Tag Archives: Inspiration

The Baby Vet

11 Jul

About a year ago, our clinic got a new vet. Fresh out of vet school with very limited experience, he seemed nice if a little naive, but I was optimistic and willing to give him a chance. We quietly referred to him as the baby vet.

I don’t know what happened between us or if there was something in particular that I did that upset him, but within a couple of weeks, he started treating me differently. He made a point to have me wipe his patients’ behinds after he expressed their anal glands (not my job), clean soiled cages (not my job), and even clean up vomit in his office (seriously not my job.) When I would tell him I was busy doing other things around the office, he would throw what can only be described as grown-man temper tantrums. I watched him throw bandaging materials, stomp to his office, slam the door and refuse to talk to anyone. He would brag openly to the receptionists that I was a horrible tech, a horrible person and that he was going to get me fired. Once a week, he’d take a list of things he didn’t like about me to my bosses and tell them what a waste of money I was.

I get the whole “you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea” thing, but it hurt. I work hard. I try and do the best job I can. It felt awkward to go to work everyday knowing that there existed a contingency of people that were rooting for my demise. It made me angry. Who was this kid to come into my place of work and try and get me fired? I started making a list of my own. The baby vet has a bad habit of saying racist and sexist things around the office. I’ve seen him overcharge clients that he knows are wealthy. I’ve seen him take drugs from the office and give it to friends for free. Worst of all, I’ve seen him miss key parts of an exam, misdiagnose animals and practice some sloppy medicine. I was building my case to take to my bosses to try and get HIM fired.

Then I saw the “When they go low, we go high” speech that Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic Convention. Her eloquent and noble message resonated with me, especially within the situation I found myself. I thought long and hard about it, and I tore up my “why baby vet sucks” list and decided to try a different approach.

When the baby vet first came to the clinic, he got us a good deal on a dental x-ray machine. He was supposed to be in charge of integrating it into our dental cleanings. We had never taken dental x-rays at the clinic, and everyone struggled with it, including baby vet. We couldn’t seem to get non-distorted films. So I took my downtime at work, and I started studying. I pulled out my textbooks from Penn Foster and started reading radiograph techniques. I watched youtube videos and read vet tech websites. I mastered that machine and began taking perfect dental x-rays. I remember showing Dr. S a set of x-rays I took once I really got the hang of it. Baby vet was awkwardly standing by staring at his phone, eavesdropping.

“Perfection,” Dr. S said. “I’d expect no less.”

Baby Vet’s face flushed red, and he stormed out of the room.

I was given the responsibility of training the rest of the staff on how to use the machine, and I still advise my co-workers on more difficult shots. I made a point of going to my bosses with a new list, a list of why I deserved a raise. But they didn’t even let me read it. They just gave me the money I wanted. I asked them if there was anything they wanted me to work on, any issues they had with the job I was doing. I was certain they’d bring something up, one of the complaints that I know had been made about me. But nothing. They simply told me that they are happy with the work I do and to keep it up. It was the easiest raise I’ve ever gotten.

I don’t know if baby vet still complains about me. He avoids me as much as possible which I’m fine with. He’s so young and new at his job that I’m not quite sure why he’s focused so much time on bringing others down instead of trying to improve himself. But I don’t have time to worry about that. He isn’t even on my radar.

Night of a Thousand Stevies

15 May

nots25-front-360

I was planning on spending the Friday night in. I had a flight the next day and wanted to pack and rest up. My friend Jan, however, was texting me earlier in the week and convinced me to go to an event with her. It was called “Night of a Thousand Stevies,” and I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

Jan is a HUGE Stevie Nicks fan. She adores the twirl, the bohemian occult draw. I liked Stevie Nicks enough. I mean, doesn’t every woman find “Landslide” poignant? And I had listened to “Dreams” on repeat when going through a break-up years ago, until the sting of the loss subsumed into the clang of Stevie’s tambourine. But I wasn’t a huge fan and found myself unsure why I was dragging myself out for an all-night, Stevie Nick’s themed, mystery event.

I dressed myself up as Stevie as I could. Red flowing skirt, black sheer sweater with sleeves that covered most of my fingers, long charm necklace, hoop earrings, and feathers in my hair. I thought I’d feel silly, but I actually felt amazing, thinking I should start dressing like a wayward gypsy more often. I had downloaded some Stevie Nicks music while out with my softball team earlier in the week and on my train ride to Irving Plaza for this strange event I had signed up for, I listened. “Silver Springs,” “Edge of Seventeen,” “Gold Dust Woman.” How had I missed this? These songs are incredible, and her songwriting is on point.

“Rulers make bad lovers. Better put your kingdom up for sale.”

She’s incredible.

Jan and I

Jan and I

We get to the event and start to see the thousand Stevies. People in top hats, black corsets, tambourines with ribbons, fake owls, long capes. Everyone dressed in some form of an inspired Stevie ensemble. So many twirl-offs. I had no idea that twirling could be such an art.

Up in the balcony, we managed to score a prime viewing spot of the stage where a variety of bands and artists came out to perform odes to Stevie. We saw straight-forward tribute bands, look-alikes who just wanted to dance and twirl, drag queens who came out with giant dove wings and glowing orb moons. My favorite was a troupe of ballerinas who danced en pointe to a choreographed routine of “Carousel” while dressed like Stevies in tutus.

I was struck by the idea of Stevie Nicks and her career. She was different than many women in music during her day, an original concept and style that she created and stuck to. And to back it up, she wrote beautiful songs with so much honesty and vulnerability. Now she lays claim to a cult of weirdos who get together once a year to emulate and bond over her music. She inspired me to be less afraid to lay my heart bare in my writing, to find my own way and style. If anything, that night I joined the cult of weirdos in worshiping the amazing Stevie.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks obsessed with her music, bouncing from song to song and listening to them on repeat. I can’t get enough of her. My latest song on repeat is “Leather and Lace”

“You’re saying I’m fragile. I try not to be. I search only for something I can’t see. I have my own life, and I am stronger than you know.”

Twirl on, Stevie. Twirl on.

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro

13 Jan

It’s such a tiny, little book. It fit so snuggly in my purse, and I took it out almost everywhere I went the week I was reading it. It’s not even a book as much as an amalgamation of all the different things she has learned in her years as a writer. It’s her wisdom, it’s the wisdom of the people who have inspired her, it’s little tips on how to approach writing.

I had fun reading this book. So much so that I bought my own copy while I was still reading the one I had checked out from the library. It now sits atop my printer on my writing desk with its own designated bookmark. Each nugget of advice is only a page or two long, and I’m trying out a ritual (at her suggestion). I read one little nugget as preparation for an hour of uninterrupted writing. It inspires me and reminds me why I write. It makes that hour of solitary writing a little less lonely.