Friday, June 10, 2011

May 26th - June 10th

I've been trying to write an entry about work for the last couple of weeks. This uninspired amount of time is not due to lack of interesting things to write about, it is more due to the lack of energy my body is capable of having at this point. Yes, Caitlin, complain complain. But something in me needs to write about being so tired to release some of it from my mind, hopefully ending with a refreshed sense of self. At least a little bit.
I feel a sense of accomplishment being able to keep up with my coworkers. At the same time I failed to slow my life down to make up for the energy spent on my job. When I had a job I could call into or no job at all making plans wasn't stressful and going on a walk in the park didn't make me want to curl up and pass out. The company I work for is small, VERY small. Meth (heh, I almost wrote 'math') decontamination is where the money is to be able to hire enough people to manage a bio-hazard team and a meth decon team. For now the bio-hazard work is scarce while the team catches up on the decons. Once the ball gets rolling the job will be more of what I'm interested in. So hard physical labor wasn't really the plan for me. Once I pass a state certification exam to be a "decontamination specialist" my job will be to test houses and work with the health department a little. On top of bio-hazard calls. When things are more established we can start marketing for more of the interesting stuff. haha. So while my body isn't sure how to feel being so unexpectantly worn out the last month and a half I have built up my upper body strength and worked with some pretty chill people.
Meth decontamination can be just as intriguing as bio-hazard work. There is a lot more in these stories than meets the eye. Cleaning up a meth house can feel like cleaning up a suicide when you know the person lost themselves to the drug. The other week we cleaned one room of a house (the ventilation systems were separate so we didn't have to clean the whole house, it is rare to clean only one room) and the story that we had heard was tragic. When we learned about the job the boss told us that this room belonged to a young man who had gotten PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from being involved with the war in Iraq. When returning to the U.S. he locked himself in his room and smoked meth. This all resulted in an even more tragic event when he had an episode and mistook some people for terrorists. We had to clean EVERYTHING in his room. Every drawer, box and corner had to be decontaminated. The family was home as we were cleaning, but he was not living there anymore. Without asking we don't really know much more about the person. As we dig through countless bins of nicknacks wiping them down with our cleaning solution we begin to piece together a possible idea of what the owner of this bedroom was like. Was he a kind person before the war? Was he intelligent? Was he mean or cruel? He collected rocks, had nice fish tanks, awards from the military, and a clean taste in style. When you spend 8 hours going through a strangers personal belongings you can't help but wonder what the story is. One of the saddest parts about decontaminating meth houses would have to be the traces of children's toys lying around. Barbies in the bath tub, high chairs, crayon on the wall, you can almost here the pitter patter of feet running through the halls. An empty house with nothing but left over children's toys is one of the most depressing things I have seen. It is a harsh reality that there are kids being raised by irresponsible parents. Being a photographer I wonder if these images bother me so much because I imagine them in a frame without the whole environment. Just focusing on toys in the broken bathtub of a meth house would make for some good emo artsy stuff.
Anyway, maybe I am just tired, maybe I am depressed, but hopefully I can start keeping up on my writing project more. Also, I plan to ask my boss about the possibility of taking my camera to some jobs and photograph random elements and document the career. You know, for education purposes or something. For all the people curious about what being a crime scene cleaner is like.  As long as I leave out any information about who, what, when, where and why I'm sure it would be ok. *crosses fingers* Hopefully that will be something to look forward to in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. <3 keep up the good work, love. I can't imagine having to do that day to day and still having the energy at night to keep up with other projects and social circles. Know that I love you and you're always in my thoughts. If you ever need anything or need someone to just come over and watch a movie with, I can definitely be your girl. Anyways, that would be interesting to see - photography view of meth labs. I hope that works out for you. Meow.