Jul 222012

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">Yes, this is a writing prompt. I don’t use them often. but as you know, my mind has been in overdrive lately with that all-consuming situation they like to call MS. and because i know it gets old to hear/read about nothing about my medical woes, i don’t want to write about it at this moment (and nothing has really changed so there’s nothing new to report) so this morning while cruising on the internet, i came across a writing prompt and thought “oh yeah, i can answer that one”.

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">THE MOST BIZARRE PERSON I EVER MET….

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">Naturally this person was someone i came across during #0000ff;">#0000ff;" href="http://sherristakes.com/2010/09/my-life-in-cali-%E2%80%93-a-synopsis/">life in Cali. I’m trying to come up with a great, creative, and bizarre enough alias for her…gimme a minute…

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">Ok, she will be heretofore known as just plain ol Marilyn because there are just no words that do her justice.

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">Marilyn was the smartest person i have ever met. She was off the charts in the brains department. I met her through an ad in the classifieds. I was seeking some part-time employment with flexible hours that paid decent wages – hard to do! Anyhow, i found this ad about a single mom who was working on her doctorate and in need of a personal assistant… i called and went for an interview.

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">I showed up dressed in what i thought of as personal assistant attire to meet with a doctorate student. In my messy mind, i figured she must be someone of at least partial class, smarts, and stability. Wrong.  As i pulled up in front of her home, i was thinking “oh my gawd. what the hell is going on here?” her home was in a very nice neighborhood but it didn’t fit in. it was a MASSIVE two-story Tudor style with severely chipped paint, rotten wood, and a yard that hadn’t been mowed in probably 163 years at least. And what was that awful smell? Hard to tell for sure… there was more crap lying around the unmowed grass than one could find in the best of city dumps.

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(pic borrowed from #000000;" href="http://econurse.org/ESN/myPictures/landfill.jpg">environmentally sensitive nursing)

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#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">I know i have a tendency to exaggerate things in an effort to find humor, but this photo? It’s only the slightest of exaggerations. I promise. Would i tell you an un-truth? No, not me!


#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">i dug my way through the dump to find the front door… at this point i’m thinking this won’t be the job for me, but my curiosity has gotten the best of me. I MUST find out what kind of single mom studying for her doctorate would be living in such conditions…. wouldn’t you want to know?

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">(I wished for rubber boots though)


#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">The door was promptly answered by a boy of about 12 years. He was a rotund lad but appeared fairly clean and put together. He led me to where his mother was studying. the foyer of the house was not real bad… a few  stacks of old newspapers, magazines, and other random papers – and the floor was a tad sticky but not too bad. I did notice that the odor from outside followed me in… must have been sucked in through the open door i thought. 

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">To our immediate right is what most NORMAL people would consider a dining room, and it was complete with a beautiful (i think) china cabinet and a massive dining table fit for kings. Now this room was not in such good shape as the foyer. as we enter, i hear a woman welcoming me but i can’t see her… this is because there are the biggest mounds of paper and books i have ever seen my entire life piled up on the table… and the floor, and the chairs, and the floor, and the beautiful china cabinet was overflowing with the same stuff! 

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">I make my way around the room and find Marilyn sitting amongst the chaos… and was she a site… she was about 5’11 SKINNY (!) and fish-belly white – that’s REALLY white for those of you who aren’t sure… she has this albert einsteinish hair going on… wiry, black, and going in every direction…. further, she had a 4 inch white streak of hair running along the left side of head… and her hair was about 12 inches long! I wish i had a picture because the words just don’t do it justice.

#000000;">Her clothes…. she was wearing what i think were once black skinny jeans with holes of wear all over, and dirt…lots and lots of dirt on them. She had a flannel shirt that was a few sizes too small… and converse shoes…. her hands were filthy! Gauging by the blackness of her fingernails, i have to assume she rummages through the front yard frequently…

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">And then she begins to talk… and she is so on another level of thinking than the rest of the civilized world. I didn’t comprehend anything she said! I knew most of the words but for the life of me couldn’t figure out the context of her words. As i weeded my through what she was saying, my responses were several minutes delayed because i had to try and figure out what she was saying… 

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">In the end, i decided this woman needed me. What the hell was i thinking? I accepted the job. I think it was an offer anyway. I was to start work the following day. 

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">I show up for my first day of work and Marilyn tells me she has a hard time focusing on her research in the chaos she has created in her home. She would like for me to help her get things cleaned up and straightened so she can work better. Ok. She says she would like me to start in the living room….. Holy hell! The furniture is an old couch most likely rescued from the trash somewhere, a TV and two children’s potty chairs (the kind used for toilet training)


#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">Two chairs are situated on the floor directly in front of the television.


#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">Several paragraphs ago i mentioned the lad who was about 12…. And i found out there was a daughter who was 14 or so. These are the two lovelies that use the potty chairs! What??!!  Apparently they get so caught up in watching TV or playing games that they simply cannot leave the room to use the grown up potty… what??!! And the really horrid thing? They don’t EMPTY the potty chairs….

#000000;">The kitchen…. i think they used every dish in the house since about 972 AD and had resorted to using whatever available surface they could to eat on. I’m not kidding folks. There was evidence of a recent spaghetti meal that was eaten from the countertop…. yes. put the noodles on the counter, drizzle them with sauce, mix it all up and eat it…. there were layers and layers and layers of meals on the counter top…. never cleaned up, or wiped off… just wait til it’s crusty and serve the next meal on top….

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">I won’t go into any description of the rest of the home….it’s just too gross ( thousands of times worse than what I’ve already said here) for example, they were very creative and would paint on the walls…. with shit, blood, or whatever other soft squishy substance they could finger paint with…. yep. Uh huh. Can you say CRAZY? 

#000000; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 10pt;">Speaking of CRAZY, i worked there for a little over a year, until Marilyn got her PhD… In psychology…. wow.

#000000;">She is a very profound and well-known clinical psychologist. Unbelievable.

#000000;">She and her kids were so freakin smart that they had no idea what NORMAL was. They couldn’t tie their shoes, didn’t know how, so they just yanked the laces out.

#000000;">‘Nuff said….

Being an adult is like looking both ways before you cross the street and then getting hit by an airplane.

  7 Responses to “The Most Bizarre Person I Ever Met – reprise”

  1. I always think I am the worse housekeeper and wish I were better, that is until I read something like this or see Hoarders on TV. I just amazes me how some people can live like that and not see anything wrong.

    You are a stronger person that I am. I wouldn’t have made it past the interview. I guess “normal” is so different for each of us, there really isn’t such a thing.

  2. hmmm… a writing prompt. I’ve not looked up that idea before. I like it.

    • i love writing prompts for those days that my brain is so muddled that i can’t come up with a single thought worth writing about… i have found so many different websites that offer free prompts to work with. i have never been brave enough to actually link up to them but maybe one day i will 🙂

  3. That is both funny, sad and common for therapists and pdocs who are on a “higher” plane to live as savages.
    The last house I lived in sounds very much like what you’ve described only the person I lived with has Asperger’s Syndrome. He really struggled with the most common sense things. The layers of food don’t surprise me either, it sounds like stuff he did. His people skills were questionable, his home deplorable, but his heart was very warm.

    Like you said, when you saw the conditions you took the job because that family “needed” your help. LOL At one point my old roommate’s home got so bad that I finally said, ENOUGH! I told him he owns the deed to the house but that’s all, it’s mine I said, and I began slowly cleaning it. It had to be slow or he couldn’t handle it but it did get cleaned up as did the yard.

    Sometimes we take jobs or move in a place not because its a good idea but because we are needed. 🙂 To tell you the truth, you give me a horrible mess like you’re talking about and ask me to clean it up and I come alive! I’m on it. I have a feeling you simply couldn’t resist the challenge of taking that job. You sound like me Sherri. 🙂
    Love the story. I think Marlyn is a good name for her too. LOL

    I do not tire of hearing/reading about the process of MS and how it effects your life and your family.

    • it was so sad that it became funny.. eventually through the cleaning process, marilyn and her kids even saw the ridiculous humor in it.

      there was no way i could have turned down the job. no way. as disgusting as it was, this family needed help in a big way. and i have to say that i learned so much from marilyn… i helped her with her research papers and clinical stuff during the time i was working with her. she even got me hooked up with a professor at pepperdine and had it been a different time, i would have accepted his offer to fast track through the psychology program… but the timing was just really off… many days i regret that i wasn’t able to participate in the program…i think i would have really enjoyed it and that maybe i would have been a pretty good therapist…

      looking back on it i know that you are right… i know that i take jobs based on how much i’m needed… i suppose many of us do… we feel more self-worth when we are doing something that is helping another person out. compassion… and like you, i too kick into high gear when a situation is beyond bad… some switch gets flipped and i just get busy!

      i’m glad you haven’t tired of reading about my journey… i get tired of it lol and i have to say that i never tire of reading your journey and i so look forward to our correspondence 🙂 you have grown a huge place in my heart

  4. How did you ever manage to do this??? I was literally gagging while I read this!! I’m surprised she hadn’t been hauled away by human services! I know it’s wrong to judge, but would you go to this person for psychological help? What a story!
    I have books of writing prompts that I used with my students. I should get them off the shelves and use them here. Thanks for the idea.

    • i spent days gagging in her home lol eventually we got it cleaned up to a livable condition… HHSD had been in her home and there were threats of removing her kids and all that… this was the motivation for her to let someone come into her home… i’m sure that once i moved on her home most likely returned to disrepair and filth… just in her nature…

      i love writing prompts! i have on my wish list a few books of prompts and creative writing stuff to work with…. in the meantime i cruise the interwebs for sites offering prompts…

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