Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hell, Heaven, & Hospital: Give Me Nothing In-Between

Hospitals carry both the heaven and hell we make for ourselves. As I sit in the Fairview Urgent Care clinic as my mother gets her foot examined reading ESPN the magazine of how Robert Griffin III’s grandfather suddenly died at the age of 43 from a brain aneurysm, it strikes me that I was ready to go awhile ago, but somewhere along the way found a purpose to pave a better future than what has passed. I remember it clearly: I was touring with The Blend, in some town, headed to some after party, speeding down some stretch of highway… drunk. I sat on the passenger benches with the rest of the band either sprawled on the floor or bunked in an advanced yoga position. As our short bus sped against the country road I stood up on the bus in a fit of laughter (most likely due to a joke Spencer had told or something Linden said)… and as we all laughed, drunkenly pumping our diaphragms swimming in comical hysteria, I looked out the window. You could see the moon bright as hell, the night black as beauty- I thought to myself "it is here- right here I could die a happy man."

Now, back at Urgent Care the purpose I couldn’t see then lies before me. A man has just burst through the hospital doors speaking to himself. Moaning, mumbling, slurring speech like whips of aimless paint throughout the room, “Uhhhhhh, I told yooooooouuu… Son of a bitch!” Everyone of his words slacks the air with sporadic aggression, but when the man curses, he hits the consonant perfectly. This man has shouted “bitch” and “shit” more perfectly than I have ever heard in my life. There is perfection and poetry to his madness. It is in the wily glare of cold disdain that he delivers my direction- a glare that says “fuck the world for everything it isn’t worth” without speaking a word. It’s vivid, palpable, and quite possibly the most genuine thing in this hospital right now.

He’s trying to operate a phone attached to a wall with numerous editions of Yellow Pages surrounding it. Shouting and speaking into the phone, the receptionist tip toes cautiously from behind her desk. She’s visibly scared and is not prepared to handle communication with this man. “Umm, I don’t think the phone works…” she mumbles to the man. “Uhhhhhhhh, fuck! Gave me the wrong numberrrrrr anywaysssss” he speaks to himself and her. He asks for a pen and paper. She delivers. He spends 10 more minutes carrying the conversation on in his head aloud, drops the pen, brings it back to the secretary and dizzily meanders to the exit.

With the mad man out of the room, one of the receptionists says, “Why don’t we get a code for people to use to come in here- y’know and change it everyday?” “Well, I don’t know, it’d just get so complicated” returns the secretary.

In a building built upon the intention to take care of sick individuals, it has single handedly performed the opposite. In a building with a farce phone plugged into the wall, they question the man who picks it up. We all would, but when it comes down to it: my mother has me and the mad man has no one. 

Our time here is of important value above most anything else in the living world. It is the one thing we cannot buy, get back, or manipulate. It is a force of nature we are born into. Above that value is our actions- what we choose to do with that time.

From drunkenly gazing through a tour bus window watching the world whizz by with a wreckloose band of talented thieves (musicians), purpose came and went as it wished. You become the happened as opposed to the happening in those situations, choosing to let time have its way with you and “enjoy the ride” as they say. But what happens when we speak up, bleed for something, simply take action on our own without waiting for approval of peers? I believe we become our own saviors in that moment, and right now I have to be my mother’s… my own, and prepared to be for everyone else as well.

In such a backwards development where you are asked for proof of insurance, ten bucks, a ten minute form to be filled out before someone can say “yes, I’ll help you”, “yes, I’ll care for you”, “yes, I’ll heal you", it'd be more cordial to ask them why they have a broken phone attached to the wall first. Just in case someone were to try and use it, whether they be mad or not.

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