Saturday, July 30, 2005

It's Just

They were hugging by the "time clock." It looked very serious.

I do not know why we all called the device we used to sign in to work a "time clock." Seems like a redundant and useless term. Aren't all clocks "time clocks?"

"Tina" was crying her eyes out. "Leo" gripped her tightly. I walked by puzzled. I had floated to ICU so I didn't need to slide my card at that time clock anyways. I didn't ask.

Their affair was rather well-known. To me, anyways, because one time when I got home they were upstairs in our spare bedroom. I could hear the mattress springs, and I could tell it wasn't just the cats jumping off the bed. Repeatedly.

I never bothered to lock my house when we lived there. On really cold winter days, people would leave their cars running with the keys in while they went in the grocery store to shop so they wouldn't be freezing cold when they got back into their cars. Minus ten degrees does that. Small town mentality. Bears were rare but more common than burglars.

Leo and I were friends outside of work. We would ski in the cold and bike when the winter sands were taken off the roads and the weather warmed.

Leo and Tina had used my house for more than one of their afternoon-before-going-home festivals of love. My spouse had a problem with that. Another time when I came home from work they were again already there. Done, I supposed, because they were sitting on the couch with drinks from my refridgerator. Cordially, they offered me one. Funny, that.

Then my spouse had her little talk with Leo. After which he just moved in for awhile. Even funnier, that.

Tina's husband was a tempermental and difficult man with many problems, so I had heard, and he had finally addressed these issues by blowing his brains out in their bedroom. He was home alone during the day; kids at school, wife at work. The police must have notified her while she was at the hospital, and arrangements were made to get her out of there. The shift was near-finished anyways.

Leo had been consoling her. So it was more than what I'd thought: that they were just coming out at work.

They were, and still are, nurses of great excellence.

Tina took a little time off to move in with her parents and to take care of things. When she got back to work, it was like she was really Superwoman or a Soviet spy or something and we all knew her secret identity, but she covered that up by disguising herself as a nurse. Leo formalized his separation from his wife, who incidentally worked at the same place.

I guess what I'm getting at is that a lot of times a nurse plays the role they assume at work, but outside of work their life might be very un-nurse-like, whatever that means.

You might be the same way at your job. Behind your work persona there could be a person in mourning, a person in recovery, a person whose life is just about to take a sudden sharp turn or a slow and wide gyre, or maybe a person who holds the winning ticket. Maybe a person with an undiagnosed dissecting abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Nurses can be like that, too, but at work they are always the nurse. Like the Museum of Natural History in New York City, and Holden Caulfield talking about how maybe you just saw a rainbow sheen on a puddle, and you're a different person because of that, but the dinosaur bones are the same.

I left out the "J" word, as usual.


may said...

you mentioned holden, so i can't help but comment. he is my little hero after all.
onj the nurses living la vida loca, i cannot agree with you more. it will never cease to amaze me how a lot of nurses can excellenlt separate their personal life from their work. it is a good thing, and it IS amazing.

may said...

ooopps, sorry on the typos...i'm sure you know what i mean.