A Whirlwind of Change [A Chapter of a Memoir]

Fate weaves a beautiful and mysterious tapestry indeed…

Healthcare and me go back a few years. I started my life in retail pharmacy around circa 2006 when I got my Pharmacy Technician Certification Board license to work as a tech to pay the bills. I went into the industry in earnest and rosy colored glasses thinking I could help patients and the world with quality healthcare. “Let’s give the patients the best we’ve got and help them understand what’s going on with their healthcare!” was the battle-cry in my mind. But in usual fashion… It’s amazing what the shackles of the real world can do to neophytes who is ignorant to the conventions of powers that they do not know of. I essentially got to see the erosion of healthcare from a behind the scenes point of view and while the patients saw their co-pays and premiums climb up in price… I learned to read the laws and books on the things happening on the back end of the business. Things like big pharmaceutical companies trying to push for a rising trend of a new medication to companies trying to exploit the wordings of patient agreements all for the sake of making a bigger bottom line. My final stop would be with a company that their policies made me sick to my stomach every day I worked. For lack of a better term, I will use the phrase my best friend Noir has used a few times in my life: “Cynicism is a real ugly bitch.

Then Fate would weave an odd string of events… The passing of Ebon’s father mandating an emergency family trip for preparations of a funeral. Me resigning from my final pharmacy related job during my training period which would have put me behind (skill-wise) from employment. Applying for an entry level IT job that I would have to wait until after the funeral to interview for… Fate was weaving something grand, but being in what was like a roiling sea… I was scared, terrified, and unsure of what the future had in store for me. I just know that priority #1 was to get back into the workforce to be able to provide for Ebon and me (as well as our 2 awesome cats). What I would come to realize was that Fate had one of the most life changing tapestries ready for what would possibly be the shining moment I realized that I was in the wrong career field because I was aimlessly trying to figure out my professional passion in life. Before we proceed… Let’s rewind a bit and review.

Months before I would apply to an entry level IT job and before the passing of Ebon’s father… I was working a pharmacy tech job that was seriously underpaying me for my skill set and experience. Every day, after having my morale beaten out of me… I went home dejected and miserable. However, Ebon always saw me in child like bliss when I had home computer projects for friends and family. If a friend needed a computer sterilized of malware and virus infections, I would have fun like a symphony pianist playing a beautiful concerto. A hard drive repair/salvage job? Music to my ears… Every once in awhile Ebon would remark with “Why not look into IT? You’re obviously GREAT at it and I think you’d be much more fulfilled with your professional life in it!” It would always come down to me saying “I’d love to… but I don’t have the certificate saying I have the skills nor do I have an inside track to get into the field.” Pharmacy made me miserable to be alive towards the end of my 7th year in the industry, but with no recourse from weak financial reserves… All I could do was just continue the routine like a beast of burden forever more. For me, A Perfect Circle’s song “Weak and Powerless” had a strain that hit home with my situation…

Tilling my own grave to keep me level
Jam another dragon down the hole
Digging to the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren
One that pushes me along and leaves me so…

Being a pharmacy tech felt like digging my own grave and I was helpless to continue perpetually digging a grave large enough to see other bodies join my decaying soul. I wanted so desperately to break the cycle… but things looked bleak as the fiery pits of Hell. I’d venture to say the despair and remorse were so deep that I don’t think any of the Four Heavenly Kings could have saved me from my remorse. I wanted to begin putting steps towards planning a life with Ebon as the one in my life… But I needed a catalyst. The question soon became “Where will I find my catalyst?

Let’s go back to the beginning of this chapter… Around the announcement of Ebon’s father falling sick (before we would find out that he would be close to passing away), I was more concerned with taking an immediate trip to the south coast of Texas in haste as she rarely saw him. I remember telling Ebon “If I need to just take the hit and lose my (current) job, I’ll do it. This is a family emergency and I definitely consider your father a part of our family.” The coincidence that I didn’t like my job was just that… coincidence. When she went to work and cried her heart out while telling her superiors of the situation… they gave her the option to take bereavement leave. Coincidentally, I would stumble on a friend advertising a job opening for a security company in my city and was asking for interest. I immediately shot my resume over and would end up getting calls and e-mails that would change my future in a grand way that only Fate could have woven. I would end up passing the intro calls and interviews to quickly be elevated into the final stage interview with the guy would would eventually become my current boss later in the week.

Unfortunately, the minor snowfall that happened this year had yet to melt so Ebon was leery to leave immediately that night. We would choose to leave the next morning after rational discussions. I had spend the earlier portion of the day talking to folks via e-mail and phone for a future job and was exhausted for a positive post-family-emergency trip. The sleep I got was restless, full of tossing and turning from the family emergency me and Ebon would contend with in addition to the fact that I was in talks to possibly change my professional fate forever. In the morning, after we both woke up to alertness… we would make the trek down to the coast town in South Texas to stay with my old college roommate and his wife (because we couldn’t afford hotel/motel lodging). I remember on finally unpacking our gear at our host’s home… I would check my e-mail and see a communique from my future boss/friend RX-7200 asking if I would be free the next day to an in-person interview. The immediate thought in my mind before replying? “$#%&! I am in for what looks like the beginnings of a funeral! DAMN IT!” I breathe and calm down telling myself “It should be ok… You’re basically on bereavement leave with Ebon. So they shouldn’t disqualify you from the hire… they shouldn’t!” I compose my e-mail to RX-7200 telling him “Hey, sorry… I’m out of town on a family emergency… I’ll be free this day after I return to town. If that’s cool… My humble apologies for being stuck with a family related emergency.” I was in fear of things… but when I got a reply saying “My condolences… Yeah, I can definitely work with you on that! Let’s push the interview back about a week so that you and your girlfriend can take care of any related affairs.” After Ebon’s father taking a turn for the worse and the funeral happened… It made me realize how short life can be and the following quote from me sums up how my heart felt.

Life passes us in the blink of an eye and we never know it. Cherish our time as mortal beings for our time is short.
-ZeroXR, quoted 1/24/2013

If I was going to forge ahead with the hopes of changing my destiny, I needed to fight like I would die tomorrow. It’s like the old adage: “No pain, no gain!” I had to give this my all because after getting back to the Dallas area after the funeral… I would have no job to return to. Face it, rent was coming due and I needed to do something to get cash flow in. I wanted to push towards a better future and I didn’t want to be behind on the curve anymore.

In typical fashion… There were some rough spots on the tapestry of Fate. Her weaving has character to our tapestry woven by her. Mine was no exception, because there would be some misfortune before I would see the whispering sun of victory. (Editor’s note: Whispering Sun is a reference to artist Raymond Wave‘s track “Whispering Sun (Rough Mix)” which is a beautiful track and sums up how my heart felt after this turbulent ride.)

During the week after, Ebon’s car battery would die and money was tight. We couldn’t get a replacement battery immediately which meant I would be on duty to take her up to work and home in Angel (my car). But as this story goes… It was not without struggle… One of the days leading to the interview, I had to pick up Ebon from work and the impossible happens. Angel’s engine falls forward so much that it immobilizes me. That detail would not be know immediately… I would freak out because I thought that the engine may have died. I would call Ebon and see if her coworker Acid would be around to assist me on pushing the car to a business parking spot and try to figure out something. I check the oil and it’s black as the night and a little thick like molasses. I suggest going to Wal-Mart for a spot of oil to see if oil starvation was the issue… Oil up and nothing. Dejected… I get a lift home from Acid and we settle on trying to figure how to tow my car home cause I can’t afford an actual tow.

The next morning… We did a tandem tow home and &$@# if it wasn’t a scary situation. Angel’s computer system was in full panic so I lost power brakes and steering. This made the tandem tow tedious and scary. Thankfully Acid was good at signaling me when he was stopping, turning, and going… The irony when we got Angel home and parked… I would see the glaring issue after Acid made a revelation about my car, “Hey! When you tried to start the engine… It sounded like the motor was trying to suck in air but chokes off and dies!” I would come around and then discover the engine shifted forward and could no longer reach the air intake tubing… and the worst irony is the mass airflow sensor is on the intake tubing. The only explanation that I was seeing near everywhere was “It’s a cracked motor mount“. I know I had a few moments that I would look at the sky and scream “DAMN IT ALL!!!” This was one wrench in things and I didn’t know how I’d get a ride up to my Stage II interview for the job with RX-7200. So Ebon phones up her mother and her mother proposes an interesting idea… I can borrow Ebon’s brother’s car until I could get Angel repaired but I would have to get someone to ride with me to get the car to borrow. Acid volunteers to help me out and I am thankful… which we would hit out the next day ’cause the tandem tow was exhausting. What I forgot to account for was that my interview was the next day. This would come to haunt me…

So early morning I would head up to a city westward to get the loaner car… but I was too eager on the time. This would come to get me… The address that Ebon’s mother provided for the location of the car lead me and Acid astray via GPS. I look at the time… HOLY CRAP!!! My Stage II interview is literally in an hour… there’s no way I can make it… I ask Ebon’s brother who’s physically at the address if there’s an alternate street name or if there is a name for the neighborhood. He finds it and to my dismay, it will take Acid an hour to drive there… DAMN IT!!! My mind races with “Why?! Why?! Why?!” I shoot an e-mail to RX-7200 and call him to say I will be late and I will try to be there ASAP… He didn’t seem phased so I was going to just push the limits to get to my interview if it killed me. We would get to the address and Ebon’s brother would pitch me the keys, Acid would part ways, and I would get rolling only to find the car was low on gas… Damn it… time lost re-gassing up. ARGH! It felt like I couldn’t catch a break. After the gas tank was refilled, my objectives were to get Ebon to work and then make haste to the security company’s campus in Dallas. My eyes were on the prize… One more objective to go and I would have a date that Fate would have preordained.

I get back to our home and get Ebon so we can get her to work… I make haste and drop her off, but to my dismay… I forgot one valuable thing to do… I was NOT appropriately dressed for my job interview. &@#%$!!! Time lost for me to dress appropriately and then run up to my interview. I shoot RX-7200 an e-mail saying “I’ll be up ASAP!” and make a mad drive up. I walk in expecting to be clamped down pretty hard… but I was in for a very relaxed interview with RX-7200. He hit with some serious questions and after that… it got relaxed. He said that he would be my direct superior and would give me an overview of what’s to come… It felt like things were going well. I said my usual kind manners and would I ask when I was going to get a call back? He would say that the recruiter would be e-mailing or calling me with results… This would be the beginning of a suspenseful 24 hours. I couldn’t sleep… My mind was anxious with the thought of “When will I hear back? Did I beat out the other candidates?” For RX-7200 to forgive me for being out on a family emergency and then this critical automotive emergency… I didn’t know what to expect. My mind raced… Then I got a call from the recruiting agent: “Zero? I have good news! You were selected for the job! You’ll begin in 2 weeks because we will need to process pre-hire paperwork and once that’s been done… You’ll report to duty on your deploy date.” My heart felt like it was on air! I couldn’t believe my own ears. I profusely thanked the agent and he warned me to be vigilant of my e-mail as my HR e-mail would show up there. I would finally get the information from HR and the deploy date was 2/4/2013.

Never in my life did my bold challenge to the wheel of fate would ever be able to begin fighting my future and Ebon’s. This is one chapter that definitely felt like a whirlwind of change that swept away the dark clouds looming over my mind from how badly burned I was from the cynicism of the world of American healthcare. I have had vibrant parts in my life’s tapestry… and if anyone could see the weaves and details Fate put into this chapter… I’m sure it would be one of the most detailed and bold works she woven in my life.

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