Total Pageviews

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fringeville Edition #69, March 15 2012

I worked at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for sixteen years. I usually find myself there a couple of times a year visiting family and friends who are hospitalized.

I'm ambivalent about these little journeys.

On the one hand, I worked there a long time. I know a lot of people who still work there. It's exciting to see them again and touch base.

On the other hand, I worked there a long time. I know a lot of people who still work there. And sometimes I get brain freeze and forget their #%$$^! names.

I was there today, and it was an "on the other hand" kind of day. I found myself face-to-face with someone I worked with almost every day. And I had a brain freeze and forgot her name. It was one of those gawd-awful embarrassing moments we all have and from which there is no graceful escape.

I worked in patient Escort Services. She worked in the Recovery Room. When her patients were ready to go to their rooms, she'd pick up the phone and call Escort for an aide to help transport the patient. Probably four or five times a week, I was that aide. I worked directly with her thousands of times. We have mutual friends. She worked with my sister. My best friend's sister cuts her hair.

When I saw her, she asked the dreaded question: "You know who I am, don't you?"

"You worked in the Recovery Room, right?" I asked stupidly (because that much I already knew).

"You better remember my name," she said, knowing full well I was in a state of brain freeze.

I panicked, of course. I started mumbling about the pitfalls of knowing so many people, which just dug me deeper and deeper and deeper into a hole.

How was I going to climb out??

I started thinking of women's names alphabetically: ...Amy ...Alva ...Anne ...Betty ...Bella

By the time I hit the 'D' names I knew I was in deep trouble. She was rightfully getting annoyed.

In desperation, I changed tactics. I imagined myself walking into the Recovery Room on any given day seventeen years or so ago. Who would I see? ...Cathy ...Barb ...Sally ...Diane ...Kim ...Vera.


"Vera," I sighed.

"You're lucky," she replied.

I really do know a boatload of people. I don't forget faces. But the names ...well that's when I get brain-freeze. Sixteen years working in a hospital; sixteen years in food service; thousands of people I met when I ran a door-to-door campaign for office, plus all the usual vast lists of people we all know from church, school and every place in between ...well it's no wonder I occasionally get frozen gray matter.

It's episodes like this, however, that leave you feeling incredibly stupid.

Vera was graceful, and probably wouldn't have beaten me too severely if my brain hadn't thawed. But this was a day for a good dose of humble pie, and I had me a big-ass piece of it.