The swamp cooler: the newest in tools of torture

Knock knock.

Who’s there.

Swamp cooler.

Joke ends there. Will return to it in a moment.

“YES!! Jackpot! Temporarily. In passing.”

Such began my journal entry this morning. I was referring to the absence of the upstairs neighbors, the Clack & Clomp Couple, for the second morning in a row.

So. It. Appeared.

There’s but one word when they’re away. But one small five-letter word that says it all: Bliss.

Their absence brightens my world immediately! Dramatically! Because when they’re away, their Elephantitis of the Walk stops. My ceiling stops vibrating. Their intrusions halt. My space stills. Heck, *I* still!

I’m not only getting it from the inside but outdoors. Indoors they go THUMP THUMP THUMP. Their sounds reverberate through my entire studio. They announce their comings and goings by their stomping and their presence. Their presence is frequent. Usually one if not both are at home. So I’m verrrry rarely alone even though according to the lease I live alone. HA!!!

It’s a situation that’s been driving me batty for 7 months. Seven solid months. Seven solidly shitty months. I’m slowly coming around to knowing I’ll have to move. It hurts to do so, I like this space and love love looooove the location and view. Without those two key perks, I woulda been outta here by now.

The Tortuous Thumping Apartment, as I call it now. Certain residences or roommates earn nicknames, usually because there’s some undue and undeserved hardship ad/or trauma associated.

Thumping Inside. The couple above in my space.

And now Thumping Outside. A persistent unrelenting beating KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK … into seeming infinity.

THEIR swamp cooler. Directly above my space. IN my space.

Something’s wrong with the damn thing. Could be a belt but it’s not my job to find out. It’s the job of the repairman. Who to date hasn’t serviced the damn thing. Been a week since I put in the maintenance request at the rental property company. They’ve acknowledged it. Quick on the ball they are not.

I’ll tell you this about a swamp cooler that goes KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK without pause or change in rhythm for hours on end. That’s right. HOURS. Not minutes. HOURS!

It provides insight into the power of Chinese water torture!

The brain … it’s not designed for sameness … for repetitive thought and sound … over and over and over and over and over and over and over. It is not designed for repetition of sound without variance.

The brain needs … wait for it … stimulation from various stimuli. Shock! A repetitive and unchanging drone of a drip-drip-drip is unhealthy. Maddening. And if left to continue (especially to the exclusion of all other sounds) is a great tool of torture and method into madness.

The Chinese knew this. They knew it well. They are the world’s expert at torture. Research it if you don’t believe me. Suss out their torture devices. Very inventive. Frightening. And frighteningly superb, if you’re into torture. (I’m not.)

Now, I wouldn’t call the upstairs Clack & Clomp Couple a pair of Chinese torture artists. It’s not their fault their swamp cooler pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds. How they live with it rests, I venture to say in their general insensitivities / obliviousness to environment/sounds.

However, they can be held responsible for turning the damn thing on! (If I had a swamp cooler that banged that much, *I* wouldn’t use it … simply because I wouldn’t want to disturb my neighbors and drive them mad with hours upon hours of …

KNOCK KNOCK

Who’s there?

Swamp cooler.

No punch line. No joke.

End of story.
Beginning of throbbing headache.
Entry point into madness.

The Chinese overlooked THIS torture device

The Chinese overlooked THIS torture device

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Not all is as it seems. Ain’t that the truth!

I have a job, apparently.

I continue to use the word “apparently,” as I have for a couple+ weeks, for one simple reason: Every step along the way in a monthlong process has been fraught with confusion, misdirections, miscommunications, lack of communication, changes in course, shocks and surprises.

There’s this … nebulousness and unreality around this opportunity, if I dare to call it that, that ultimately leaves me feeling:

Anything can happen … and anything can’t!

+ + +

Today I had another of those “enlightening” moments that so define this ongoing process with Fry’s market. Wouldn’t call it an Aha! moment. We’re not quite as evolved as that Zen monk on the mountaintop!

But it’s certainly yet another surprise, another fact brought to light, that brings me to pause as I proceed along this rocky pathway to employment.

Apparently.

It comes down to scheduling, in a nutshell.

Fry’s tells its employees to be available for any shift on any day. Now, there are exceptions. Managers have set schedules; employees with seniority may choose their shifts.

But those at the bottom of the totem pole, which includes moi if I end up working there, are expected to be at the beck and call of the store.

For $8.05 an hour — minimum wage in Arizona.

Now, hard as this might be for Fry’s to hear, I have a life. I have a life outside of Fry’s. I have commitments through the week as well as another job.

Not only is it a job that’s career-related, it duration gives it seniority — speaking of seniority! — over Fry’s.

Now, as we dozen new hires were just informed in orientation, Fry’s comes first. They tell us so. Even if we have other jobs. Fry’s comes before any other job.

That’s not only unrealistic, it’s selfish and disrespectful.

For 8 bucks an hour.

Even if they were paying twice that, my other commitments and other job remain unchanged.

Sure, I might be more flexible or willing to make certain limited compromises at a better wage.

But minimum wage does NOT incentivize! It only shackles the ankles and wrists to a corporate beast that doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about your life or needs!

For 8 bucks an hour. Figure 7 after taxes.

+ + +

Today I was informed that I’m scheduled for training on certain times and dates. Beginning tomorrow.

Well, this is the first I’ve heard of it! I do not have each of those dates and/or times free.

“Well, we’re very shorthanded.” I understand that. I also understand that the turnover rate’s quite high at Fry’s — no doubt due in great part to the shit wages. (They’re a greedy bunch up there in Corporate!)

But to Fry’s & Kroger (Fy’s parent company), I write:

I have a life. SHOCK! It does not revolve around Fry’s. SHOCK!! It does not revolve around a job that pays a pittance. DOUBLE SHOCK!

I’m willing to have a conversation … explore your needs and mine to arrive at common ground that works and serves us both.

But I am not willing to be your slave or at your beck and call. Especially not for shit wages that truthfully are an INSULT and show no respect for work — or life — experience.

Tomorrow I’ll know more after I meet with a department manager. Everything to date indicates I have a job. Apparently.

Appearances are deceiving, as we all know.

I’m not one to tell an employer to kiss off — not in so many words anyways. 🙂

This much I can say. I’m not willing to be shackled to the demands and expectations of Fry’s — or any other employer (especially one paying peanuts). Neither am I willing or able to give up my life and sell my soul to the cold beast that is Corporate.

After a month of twists and turns, surprises and shocks, dismay and disappointment, revulsion and regard, I’ll not be surprised by whatever the outcome of tomorrow’s discussion.

Because all along the way, one thing’s been clear: I may have a job. Or I may not.
This thing with Fry’s — it’s been low-grade acid trip for weeks! And I’ve not dropped a single tab in ages!

Triiippppy …

Frying my sensibilities at Fry's?

Frying my sensibilities at Fry’s?

What goes Thump Thump Thump into the night?

Thump Thump Thump.

For hours nonstop.

Thump Thump Thump.

Just above my head. For hours on end.

THUMP THUMP THUMP.

Bouncing off the walls, echoing across the narrow divide between this building and the neighboring.

THUMP THUMP THUMP.

Relentless. Unceasing.

THUMP THUMP THUMP.

Chinese water torture. The repetitive unceasing dripping that wears away rock.

Thump Thump Thump.

Driving noise into my brain and producing headaches.

THUMP THUMP THUMP.

Through the evening into night. Hours upon hours of nonstop Thumping Thumping Thumping.

There’s no escaping it! It’s inside my apartment. Thump thump thump goes the Clack & Clomp Couple above. A noisy case of Elephantitis of the Walk

Now it’s outside too. Thump thump thump goes their swamp cooler.

In this Arizona heat, I like to sit out on the patio — partly to escape my stuffy studio with no cooler, mostly because summer evenings are so enjoyable.

But as the adage says: There’s no relief for the weary. Or, I’d add, the heat-stricken!

Because now when I sit outside … rather try to … the cooling & enjoyment factor plummets.

The persistent Thump Thump Thump of the swamp cooler in Apt. A, aka the home of the Clack & Clomp Couple.

How to describe the sound. Okay, here’s an image. You’re inside your home standing 10 feet away from your front door. Outside someone is knocking on your door very loudly.

However, there’s no variance in the knocking. The rhythm is flat and measured. The timing between each beat is identical. One beat follows the next that follows the next that follows the next and follows the next in exact measure. Each space between one beat identical to the next and the next.

For hours on end.

You’re not permitted to answer your door. The person at the door is not permitted to leave. You must listen to his Knock Knock Knock for five or six hours.

THAT, my friends, is the scenario at {unidentified number} at {abbreviated A. Street} in Prescott, Arizona.

It’s as if God, who may or may not be real, is testing me. Or playing a cruel joke.

“Let’s see how crazy we can make her! First, we’ll give her tons of noise in her home! We’ll give her neighbors — not just one but two! — with heavy footsteps. The boyfriend especially.

“And we’ll give her young people to boot. People with no genuine concept of consideration for others. The boyfriend especially.

“And when 7 months of constant internal intrusions push her over the edge, we’ll throw in OUTSIDE noise! Just for good measure. *Measure* — haha, get it?!

“Oh, this’ll be fun to watch! She’ll welcome the change of weather that enables her to sit out on the patio. She loves that! She’ll relish the relief of escape the internal home mess!

“Then WHAMP!!!!! We’ll throw a thumping swamp cooler at her!! THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP! Electric Chinese water torture!”

Yeah, a cruel joke if ever there was one!

+ + +

So I’ve submitted a maintenance request. Not for my apartment but theirs! The home of the Clack & Clomp Couple.

When and IF their swamp cooler will be serviced remains to be seen. In the meantime, I can spend only so much time on the patio (not) enjoying the pleasant evenings.

Soon, the Bang Bang Bang — a belt needing replacing? — drives me INSIDE! Every time. Into the stagnating stuffiness of my space. I can’t believe that’s preferable to the relentless brain-breaking pounding from that motherf***ing cooler!

It’s a matter of time … only a matter of time … until I pack up and head for better.

Much as I love my location {and oh do I love love love it!!}, there’s simply no relief from the headaches, the stress, the aggravation, the intrusions.

And with my hand on the Bible delivered by a God who may or may not exist, I pledge I shall never again live below people with wood floors again!

Or a swamp cooler that goes Thump Thump Thump into the night. Destroying peace. Destroying my sanity!

thescream

The ABCs of the Day

A is for Art.
B is for Blank. What I’m drawing today in terms of decisions.
C is for a Card from an oracle deck.

And the day, for the record, is Friday, June 19, 2015.

I won’t talk about it, except to my therapist.

Won’t write about it, except in my journal.

And I won’t forget it. That moment in the back conference room of a Fry’s store (parent company: Kroger) that shocked me, took me aback. It’s an experience, though it needs to remain untold, that has path-altering potential.

I have decisions to make. In this moment, as in all moments following this “development” yesterday, my task is not to make a decision but to process what happened.

I’m nowhere near that.

But I’m trying to get there.

To get there, I write in my journal.

To get there, I went to Walmart late last night to get thick poster paper and paints. Not watercolors or acrylics. Paints that can be use for fingerprinting.

Creative expression. Expression through art. Art is therapy. I’m no master with paints or pencil sketching or the like. The tool of my craft is a writing implement — a pen — and a writing surface. Usually paper but I’ve been known to write on the back of coasters, napkins, margins of magazines and newspapers, even skin! Anything that’ll accept a pen!

I’m also pretty comfortable with a camera.

Creative expression through other means, i.e., paints, crayons, pastels … it’s not that I can’t do those things. Not that I lack aptitude or ability or certainly an ability to learn. It’s that I’ve not really gone there … not since childhood anyways … for a lot of reasons that do not need to be aired here.

+ + +

Yes, I’ve decisions to make regarding Fry’s (Kroger).

But, because of the nature and particulars of yesterday’s occurrence, I can’t get there through thought alone. Linear thought, reason, logic .. these do not provide me the answers I seek.

I need to be right-brained about this. (right brain = creative spatial non-linear)

And I need to be in my heart. The decisions that I need to make in a short time need to be of my heart. I think I already know the answer but I’m not certain. Not certain enough or clear enough to affirm: “Yes, that’s the right decision and the right direction to go.”

A part of me is afraid to paint. Afraid to feel the feelings beneath the art.

I will do it when I feel ready. Lay out the paper and the paints, maybe light a candle or burn some incense. Put on some nice music and see where it all takes me.

I was going to do it early this afternoon but I need to be alone and for the next 1-2 hours, I’m not alone. My upstairs neighbor just came home on her lunch break. While I live alone “on paper,” I am NEVER alone in my studio when the damn fucking neighbors are there. Shitty thin floors. Can hear their every move. I h-a-t-e it! HATE it!

I am not wired for crowding like this or people in my space. I’m just not. Either they need to go (and they won’t) or I do.

So the art will have to wait until she gets the hell outta there and I can be alone.

First the job then the move.

So much for the post for the day. Suddenly I could use some uplifting so gonna pull a random card from my Mermaids & Dolphins oracle deck (in similar style to blogging buddy longeyesamurai’s card pulls that I always enjoy 😉 ):

Well, that’s interesting! During shuffling, this one verily jumped out and turned itself over!

Contemplation Time cardContemplation Time

“Spend time alone, meditating upon what you truly desire.”

(Coincidentally — or not — I was planning some solitude/away time this weekend … maybe even taking myself, paper and paints into a shaded nature area away from “home” because it’s a source of constant intrusions and stress. Seems I do know what I gotta do! 🙂 )

Where there’s (no) smoke, there’s (no) fire. Only bleeding ears.

Good grief! Good f**kin’ grief!

Beep. High-pitched beep. Annoying: beep. Relentless beep.

The smoke detector. Just offsides above my bed. On a ceiling so low that my up stretched arm’s a mere 6 inches shy of touching it. I’m 5-2.

Awakened early, I groggily tumble out of bed to temporarily silence the relentless beeping by removing the battery until I go buy a replacement.

But which smoke detector is it?! I try to ascertain half-asleep. There are two, separated by a mere 3 feet and a door between kitchen and bedroom.

Am I dreaming or am I now hearing BOTH detectors beep. Beep. BEEEEPING!

Boom!

Two detectors launch their ear-piercing alarms!

There’s no smoke. No heat. No burner on the nearby stove. Not even a stick of incense!

Why the fuck are not one but now two smoke detectors screeching?! And what can I do to stop it?!?

Moving between two rooms, I stand gingerly atop a tall swivel chair, my substitute ladder, trying to silence them. Just as one quiets temporarily, the other sounds. Sometime both beep. Sometimes both scream.

Now *I’m* about to scream!!

My neighbors must be loving this! Why should I care about disturbing the Noisy Clack & Clomp Couple above after all the months of noise and grief and disruption they’ve brought me??

But I do. I’m too thoughtful. Painfully considerate. And I hate to be a source of trouble or burden to anyone, even those I dislike or want out of my life. Like the neighbors above.

I jump outta my jammies and drive like the dickens to Walgreen’s for two 9-volt batteries. Yow! Expensive! Nearly 8 bucks on sale!

Hastening “home,” I’m relieved to discover no firetrucks in the driveway and no neighbors peering through the windows to view flames.

Both alarms are emitting piercing beeps. Whew.

Then I kid you not, 5 seconds after I walk in, WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!! Both detectors in full-tilt ear-bleeding alarm!

I scramble onto the dangerous swivel chair to replace one battery … then over to the next. Whew! Peace!

Wrong!

Beeeeepppp! Beeeepppp!!!! BEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!

What the?!?!

Guided now by a flashlight illuminating the nigh-invisible + and – symbols inside the detector, I ensure both batteries are correctly and securely positioned. Whew! That should do it. Peace.

Wrong!

BEEEEEEPPPP!!!!!!! BEEEEPPPPPPPPPP!!!! First one, then the other in a Duo of Dissonance to Wake the Dead.

Several times I repeat the dance of Climb Upon the Dangerous Swivel Chair – Remove and Reseat Batteries – Push Reset Buttons. To the same result. Silence. For 10 seconds. Or a minute. Or 5 minutes. Then:

YOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW! One chirping detector triggering the other and then both screaming “fire! fire! fire!”

It’s truly a miracle that no neighbor appears to see what’s burning down — apart from my patience! No firemen in thick padded suits hauling ass and axes to my door either!

I’ve done everything I could possibly do and then some. I finally cave.

I dial my rental company. Don’t even bother with their instructions to submit all maintenance requests online. Last time I did, it took three weeks for a repair of a dripping faucet!

No, wonky whacked-out smoke detectors require immediate action. To my surprise, they respond! “We’ll send someone out right away.”

And they do! Within half an hour, I get a call from Mark. I explain the morning scene, along with leaving a detailed note since I’m on my way out.

“Oh yeah, and I noticed that a red light’s flashing on the detector in the bedroom … but not the one in the kitchen. If that helps.”

“Oh yeah?!” he says, metaphorically sitting up and taking notice. “Yes, that helps a lot.”

Because I’m not here when he arrives, I lose the full explanation and step-by-step education.

But that night, I return “home” to a note. He says he reset the detectors. That it’s been quiet for 20 minutes. But if they start up again to call him and he’ll walk me through a reset.

So I’ve no idea what he did to shut down those mothers, I can only hope that this is the last of the screaming smoke detectors for a good long while! All’s quiet on the Western front.

Okay, I lie. The Clack & Clomp Couple do still reside above me.

Oh were there a reset process to silence them …

Saliva test sticks stick it to the cheaters

It got me thinking, yesterday’s drug screening by a saliva stick. In the back office inside a supermarket no less!

The perks are obvious. No picking up paperwork here and then driving across town to a dedicated lab. No long waits. No gallon of water before the big pee!

No rigid supervision or extreme measures and controls implemented, sadly, because too many people have created devious workarounds to drug-screenings by urine samples.

What I really like about the saliva stick is that it keeps the bad guys at bay.
Or reveals them as sneaks that they are.

Think about it. Unlike labs where you do your business in the privacy of a restroom, saliva testing requires nothing more than people seated in a room (of the employer’s choosing) … test kits … and an overseer attending to the process at every step.

An overseer who is honest and responsible. Not all are, granted, so there’s always that loophole … always an opening for the bad guys to prevail. However, for the sake of discussion, let’s presume the employer sincerely does not want to hire druggie employees.

The saliva stick testing, when conducted in a controlled environment overseen by a responsible authority, renders it impossible for a candidate to scam or cheat the system!

There’s no way you can sit there without a stick jutting from the mouth for the timed five minutes and not get noticed!

You can’t hand off your stick to your neighbor. “Double-sticking” … also obvious!

You can’t duck into another room and pull the equivalent of using someone else’s urine!

You can’t pour another’s saliva onto a stick.

And unless someone’s devised a tablet that you dissolve in your mouth prior to testing that changes the result from positive to negative, the saliva test is as failproof a screening device as can be. UNDER THE RIGHT AND RESPONSIBLE SUPERVISION.

All this got me thinking about more than the wonders of saliva sticks!

It got me thinking about a woman I used to work with some 10 years ago. A pint-sized woman of around 24.

Actually there were two; they were buddies. And members of the Bitch Brigade. (I’ve never been nor will ever be a card-carrying member.)

We cleaned houses. Thus we had a lot of together time as we drove from residence to residence in a little car that got great gas mileage! I was not liked by these women. Not a bit. They talked smack behind my back, the usual Bitch Brigade stuff. But then, I’ve never been liked by any brigade member.

I don’t remember this little woman’s name so let’s call her The Thief. Not an undeserved name.

Yes, while she (or they) waited for me in the car after a cleaning job, she accessed my wallet safe in the back seat (so I thought), reached in and stole my cash. I know it was her. She had that ambiance about her. An ambiance of dishonesty. Of sneak. (The other woman, while a sharp bitch on wheels, did not share those traits.)

There’s more.

In addition to stealing, The Thief was uber-concerned about an imminent drug screening. I don’t recall the circumstances; it was for an important application (for a school or program? – don’t quote me).

Her concern was obviously connected to her drug use (dope, possibly other substances). She went on and on during our car rides about these kits some friend had used and you could get online to cheat and circumvent the testing and how she was going to buy one.

Now, I’m far from prudish. Matter of fact, I’ve not a prudish bone in my body.

However, what I DO have is morality. Scruples. And a strong sense of decency, honesty and fair play.

As I recall, I left that job (good riddance!) before I learned the outcome of The Thief’s planned workaround. Well, workaround’s one word for it. I call it cheating. 🙂

So yesterday, as I sat with the others in that supermarket’s back room with saliva sticks “reading” our drug use (or not) like thermometers reading our temperatures, I couldn’t but think of that little woman with the big thieving heart.

She stole my money, yes — and I remember her well for it. It’s the first and only time a coworker’s stolen money from me.

Yet what I remember her for most is her scheming. Her conniving. Her willingness to research and buy, for her own selfish needs, some kit that would conceal her drug use.

I wonder what The Thief would’ve done yesterday … in that back room, presented with a saliva stick … with no workarounds or means to cheat.

Bet I know!

While we’re all sitting around with sticks protruding from our mouths and dutifully filling out paperwork, she reaches under the table and lifts wallets …

Yeah, she was a cleaner all right — and I don’t mean of houses!

I’ve sometimes wondered whatever came of The Thief. Unfortunately, I don’t have a TV so can’t watch “America’s 10 Most Wanted” to check. 😉

Mmmmm-mmmm, savory! A salt lick on a stick!

What, five of us? Sitting on folding chairs in a half-circle around a table. Blue plastic sticks jutting out of our mouths like thermometers. Mumbling if we do speak, but briefly.

We look like patients gathered at a health clinic!

Not like the future employees of Fry’s supermarket that we are.

Kathi, the training specialist for northern Arizona, has called us five women here for one purpose: drug screening.

We’ve all interviewed with her and been offered positions at one of several stores in the area. No one proceeds to training without passing required background checks and drug tests.

I’ve been screened for drugs before of course. Urine tests are standard. Also standard is an employer giving you the paperwork and directing you to a dedicated lab. And it’s across town, always!

You go pee in a cup in a lab’s restroom. The process and environments are rigidly controlled of course. Papers are signed. The restroom’s closely examined between customers. The cup — hermetically sealed — is handled strictly by a staff member until it’s passed over to you — all under supervision, of course.

Too many people — drug users — have devised devious tricks and workarounds to pass screenings. It takes work and tight controls to simply keep pace with the drug-testing deviants!

Screening labs are like visiting prison for 20 minutes. You’re in. You’re closely monitored at every step. Your every move is dictated by rules and regulations and the powers that be. You sign out. You depart. And don’t forget to leave your ankle bracket at the door! haha

So the Fry’s mode of testing seems all the more novel and relaxing. And, in the big picture, impossible to subvert if you’re a drug user.

Arrive at the meeting room at the back of the store at an appointed time.

The testing tool is secured and uncontaminated inside a sealed clear envelope opened only by the overseer. The saliva stick itself resembles a tiny white flag stiffened by a breeze on a thin plastic blue flagpole.

The flag’s surface is reminiscent of a pregnancy stick. If you’ve never had to see one of those, look it up! 😉

Do not touch the white flag! Holding it by the blue pole, insert the flag between gum and cheek.

The overseer checks the time. Then you sit. For five minutes. Staring into space as if your temperature’s being taken.

Or, in this case, fill out the lab’s paperwork. 🙂

Chemicals embedded in the mini-flag reveal the presence of drugs via saliva to the lab.

The “flag” itself is salty. It’s not obvious until about two minutes in, when suddenly you’re sitting there with a salt lick wedged in at the back of the mouth! It’s not an unpleasant taste but it is strong. Nothing that swishing with water and teeth-brushing can’t rectify afterward. 😉

A timed 5 minutes later and the tester’s removed. The white flag’s inserted (push hard) into its little plastic vial. The blue pole is broken halfway at its manufactured breaking point (after all, the lab cares only about the “flag portion).

The overseer instructs and guides every step of the process so there’s no hanky-panky, contamination or misstep to invalidate results.

Each well-labeled vial’s then placed into its own well-labeled bag that’s sealed and Fed Ex’d to a lab somewhere.

No pee cup! No drinking 8 cups of water while driving to a lab! In fact, the only requirement for the saliva test is no food or liquids 10 minutes prior.

Easy-breezy lemon-peazy!

Curious creature that I am, I inquired (waited ’til the stick was outta my mouth!) about this novel testing I’d never encountered in my decades of employment. She said Fry’s has employed it for years.

It certainly beats hiking across town to a “prison lab” to pee in a cup! Even though we did all look like sick patients having our temperatures taken at the health clinic. It’s fun to experience new things and sample the twist on drug testing … aka “salt licks on a stick.”