Wednesday, January 3, 2007

tonight's thought train

Tonight at work, somehow I gave one of the new-ish nurses the impression that I am a smoker. I think it might've been that she saw me outside [talking on the phone] when she stepped out after her dinner break. And all of a sudden--we're buddies! After that, she not only treated me better and sat and talked with me for a while, but she asked me twice if I wanted to go outside with her "for fresh air." Why is it that smokers always say that? "I've gotta go outside and get some air." Clearly, going outside to smoke is exactly the opposite of getting fresh air, or it'd be good for you. But I have to say I was thinking about becoming a smoker at work today, because think about it--they get to take more breaks at work. I mean, what a deal! They also get to waste a lot of money and get cancer...but still.

When I finally got out of the ER tonight, I took the insanely long way out of the building. Unfortunately [or fortunately maybe for the whole need to decompress after a long day at work] it is the only way to get to or from the front parking lot between the hours of 9pm and 5am. They shut off the front entrance for some reason--so the night security guards can sleep and watch TV instead of working, I suspect. All I know is, I've gotta take the long way, and when we call them in to the ER to help out with an unruly patient, they are generally reluctant to stay for long...and always complain about being there. [All of them except the one shorter guy with the hearing aides; whenever I'm working all he does is stare at me. One time he walked by the nurse's station where we were all sitting and one of the male nurses said "thanks" to him and he promptly looked straight at me and waved politely, never looking at anyone else. Whatever, the point is he's always in a good mood when I see him.] SO, I took the long route out of the hospital, and being as I don't normally leave at 11ish pm, I'm not used to the routine of that walk...and a few times, like tonight, I get to the last set of doors and pause for a second, expecting them to open for me--but then I realize that I've come to a completely normal, low-tech set of doors that actually requires me to push on the bar and open the door. And it always strikes me as very silly that because I've spent the whole night with doors opening for me with minimal effort (elevator doors automatically, double doors by sensor, ER and other hospital doors by button on the wall) I instinctively expect the same treatment from the last door of the night.

I got out to my car and remembered again that I desperately needed to get gas before I was too far away from the hospital, and was slightly disappointed at the realization that the closest gas station must've closed at 10 or 11 [which I had missed] and I would have to get gas in NY where it consistently costs 9 cents more than in PA; oh well....

As I pull out of my space and drive out of the lot I am reminded by frequent signage that the speed limit in the parking lot and surrounding mini-hospital streets is 11.5mph. Who came up with that, I wonder? Are there some statistics somewhere that say at 11.5mph, a pedestrian being struck by a car would suffer no serious injuries? Why not go with 10mph? Why not 15? Plus, the signs look very silly... "SPEED LIMIT 11.5mph." Who does that? It's kinda fun though--signs that aren't limited by convention.

Sadly the gas station is closed as expected, so I drive past as my gas light comes on. It always makes me nervous, even though Jaymz showed me one day that the gas light means I have several miles left before total automobile shutdown and a long wait by the side of the road for the smirking AAA guy to come and tow me to the gas station. Still, when I see that little yellow icon, I get a little antsy.

When I get a little farther out of town I come to this 3-way stop sign and it suddenly looks different than usual...and a little bit dumb. Instead of the standard red STOP deal, there's one of those plus a smaller scale version of the same thing directly below it on the signpost. Now what's the point of that? It's saying to me "STOP! (No really though, stop.)" and it looks like an inverted octagonal stop-person [snowman style] just waiting for someone to rescue it from its permanent sentry post for the corners of 199 and South Elmer Ave. So naturally I got out of my running car and attempted a cell phone picture of the stop-person, and was embarrassed when someone turned left onto Elmer, so I split.

Next stop: Dandy Minimart (and gas station) in Nichols, NY. Why is the gas 9 cents more expensive? That's just not fair.... I pull in and up to the pump safely and get out with my trusty credit card to fill-er-up with regular. As I'm standing there I start to read the various stickers on the pump station thingie--ya know, for entertainment--and I realize that I have just committed, by inserting my credit card, to pay not only the 9 cents extra for being in NY, but 7 additional cents for doing the whole pay-at-the-pump deal. Now THAT'S very silly. It can't possibly cost the Dandy 7 cents/gallon to offer pay-at-the-pump. The helpful sticker also informs me that I could avoid the extra charge if I use my debit card inside the store, but if I use it at the pump I have to pay the 7 cents. What the fuck. Quite dumb, quite unreasonable.... Whatever, I'm a slave to the oil companies just like everyone else cause I drive a car that runs on the stuff and I'm too lazy to explore my alternatives at this point in my life. Fuck.

The next helpful sticker is even more ridiculous than the first. It reads something like "CAUTION! Turn off cell phones while at this pump. Sparks from electronic devices can cause fires!" Ok, first of all: who has EVER seen a cell phone spark? Secondly, this isn't a true statement. WOW, people are really gullible.

So as I pull out to go home I notice a large black pickup pulled in uncomfortably close to the back of my Sentra, and I am reminded that Candi lives too close to me for comfort and drives just such a ridiculous gas-guzzling truck...and she has, after all, been text-messaging me too much lately. Ugh, I don't want to run into her. [Can't wait to move to Oregon.]

Thinking about that and then thinking: how would I give someone directions to my house from that point if they weren't from around here? I would most definitely have to drive it once myself and write down the numbers of the roads, because I have unfortunately gotten into the habit of describing places with landmarks and very few actual legitimate names for roads. I pass "the West Warren BP" which was maybe a gas station 50 years ago, but doesn't even have a sign or old gas pumps in front of it to identify it as a gas station. Sigh. Next is my favorite Amish house, and next the god-awful-shade-of-blue house [which, if it was painted an acceptable color, I suspect would be called "the blue house" for years to come]. And shortly after that is "Toilet Hill" or "Porcelain Corners," which until a few weeks ago was populated with an impressive assortment of Easter egg-pastel bathroom fixtures (toilets, sinks, AND tubs) and several oil-drum-looking things, like the ones you see people cutting in half the long way and using for barbecue grills. At one point it had a broken down truck, too. I'm sure going to miss that landmark, but I guess I'll still call it the same thing like everyone else, cause that's how things work around here....

When I finally turn onto East St., LeRaysville, I notice again at the corner the large stripey warning signs with the little flashing lights that say "Bridge Out." No one I've asked (and certainly not I) know where this "bridge" is that's so "out," but I'm sure it's a serious I resolve to aim for my garage instead. Smart choice, I decide.

My peppermint shampoo smells cold and sweet, and nothing feels better than taking off my dirty scrubs--nothing except taking off my shoes and apologizing to my toes for another 12 hours of abuse. And alas, I can surrender to the tired that has been trying to get the best of me, and crawl into my bed to take the nap that Jaymz [so smartly] pointed out I needed quite a few hours ago. [I'm just like a kid; I cry when I'm cranky or tired or need to be]

Goodnight stars, goodnight job, goodnight all you crazy people that surface in the ER when there's a full moon. [Goodnight to my favorite twin.] I hope tomorrow actually feels like a new day. =)

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