TALK IT OUT. THE ONLY THING I DID FOR HIM WAS TO LISTEN TO WHAT HE WAS NOT SAYING. THAT IS WHY I WAS THERE. I GOT MY WRIT AFTER THAT AND HAD A HEARING AND I GAVE THEM DOCUMENTED DATES AND NAMES OF THE SADISTIC PEOPLE ON THE STAFF. a long long time ago… I can still remember.when the music didn’t play, so bye,bye…..

marc

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