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In spots along the road the sun never reaches, there are still crusts of filthy, scabrous-looking snow. They look like the bones and shed skins of some extinct breed of ancient dinosaur.

(Wouldn’t that make a great fantasy story? A world where all archeological relics and artifacts vanished under full spectrum sunlight, but condensed again in the dark so archeologists could only work at night.)

It’s sunny today but really, really cold. Like January temperatures.


It snowed Friday.

I went running anyway. In the afternoon when the snow cleared up. Who knows why? Some bizarre Gordonstoun ethic. I made myself do three miles.

As I set out on the last mile, I heard a voice mispronouncing my name: Pat-REEEE-sha!

Ed. We trotted the last mile together, and we bantered!

That was fun!

And I realized banter is a thing I get really lonely for. I like witty repartee! Give me the right people to play off of, and I’m a veritable Aaron Sorkin dialogue generator!

The right people for the most part do not live in the Hudson Valley; hence, I am perpetually banter-deprived.

Ed banters because, like me, he was raised in Manhattan.

I think maybe banter is a New York City thing.


TaxBwana was busy yesterday! Hectic. One of our Bwanas called in sick so it was just me, the redoubtable Hewitt, and IBM Doug who has redeemed himself completely by learning to pronounce my name with the correct Italian trill of the R!

Everybody in the world was coming in to have their taxes done before April 17. I called upon skills that I haven’t used since I was an ER nurse upteen million years ago.

Upteen million years ago, I worked at Highland Hospital. In the quaint bureaucratic argot of the day, Highland Hospital was “a provider of last resort,” which meant that people came there when they had no money, so no one else would take them. The ER was a never-ending conveyor belt of people who’d just gotten shot, stabbed, or set on fire, and welfare Moms who’d decided to bring their seven kids in to be checked for ringworm. Nobody ever came in with kidney stones or mild heart attacks; it was all either This person is gonna die if you can’t stabilize him immediately or This person can’t afford basic health care, so get out those gloves!

I was a good nurse, but I was always getting into fights with the residents – arrogant assholes – and the hospital administration – soulless bloodsuckers.

So, I was actively looking for a way out the day that DeShawn Sims (not his real name!), age 9, was transported into the ER with third-degree burns over 60% of his body.

We were just stabilizing the kid preparatory to shipping him over to Oakland Children’s (where honestly, the stupid EMTs should have taken him in the first place.) But stabilizing a burn victim involves a lot of unpleasant procedures, and the whole thing really does smell like cooking barbecue.

The kid had to be debrided – you really don’t wanna know – and then I had to write about the procedure in my nurse’s notes. As I was sitting by DeShawn’s bedside scribbling away, DeShawn’s father staggered through the drawn curtains into our little cubicle.

So now the cubicle smelled like a BBQ joint with several gallons of Colt 45 on the floor.

“Whatchoo been doin’ to my boy?” DeShawn’s father screamed at me.

And he pulled out a gun.

I suppose I was scared. Honestly, I don’t remember. I do remember that his hands were shaking so badly that I did think it unlikely he would be able to kill me even if he did manage to aim the gun in my general direction.

But I wasn't waiting around to find out.

I smooth-talked him. I suppose you could say I bantered. For the minute and a half or so it took me to rise up off that stool and back slowly through the drawn curtains. With weapons-brandishing madmen as with crazed dogs, you never want to move quickly, and you never want to show your back.

Security was alerted, the guy tackled, and presumably subdued.

What I remember most vividly is my subsequent interrogation by hospital administration at which the Director of Nursing filled in for Torquemada. “What did you do to provoke him to respond like that?” she asked.

I didn’t do a fucking thing, you miserable piece of shit! I thought. But who knows what I actually said? Not I! It happened too long ago.

I do know that that’s what made me decide I was done being a nurse. Done! Done! No, I didn’t want to transfer to another specialty! I just wanted out.

So, I applied to the Berkeley’s Graduate School of Public Policy (GSPP.) And amazingly, they accepted me. And that was that.

One of the skills I developed as an ER nurse was a capacity for managing chaotic situations. I mean I am efficient, but even better than that, I am cheerful! I always know the right thing to do, and the right thing to say. I am really good in crisis situations. So long as it’s not a personal crisis.

I drew upon those skills TaxBwana-ing yesterday. The three of us did 17 tax returns in four hours, and it all went well.


Throughout the day, I kept sneaking peeks at Hewitt and thinking, Hmmmm... Do I really wanna feel that way about him?

I mean, yeah. He's handsome. He has a great sense of humor.

But why would I want to feel that way about anyone given a choice?

I’m beyond my reproductive years. I own a vibrator.

Sure, sure, there’s always that Some Enchanted Evening fantasy.

And I do know people who have very good marriages. Who have a really good time with the person they love. Whose spouses really are their best friends.

But that’s not true for most of the people I know.

Beyond that first spell of limerence, most of the people I know mostly have interactions with their significant others that would drive me nuts if I had to have them on a regular basis.

Hewitt would be good for a lot of laughs, but who knows what he would be like in the sack? I’m fairly sure he doesn’t read or like to travel. So what would we have in common?

I’m not adverse to romantic relationships, but why do I feel this compulsion to force one?

Friends, lovers, random people I meet on street corners, have been telling me my whole life that I’m entirely too self-involved.

And they’re not wrong.

But maybe the real issue there is that I’ve been conditioned somehow to think of self-involvement as a bad thing, when it’s actually a very good thing indeed.

This entry was originally posted at http://mallorys-camera.dreamwidth.org/696953.html. You may leave comments on either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal if you like.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 8th, 2018 04:21 pm (UTC)
I only have one (1) friend who doesn’t bitch about her partner all the time.

I definitely count self-indulgence as one of the top three reason I am single.

And lately I’ve been contemplating how not everyone is meant to pair up.

Apr. 8th, 2018 04:42 pm (UTC)
Right. I think it's a little complicated for you because you think about babies. It's hard to have a baby alone, and no, I am not thinking about the sperm-meets-egg scenario. :-)

I mean, it's great when you find someone with whom you're really sympatico.

But most people, at least under my admittedly anthropologist-from-the-planet-Mars eye, do not find people who are sympatico. They find people who are available at a time in their own life when pairing off for whatever reason seems desirable. (It's spring! I want someone to see Springsteen On Broadway with! My vibrator is broken! Whatever... :-) )

Apr. 8th, 2018 09:17 pm (UTC)
I call BS on the lack of people in the HV that can banter. I grew up there and can banter. My cousins can too.

You have had a variety of jobs and work experiences.

I like having a companion and best friend. He may not be perfect or like all the same stuff as I do but, that's alright.
Apr. 8th, 2018 09:46 pm (UTC)
Well, clearly you need to come back to the HV for a summer visit and introduce me to yr cousins! :-) East side or west side of the river? I'm in Hyde Park.

I do know people who have great relationships with their partners. And it's nice to see those partnerships. :-)
Apr. 8th, 2018 10:14 pm (UTC)
Everyone is on the west side of the river except my sister.
Maybe that's the difference. LOL
Apr. 8th, 2018 10:51 pm (UTC)
You mean old Woodstock hippies? :-)


Apr. 9th, 2018 02:36 am (UTC)
I spent yesterday playing with 1040x
I debated the wisdom/necessity of filling it out
the day AFTER I mailed my tax form, I got a 1099 in the mail
it was not delivered in a timely fashion -- this was, indeed, MARCH. I honestly thought all the tax stuff was supposed to be mailed out by 31 January!
It does not change my tax bottom line by a single penny, but I have visions of jackbooted thugs and immense fines for "unreported income" -- so after wrestling with random pissed off inner demons, I completed the nonsensical paperwork
I will get it to the Post Office before the 15th...
Apr. 9th, 2018 12:35 pm (UTC)
I've been led to gather that this year, nobody at the IRS will be checking rank-and-file returns very carefully. :-)

For what that's worth. :-)
Apr. 10th, 2018 02:13 pm (UTC)
Awesome story about the hospital and nursing. You always have amazing life stories.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )