conversations with doctor omnibus {ghost forest edition}

doc: what's new?
LMO: i'm still freelancing. and i'm going to italy tomorrow.
doc: [halfhearted shrug]
LMO: what's new with you?
doc: at my age? nothing. what would be new with me?
LMO: have you read anything good lately?
doc: i don't read.
LMO: surely you read.
doc: what would i read?
LMO: novels, nonfiction?
doc: isn't what i do here nonfiction?
LMO: you've been to italy, i imagine.
doc: never. i have no interest. look this up: N-E-S-K-O-W-I-N. on your smartphone. look it up now.
LMO: [taps at phone] oregon! that's where your daughter lives, right?
doc: i don't know where my daughter lives.
LMO: it's beautiful, this beach.
doc: it's very hard to get to, and there are no people there. that's where i go. there's a ghost forest, two thousand years old, it's coming out of the ocean now.


we released a red-tailed hawk from the bird hospital today—not the gigantic female we had last week, but a male who'd tumbled out of the sky with a terrible scream. raptors are territorial, and this one ended up in our care after losing a turf war. he fell right at someone's feet, R said. i heard her presentation to the donors and birdwatchers who'd assembled in the lobby for the release as i bustled around the isolation ward in a crap-spattered gown; i hadn't planned on heading out to central park myself, but one of the staffers took my gown and place and pushed me out the door after the back of the column. we headed east into the trees just north of where joe and i turn in for shakespeare every summer. a woman stood at the edge of the path with a sharpied FREE HUGS sign, and someone from our group lurched over to embrace her. "thank you," she said. "thank you."

it felt wrong to catch all the way up to R, though i didn't know anyone else; she was practicing her magic at the column's head, pointing out the birds wheeling above us (hawks, so we had to head south) and telling stories about patients. i ended up beside a woman—maybe the one from the hug?—who told me that one of her two cats died a few days ago under anesthesia for a routine dental. "he was two and a half," she said. "it was a mistake to take him in, i made a mistake, but i could tell his teeth were hurting him." i told her she'd done the right thing with the information she'd had, and we kept going south.


the dirty dozen {notes from my hometown police blotter, as reported by the oc register*}

Keep the peace. 9:26 a.m. The caller with the homeowners association reported trying to return items to a resident from a storage pod, but said the resident is refusing to open the door.
Illegal peddling. 8:23 p.m. The caller reported a man soliciting for a teen challenge.
Suspicious person in vehicle. 10:09 p.m. A caller said a person vomited outside a parked black car.
Stolen vehicle. 2:30 p.m. The caller reported her car stolen last night. When asked why she didn’t report it sooner, she said she thought they would return it or come back because she knows who took it.
Citizen assist. 7:35 a.m. A woman said she found a nude photograph of herself posted on her car and she believed her ex-husband placed the picture on there.
Disturbance. 7:38 a.m. The caller said her 16-year-old daughter refused to go to school.
Citizen assist. 12:36 a.m. The caller said his neighbor is yelling at his dogs to stop barking.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 9:48 a.m. The caller reported a purse with a gold emblem on the bus bench.
Disturbance. 2:17 a.m. The caller reported several people fighting in the bike lane area.
Citizen assist. 7:35 p.m. A man said he wanted to report his gardener’s poor work to sheriff’s deputies in case he started tearing out plants in retaliation for being fired.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 5:37 p.m. A caller complained about a woman walking through the neighborhood, filming herself.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 9:38 p.m. The caller said he thinks he’ll be hit by a car.

*previous installment here.