ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the May 3, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] redsixwing. It also fills the "public places" square in my 5-1-16 card for the Solo Celebration Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Cassandra thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.  It has also inspired the story "For Every Action..." by [personal profile] siliconshaman.

"Rise Above the Earth"

Cassandra enjoyed going out
for walks with Groundhog. She
liked the company, and he liked
having someone along in case
anything went wrong. So they got
to see a lot of the neighborhood.

At least once a week, they caught a bus
to Cloverleaf Park, which had started as
a nice local park and then a dispute
between developers had ended with
ceding a bunch of land to the city.

Rangers had planted the new area
with native species as a wildlife reserve,
which people could observe from
one loop of the cloverleaf path.

Today Cassandra and Groundhog
took advantage of the sunny day
to walk to the nearest bus stop,
which was no small hike from
the Skylark Apartment Building.

As they rode, she paid attention
to the city scrolling by, so that she
could learn where things were.

The bus stop in the parking lot for
the park had a large bookcase which
often held boxed games or puzzles
in addition to books on city life.

Nearby, a taco truck had parked
along one edge, and Cassandra
could smell the smaller food carts
that set up along the paths.

Cassandra and Groundhog walked
up the 'stem' of the cloverleaf and
past the bathroom building with
the first aid station in the lobby.

The landscaping there provided
enough cover for him to feel safe
under the tall, leafy trees.

They stopped for a drink at
the water fountain where the stem
joined the four loops, a concrete shape
with a tall bubbler, a shorter one on an arm,
and a pet fountain on the ground below.

The park was in fact laid out
in a cloverleaf, with the path to
the parking lot forming the stem.

Each leaf had a different level of
challenge, from perfectly smooth
through gentle and moderate slopes
to one rugged with stairs and rocks
for people to climb along the way,
with landscaping in the center of
the loops and around the edges.

At the outside of each loop was
a piece of skateable sculpture, and
the sidewalks were wide enough for
people to skate or bike past each other
or walk around children playing games
in the painted areas or drawing with chalk.

Cassandra and Groundhog walked
the easy loop first, which had a flat ramp
on its outside curve. Groundhog climbed
up the slope and then back down.

The clatter of wheels and
a polite "On your left!" alerted them
to a skateboarder approaching from behind

They dropped into single file to give her
more room to pass them, then moved
back to their former positions.

Next Cassandra and Groundhog
did the loop with gentle slopes,
which had a quarter-pipe ramp
whose top served as a bench.

There were also granite benches
bracketing the wide paths, but
Cassandra liked the top of
the quarter pipe because
sitting there gave Groundhog
something to aim for.

Each notch between the loops
held a small pavilion that
sheltered a picnic table.

Passing by, Groundhog and
Cassandra could see families
clustered around the pavilions.
In one case, fragrant smoke
wafted from a barbecue grill.

"Novice biker, coming through!"
someone called, and they both
stepped to the side to clear the way.

A kindergartener trundled past on
a bicycle with training wheels, while
her older brother circled her on skates.
He gave them a thumbs-up as he passed.

As they approached the center
of the cloverleaf again, a toddler
scribbling on the sidewalk waved
a piece of chalk at Cassandra
and chirped, "Now you try!"

"Okay," said Cassandra, and wrote
Be open to the gifts of the universe.
Then she passed the chalk to Groundhog.

"Oh, it's my turn now?" he said with a smile.
Then he wrote, I live my mission.

The center of the cloverleaf
featured a large pit of sand
with a climbing dome in it.

"Do you feel like scaling
the dome?" Cassandra asked.

She was learning what Groundhog
could and couldn't do, what he could do
if he stretched himself a bit, and what kind
of support helped him stretch farther.

Asking without pushing helped.

"Yes, I do," Groundhog said.
For a while, he just sat on one of
the low wide ropes, dangling his feet
above the soft white sand.

Then he climbed up a rope ladder
and made his way to a chair, where
he rested for a few minutes.

Cassandra sat on the rigging nearby
and gently but firmly shooed away
any children who got too close.

"I think I can touch the top,"
Groundhog said, looking up at
the place where the six legs of
the dome came together.

"Go for it," Cassandra said.
He hadn't made it yet, but
she believed in him. He'd
get there eventually.

Groundhog crept along
the horizontal cargo net
that kept anyone from falling.

Cassandra followed him,
then stood up carefully
to give him something
to hold onto as he rose.

Groundhog shook as he
clung to her, but he managed
to touch the hub overhead
before flopping facedown
onto the cargo net.

"That was fun," he said.
"Scary, but fun."

"Yeah," said Cassandra,
lying down beside them.

The net shook a little from
the kids playing around them,
but nobody got too close.

"I think I could get used to this,
someday," said Groundhog.

"If I close my eyes, it almost
feels like flying," Cassandra said.

"I know you miss it," he said.

Her throat knotted in grief.
"I always do," she said.
"I want my Flight back."

"Aidan wouldn't have told you
that it might regrow if there wasn't
some hope," Groundhog said.

"I know," said Cassandra.
"I'm trying to believe it."

"You'll get there," he said.

"I hope so," she said.
"I really need to."

"Why?" Groundhog wondered.

"Man must rise above the Earth --
to the top of the atmosphere and beyond --
for only thus will he fully understand the world
in which he lives," she quoted softly.

"That's beautiful," he said.

"It's Socrates," said Cassandra.
"He's more beautiful than
most people realize."

Carefully Groundhog made
his way back to the sand.
"Let's walk some more,"
he said, holding out a hand.

Cassandra joined him, and they
strolled over the colorful shapes of
the playground games painted
on the sidewalk around
the climbing dome.

There were nature prints,
a target, several types of
hopscotch, and a maze.

Cassandra favored the sunflower,
although several boys were arguing
over whether the skyscraper or the robot
was the best of the hopscotch boards.

Next Cassandra and Groundhog
headed down the moderate loop.
Part of it included two levels,
joined by a pyramid ramp.

Groundhog scrambled up it
on all fours, then turned
and grinned at Cassandra.

"You're really on a roll,"
she said as she followed him.

"I feel lucky today," he said.

They paused in the notch
between the two far loops
to drink from a water fountain
that included a place to fill bottles.

Cassandra liked the fact that
the fountains had different extras.

When they came back to the center,
they found several girls playing
a game with the target.

"Would you like a turn?"
one of the girls asked.

"Sure," Cassandra said, as she
accepted the square rubber puck.
Her toss landed in the 8-point ring.

Groundhog's landed in the exact center.

"Wow," the girls said, and
even Cassandra stared at him.

"I, ah, need to have good aim
just in case things get hairy
at work," Groundhog explained.

After that, they headed into
the last loop, whose rugged path
included rocks and stairs to climb.

They were doing fine until Groundhog
stepped on his shoelace going down
the stairs and tripped himself --

only to hang, suspended in midair --

almost as if lying on the air
for several seconds before
whatever it was cut out and

he landed flat on the sidewalk
at the base of the staircase.

"Oh my god," Cassandra said.

"Well, I guess my luck ran out,"
Groundhog said with a groan.

"No," Cassandra said faintly,
"it didn't. You just flew."

"I just faceplanted into
the pavement," he snapped.
"Don't make fun of me!"

"I'm not," she insisted,
kneeling beside him
to make sure he wasn't
badly injured. "You had,
I don't know, maybe three or
four seconds of hang time."

"I flew?" Groundhog whispered.

"Yes, you did," Cassandra said.
"At least, you hovered a bit."

"I flew," he said, finally
looking up at her. "Holy shit!"

Now that he wasn't hugging
the sidewalk anymore, she could
see the smudge of blood on his chin.

"You've scraped your face,"
Cassandra pointed out.

"Yeah, my hands too, and
my elbows a bit," he said.

"What about your knees?" she asked.

"I think they're okay," he said,
shifting his position carefully
to take stock of the injuries.
"I can feel and move everything,
so this is just a minor tumble."

"Let's stop by the first aid station
on our way out," Cassandra said.
"I think we're done for the day.
We'll get you patched up and --"

"Protocol," Groundhog said abruptly.

"What?" she asked, frowning.

"I have a Flight protocol,"
he said as he sat up and
dusted himself off.

"Oh, right," Cassandra said.

"It's in my phone, the emergency tabs,
I'm supposed to follow it if I ever
make it off the ground," he said.

"Okay, well, I'll start on
that while we walk back to
the first aid station," she said.
"Highliner would want us
to take care of injuries first."

Cassandra got Groundhog
moving in the right direction,
although he clung to her for
support that had nothing to do
with the state of his body.

She kept an arm over his shoulders
because that helped him feel
more grounded.

She'd read the instructions
after Groundhog entrusted her
with his mental quirks and she had
expressed interest in helping him
keep his head on straight.

First Cassandra called the number
that Highliner had given her for
the electric company dispatcher,
in case something happened
while he was at work.

"This is Cassandra Vogler
calling for Highliner," she said.
"Please connect us."

"He's on a call," came the reply.

"Emergency routing, please,"
she told the dispatcher. "I need
to speak with Highliner about
his soup protégé, right now."

That cleared the blockade right up,
and soon Highliner answered.
"Cassandra? What's going on?"

"Groundhog just flew, he tripped and
hovered in midair for several seconds
before splatting on the sidewalk," she said.
"He's scuffed up a bit, so I'm walking him to
the first aid station before we come home."

"Get first aid, then call for a teleport,"
Highliner instructed. "I'll clock out here
and meet you at home shortly."

"Got it," Cassandra said, and hung up.

The first aid station was a soothing little roomlet
attached to the lobby of the bathroom building.
In addition to the nurse's chair, it held two chairs
for patients plus a cot that could be folded out.
Instead of a box kit, drawers and open shelves
lined the walls, displaying tools and supplies.

As they entered, the nurse looked up
from her desk and said, "Hi, I'm Sonrisa.
What happened and how can I help?"

Groundhog introduced both of them
and then said, "I fell down the steps.
It's nothing serious, I'd just like
to get the scrapes cleaned."

"I can do that," Sonrisa said, as she
moved to the sink to wash her hands.
"Any complaints about the equipment?"
"Loose pavers, missing rails?"

"No, nothing like that. It wasn't
the park's fault," Groundhog said.
"I tripped over my own stupid shoelace."

Sonrisa chuckled. "It happens to the best of us,"
she said, running her hands under the dryer.
"I tend to wear slip-ons, occasionally sandals
with velcro or buckled straps, because I can't
afford loose shoelaces in my line of work."

"I like laces on my walking shoes
because they fit better," Groundhog said,
waggling one foot in its blue-and-gray shoe.

"Do you have any injuries under
your clothes?" Sonrisa asked.

"No, what you see is what
you get," Groundhog replied.

"Okay, now that I've washed, let me
just glove up and I'll take care of you,"
Sonrisa said. "Check my disinfectants
to see what you want, I've got Dermoplast or --"

"I'll take the gentian violet," Groundhog said.
"Hardly anyone has it, and that's what
seems to work best. The usual ones
can be ... kind of iffy for me."

"I can use that on your hands and arms,
but there's enough grit in the chin scrape
that I need a stream for that, not a spray or
a dab," Sonrisa said. "How do you feel about
Jackson & Jason's Ouchless Wound Rinse?"

"Fine if you put on some antibiotic
afterwards," Groundhog said. "I'm not
allergic to synthetic antiseptics, they
just don't seem to work that well on me,
and I don't know why. Antibiotics work."

No wonder Groundhog was
so fond of Aidan's herbal remedies.

Cassandra was learning that soups
often had different reactions to things
than naries did, and gentian -- which
was mediocre for naries -- worked
considerably better for soups.

"You scraped your chin," Sonrisa said
to Groundhog as she started cleaning it.
"How hard did you hit your head?"

"He only fell two or three feet,
so not too hard," Cassandra said.

"Okay, that's good to know," Sonrisa said,
then turned back to Groundhog. "Do you --"

"Today is Monday, I'm at Cloverleaf Park,
and I live in the Skylark Apartment Building,"
Groundhog said all in one breath.

"It sounds like you don't have
a head injury," Sonrisa said.

"Sorry, that was rude," Groundhog said.
"I shouldn't have stepped on your spiel
like that. I'm trying to be good."

"Don't worry about it," Sonrisa said.
"Hmm ... you don't seem quite like
the doctor type. Male nurse?"

"Dispatcher," he admitted.

"Close enough for grabs,"
Sonrisa said. "I don't mind
discussing best practice or
patient preference. As long as
you're not arguing with me or
calling me nasty names, it's fine."

"Deal," Groundhog said.

Cassandra watched Sonrisa
cleaning the scrape. It wasn't
all that often she got a chance
to observe someone trained in
first aid who wasn't working on her.

Sonrisa measured the size of
the graze against her palm and
then her fingertips. "It looks like
you've lost between one and two
square inches of skin," she said.
"It's not deep, but it is on your face.
Do you want to take this to a clinic?"

"Nah, it's fine," said Groundhog.
"If it scars a bit, it won't be my first."

"I'm not sure bandaids or InstaSkin
will work very well on a surface
this complex," Sonrisa said.

"Do you have hydrogels?"
Groundhog asked, looking up.

"Oh yes, those are the favorite
for road rash, and people are
always ditching their bikes or
skates here," Sonrisa said. "I
have sheets, rolls, and patches."

"There's a trick for covering
convex body parts," Groundhog said.
"Cut out little notches and then bend
the edges together to make a cup."

"That's a great idea," Sonrisa said.
"I just finished my LPN training
not long ago, so I've only worked
here for a little while. I'm still
learning the tricks of the trade."

Carefully Sonrisa trimmed
the hydrogel patch and fitted it
over Groundhog's chin, then
covered the edges with sealer.

It was useful stuff, Cassandra realized,
and made a mental note to look it up
later and see if she wanted some.
She liked biking and climbing, so
anything that good for nasty scrapes
was likely to come in handy.

"Hands next, then arms,"
Sonrisa said, beckoning to
Groundhog, who held out
his hands for her.

Sonrisa cleaned the scrapes with
gentian from palms to elbows.

"Guess I didn't realize how much
I scraped myself," Groundhog said.

"'It can take a little while to color in,"
Sonrisa said. "Now, I can spread
first aid cream everywhere, let that
soak in, then spray over most of these
with InstaSkin and they will be fine.
The deeper abrasions on your elbows
would benefit from bandaids, though."

"Okay," Groundhog said.

The InstaSkin went on glossy and
made him hiss at the cold, but it
dried to a barely-visible matte film.

"Pick your pleasure," Sonrisa said,
tapping the tacklebox where she
stored her bandage supplies.
"I've got skin tones, clear ones,
assorted cartoons, or EFAids."

"EFAids," Groundhog said.

Sonrisa pulled out a drawer
and popped it open to show
colorful bandaids sorted into
the divided compartments.

Groundhog selected
a tiger-striped one that
said Courage and then
a peacock-printed one
that said Confidence.

Cassandra had never seen
anything like them, and already
she wanted some of her own.

"There you go," Sonrisa said
after she applied them. "Is
there anything else that needs
attention, or is this all of it?"

"That's all," Groundhog said.
"Thank you for your help."

"Are you willing to do the paperwork?"
she asked. "Your part of it is optional,
but it tells the park I'm doing my job."

"Sure," he said with a smile.

Sonrisa peeled off her gloves
and washed her hands again,
then brought out a tablet computer.

The top part of the form described
the injuries, while the bottom part
covered the environmental context.

"Name or number?" she asked
as she used a stylus to mark
in red the location of the injuries
on the little body map.

Groundhog gave her his name,
and helped fill in the details.

"Hmm ... I'm seeing a history of
falls here. I try to keep an eye out
for patterns of injury in park regulars,"
Sonrisa said. "Is there something more
than minor scrapes and bruises going on?"

Groundhog sighed. "I have an ongoing issue
with open spaces and heights, which I am
working on by exploring open spaces and
heights," he said. "Most of the time I'm fine,
but if I push myself too far, I tend to go splat."

"He has support for it, and a protocol
that we're following," Cassandra added.
"Soon as you clear him, I'm taking him home,
and we've got someone meeting us there."

"Okay, all I really need to know is that it's
taken care of," Sonrisa said. "May I add a note
to the accident form? I don't need details, just
that you're using a support plan for a known issue."

"Go ahead," Groundhog said. "Maybe say
something like, 'pushed therapeutic exercise
too far, followup protocols in action' on it."

"Done," Sonrisa said, then turned
the tablet back toward him.

For patient satisfaction, he
filled in the happiest face.
Then he signed the form.

"Thank you," Sonrisa said.
"Please come again, and I hope
that your next visit to Cloverleaf Park
ends on a happier note."

After that, Cassandra headed
toward the parking lot, but Groundhog
caught her elbow and said, "Wait here.
I'll call for a teleport and we can use
the dottie for privacy and protection."

"Really?" Cassandra said. "Is that
safe? If we teleport out, how will
anyone get the door unlocked?"

"It's safe in a family-size dottie like
this one," Groundhog said. "Believe me,
I've used it before. Some of them even
have a compass rose with GPS beacon.
It's a value-added option, and I think there's
actually a bill in DC to require it for this size."

"Wow, why?" said Cassandra.

"Teleporters benefit from safe landing places,
but there aren't enough of them to make
it practical to have dedicated landings
in most places," Groundhog explained.
"A closed room is good, and a dottie
is better than a closet. SPOON and
Dottie's Potties are both volunteering
to help with the costs, but some folks
still hate the idea. So far it's just on
the list of stuff Dottie's will fund."

Groundhog called in his need
for a teleporter, and got
a five-minute estimate
of arrival time.

He led Cassandra into
the dottie, and she was
grateful that they had
a safe place to handle
a minor crisis, even if
the use they needed it
for wasn't the usual.

Tumbler popped in,
the sound of her transit
louder in the closed space.

"Playground crash?" she said,
giving Groundhog a sympathetic look.

"Literally," he said. "Tumbler ...
Cassandra says that I flew."

"Wow! Congratulations,"
Tumbler said. "Can I touch?"

"Okay," Groundhog said.

Tumbler spread a gentle hand
over his chest, paused for a moment,
then said, "I don't feel anything different.
It's safe for me to carry you. Cassandra,
get him between us, please."

"Got him," Cassandra said, wrapping
herself around Groundhog's back
while he pressed against Tumbler.

The teleporter gripped them both, then
popped into Groundhog's apartment,
landing neatly on the compass rose rug.

Groundhog was shaking as they
lowered him gently onto the couch.

"Can you take care of him from here, so
I can go unlock the dottie?" Tumbler asked.

"Yes, I've got this," Cassandra said,
sitting down beside Groundhog.

Tumbler popped out.

Cassandra pulled the afghan
over Groundhog and settled in
to wait for Highliner to arrive.

* * *


Cassandra Vogler -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and long brown hair habitually worn in braids. Parts of her hair tend to bleach out to a more golden tone. Cassandra is an only child, with no cousins or even close friends her age. Tall for a girl, she tends to hunch down in attempt to hide her true stature. She is gawky and awkward in her body.
Having just turned 18, Cassandra demands that people treat her as an adult woman and quickly becomes belligerent if she feels that people are treating her like a child -- because to her, being a child is associated with people being free to hurt her. Now that she's an adult, she wants to learn how to defend herself. She dislikes coffee, but insists that it's an acquired taste and she's determined to acquire it.
Her family belongs to the Evangelical Methodist Church. When Cassandra's superpower manifested, her parents first put her into suppression therapy, which spurred several unsuccessful attempts to run away. Later they found a clipper to remove her Flight ability. That loss has left Cassandra with chronic pain, and a deeply conflicted identity crisis over whether she is still "really" a soup with her power crippled. She is more at risk for lashing out than for regressive types of teen rebellion.
Origin: Her superpower emerged at puberty. Her parents immediately started trying to make it go away.
Uniform: Street clothes.
Qualities: Good (+2) Artist, Good (+2) Birdwatching, Good (+2) Bookworm, Good (+2) Endurance, Good (+2) Helpful
Poor (-2) Hostility Issues
Powers: Formerly Average (0) Flight
Motivation: Figure out adulthood.

Groundhog (Eunan Campbell) -- He has strawberry blond hair, green eyes, and pale skin with freckles. His weak lungs mean that he can't handle altitude changes well, and tends to catch every cold or chest bug that goes around. He works at the Onion City SPOON base as a dispatcher. He wants to support other soups so that bad things don't happen to them like what happened to him. He's one of the few people who is compassionate toward supervillains, because he understands how traumatic superpowers can be and how they can mess up someone's life. His parents Jordan and Margaret run a plant nursery.
Origin: When his superpower first manifested during his infancy, he disappeared into the sky, and before he was rescued he got so high up that it damaged his lungs. His parents were frantic, and after that, overprotective. Left with vulnerable breathing and a timid nature, he stopped using his power.
Uniform: Navy blue shirt and pants with the SPOON logo embroidered in silver on the chest pocket.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Dispatcher, Expert (+4) Soup Contacts, Expert (+4) Sympathetic, Good (+2) Classic Literature, Good (+2) Courage, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Green Thumb, Good (+2) Sewing
Poor (-2) Weak Lungs
Powers: Good (+2) Flight
Limitation: He is acrophobic and agoraphobic, so he never uses his power. It still works, in theory; he's just too afraid of it to activate it.
Motivation: Support people with superpowers.

Sonrisa Roh -- She has tinted skin, brown eyes, and short straight brown hair. She has an oval face with a wide nose and thin coral lips. Her heritage includes Hispanic, Asian, and African-American. Sonrisa has five daughters aged 6, 4 (twins), 2, and six months. She and her husband Rakeem are trying avidly for a boy. She works part-time at the first aid station in Cloverleaf Park in Onion City, not far from the Skylark Apartment Building. This lets her spend plenty of time with her young family.
Origin: Sonrisa gained Super-Immunity from the Aegis vaccine base. However, she is a maui and has no idea that her disease resistance extends beyond the ordinary.
Uniform: On duty, a sky-blue nurse's uniform. Off duty, Sonrisa loves brightly colored and distinctive clothes, often mixing things from Hispanic, Asian, and/or American fashions. She looks surprisingly good in a kimono top and jeans.
Good (+2) Cheerful, Good (+2) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Kintsugi, Good (+2) Licensed Practical Nurse, Good (+2) Mother
Poor (-2) Mosquito Magnet
Powers: Average (0) Super-Immunity
Motivation: To fix what's broken.

* * *

Man must rise above the Earth — to the top of the atmosphere and beyond — for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.

Cloverleaf Park in Onion City has a squarish shape with a walking path consisting of four loops, and a stem leading to the parking lot. Each of the loops has a different level of physical activity. One is completely smooth with a flat ramp at the outside, one has gentle slopes with a quarter-pipe at the outside, one has moderate slopes with a pyramid incorporated along its route, and one is more rugged with several stairs, ramps, stepping stones, and other challenges along the way. An irregular-shaped wilderness refuge has been added adjacent to the lower right.

The park layout looks similar to this, omitting the yellow and orange lines. The parking lot with bathrooms and first aid station lies at the top of the gray stem. Landscaping surrounds most of the outer edges and inside the loops. The first loop to the left of the gray stem is the easiest with a flat grade. The second loop to the right of the gray stem has the gentle slope. The third loop on the bottom left has the moderate slope. The fourth loop on the bottom right is rugged and borders the green area, which marks a wilderness reserve; its double arc includes a smooth outer path for people with disabilities. Each loop is about one-quarter mile long.

The bus stop includes a large bookcase. Often people leave books about city life, urban nature, game rules, or actual games. Not visible from this angle is the row of four more seats on the far side.

The first aid station is part of the lobby for the bathrooms, which are attached on the left. In T-America, many parks larger than pocket size have a first aid station which is staffed during peak hours. It's a good job for people with lower-level health qualifications, although smaller parks may have only volunteer staff while larger ones may hire a registered nurse.

This is a typical bathroom module for parks and other public places. It has separate facilities for women and men, plus a large dottie for families, transfolk, and people with disabilities. This shows how a dottie can improve flow while saving space, because it allows the W/M sections to be more concise, and it's big enough to allow for an adult-size changing table. Not marked on the map, the wash-up area outside has a showerhead and a hose spigot on each of its side walls, a drinking bubbler atop each sink's faucet, and the floor is a grill for drainage. The availability of showers encourages people to play vigorously without worrying so much about getting dirty, and it also helps homeless or visiting people stay clean.

Food trucks often park in the parking lot. Smaller carts may locate along the stem or inside the park, usually at the notches between loops. Here is a pretzel cart and a cotton candy cart.

There is a drinking fountain where the stem joins the four loops of the cloverleaf. It has a tall station, a shorter one for children and wheelchair users, and a ground station for pets or assistance animals.

Wide sidewalks and interactive features like skateable sculptures or playable sculptures encourage people to pay attention and share the space peacefully. Those higher levels of situational awareness and courtesy help Terramagne-America avoid the kind of arguments that have led to Local-America banning things like skating in public or drawing on sidewalks with washable chalk. Skating is not a crime, and neither is skateable art. While paths need to be well maintained and accessible, requiring ALL paths to be accessible to everyone limits physically fit people to facilities suited to disabled people, thus impairing their ability to work out at a higher challenge level. A better design provides a range of smooth to rugged paths. Some places remove the distinction between streets and sidewalks altogether, but shared-use trails for nonmotorized traffic are more common.

The fourth loop has a rugged inner path plus a smooth outer path for people with disabilities. The more athletic users of manual wheelchairs often prefer the rugged path, while less athletic ones or electric wheelchairs use the outer path. There are a few electrics such as the Rippin' Centipede designed to handle rough ground. While the rugged ramps are steeper than ADA regulations allow, they are perfectly navigable in any sporty model of wheelchair, and some can even handle rocks or other off-road terrain. "Accessible" can be a flexible concept. Also, note the style of placing stairs between ramps with several handrails: that's a common T-American design, although the slopes are usually shallower. See that extra-long step in the middle? To match stairs with a shallower ramp for ADA standards, you just use more of those stretcher treads.

The center of the cloverleaf holds a climbing dome in a large sandpit.

Painted playground games can encourage greater physical activity. These include such options as nature tracks, targets, hopscotch (here offered in flower, skyscraper, and robot styles), and tesselation maze.

Each notch between the loops, and on both sides of the stem, has a pavilion with a picnic table and a barbecue grill. You can't see the grill in this picture as it is behind one leg of the pavilion.

The pavilion between the two farthest loops has a drinking fountain with a bottle filling station.

Granite benches alongside the trails provide extra seating, and are also skateable. Gaps between the benches provide ideal space for chalk and other sidewalk games without obstructing central traffic flow. In this view of the second loop with gentle slopes, you can see areas in the upper right where paved banks create more interesting areas for adventurous travelers. The wide center area remains relatively easy to traverse.

Sidewalks offer many benefits including lots of free or cheap activities. Sidewalk chalk, which can be used for many games and other activities, is often available at T-American parks. You can buy it by the bucket or make your own. For more artistic pursuits, consider a box of sidewalk art chalk, which is still really cheap.

Positive affirmations come in different types and help make your self-talk more constructive. Learn how to use affirmations effectively.

Hopscotch is played with a marker which may be called a puck, taw, stone, etc. You can buy round rubber ones, but a drawback of this style is that anything round can roll. A square version is better.

CrapChat is a T-American program for managing disabilities. The name comes not from low quality -- it's actually a brilliant program -- but from the fact that people tend to say "Oh, crap!" when things start to go wrong. Therefore the icon for activating it is a little cloud that reads Oh, Crap! The program is highly customizable, but if you pay for it, then you get access to stock content for over a hundred different conditions plus user-submitted material for solving specific challenges. The main screen includes introductory instructions so you can hand the phone to a stranger in case of emergency. Different options will take them to a summary of your problem, a list of step-by-step instructions for helping you, and a chat function in case you can text but not talk. The contact option can dial your emergency contact(s) automatically, or take someone to a list of your emergency numbers with instructions on when and how to reach each of them. CrapChat was invented by a supervillain gizmologist, so its default chat client connects with BlackSheep, but it can be set to others. It has since spread outside its original supervillain circle and is becoming very popular with people whose disabilities make public space difficult. A less fancy but already very promising version in local-America is Emergency Chat.

A single-pass hand dryer is useful at a first aid station.

Walking shoes are comfortable, light, and supportive. Groundhog has the blue-and-gray version.

Scrapes are easy to treat unless very large or deep, or on delicate areas like the face. Dermoplast is a spray with anaesthetic and antiseptic ingredients. Gentian violet is a much older herbal antiseptic. Jackson & Jason's Ouchless Wound Rinse is a T-American product with anaesthetic and antiseptic ingredients, similar to the L-American Band-Aid Hurt-Free Antiseptic Wash, usually sold in spray or squirt bottles. Similarly, first aid cream comes in synthetic and herbal versions.

Abrasions are similar to burns with regard to compromising the skin. Burn severity is based in part on location and size. The rule of nines is helpful. With injuries on the face, it is advisable to consider whether or not to seek expert care.

Bandages are easily organized in a tacklebox with adjustable trays. In L-America it can be difficult to find skin-tone bandages, and they only come in a few shades. The typical T-American set has pale, light, medium, dark, and deep tones. Other options include clear or cartoon bandaids. EFAids have motivational messages printed on them, similar to these temporary tattoos.

Hydrogel is a more advanced material for protecting wounds, especially apt for road rash or other messy abrasions. It comes in sheets, rolls, patches, and bandaids. Trimming for contours is familiar in sewing, but also very useful for fitting hydrogels over complex body surfaces.

Liquid bandage is available as a paint-on or spray-on product. While it does not provide as much protection as a gauze bandage, it is more convenient for very bendy or bumpy parts of the body, and the spray works well for large shallow scrapes.

First aid forms help document the usefulness of a first aid station and the kind of injuries happening at a given location. This one has simple boxes to fill in, and some have a body shape to show where the injuries are. A five-point smiley bar is an easy way to gather customer feedback.

People with any kind of chronic condition, physical or mental, may benefit from a WRAP workbook to manage flare-ups. For less complexity, a self-care worksheet may suffice. Groundhog has his Flight protocols programmed into his smartphone.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-28 05:08 am (UTC)
thnidu: blank white robot/avatar sitting on big red question mark. tinyurl.com/cgkcqcj via Google Images (question mark)
From: [personal profile] thnidu

"Rule of Nines"? The only nines I see on that page are in this; nothing about what they mean or what to do with them.
Edited Date: 2016-12-28 05:09 am (UTC)

sorry nursing student!

Date: 2016-12-28 07:10 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
the rule of nines was developed as a percentage guideline for skin loss such as what happens with road rash and second degree burns or higher...it divides the body into areas so you can estimate the severity of damage done and potential risks for infection and fluid loss. The body has eleven regions equaling nine percent of the skin's surface area front and back of body with the genitals accounting for the final one percent for a total of 100.

Re: sorry nursing student!

Date: 2016-12-28 08:49 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Ah. And what about "maui"?

«Origin: Sonrisa gained Super-Immunity from the Aegis vaccine base. However, she is a maui and has no idea that her disease resistance extends beyond the ordinary.»

I know this only as the name of one of the Hawaiian islands.

Re: sorry nursing student!

Date: 2016-12-28 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
a maui is a person who develops a superpower but is unaware that they have done so, and so believes that they are a normal unpowered individual. Due to the nature of their powers, they are unable to feel any changes to their physiology and do not flicker in a typical manner. As I understand it, this often happens with powers like super immunity, because the presentation of that superpower is just that the person cannot get sick.

Re: sorry nursing student!

Date: 2016-12-28 07:05 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Thank you. My lady hostess, would you please add some such note to your notes? TIA


Date: 2016-12-28 06:56 am (UTC)
curiosity: The sky turning yellow and orange and sunlight spilling over the ocean as the sun rises. (Picto: Ocean Sunrise)
From: [personal profile] curiosity
Groundhog flew!

Re: !!!

Date: 2016-12-28 06:58 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
And the ratio! n / 0 = ∞ !!

(Maybe even infinity factorial factorial ?! ;-) )

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-28 07:04 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-29 02:16 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
I give you fair warning.. I got bit by a plot bunny reading this. Busy writing right now... will post when it's done!

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-12-29 03:56 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Well, not that I'm getting paid, but feel free to steal anything, or anyone, you want from it and spin that into a dime or two!

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-29 03:16 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
This is AWESOME for Groundhog. Good for Cassandra, too.

But I have to admit... what really grabbed me was the park. In one of those synchrononous moments that my reading of Ysabet's writing seems to love to do, I was just today in a really good park and contemplating how quite a lot of it would fit in T-America (only it would be even better...). And then I read this and thought, "Oh. Wow." :)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2016-12-29 04:23 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I described the experience to someone as 'almost fell through one of the portals in my brain, one of the fanfiction ones.' :D

Loved this

Date: 2016-12-29 06:59 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I'm still reacting to the tiny, tiny flight of Groundhog's--and diving into the links and details about public spaces around the Skylark Apartments.

Are you implying that all of these are 'standard,' and would most likely be found in Florida, California, or Maine, too? Budget and temperature constraints might change the bathroom layouts, and Dottie's Potties are being put in beside the older (L-American) park bathrooms.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-20 03:40 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] caera_ash
This was comforting to read. Your work is always good for making me less depressed and angry at the world. Thanks for sharing your creations with the world.

ramps and stairs

Date: 2017-05-10 09:51 pm (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
>> Also, note the style of placing stairs between ramps with several handrails: that's a common T-American design, although the slopes are usually shallower. See that extra-long step in the middle? To match stairs with a shallower ramp for ADA standards, you just use more of those stretcher treads.<<

I rather like the way they set things up at the Hollywood Transit center here in Portland.

The ramp starts next to the start of the stair but immediately makes a right turn. So you have a series of long, shallow switchbacks and the end of the last one comes out next to the top of the stairs.

Not ideal if you've got someone in a chair and someone who is using the stairs, but still nice, even if it uses a fair bit of space.

Ah! Found an overhead view on google maps!
Edited (fixed typo) Date: 2017-05-10 09:52 pm (UTC)

Re: ramps and stairs

Date: 2017-05-11 08:50 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
Well there wasn't any kind of slope there. They had the stair/ramp combo because they had to go up from ground level to a pedestrian overpass over the freeway and rail lines. The "near" end has an elevator down to the MAX (light rail) stop.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-10 06:01 pm (UTC)
pantha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pantha
Oh, my! Wow! He FLEW!

(And Cassandra did so well with him - both with the aftercare, but also with how skillfully she stretched and supported him prior to that. <3)


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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