Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Anatomy of a Non Sequitur

It was shift change time when I went to the kitchenette to get a cup of water (we are allowed to do that,) and I was just standing there zoning out when "Annie" came in. She's one of the night shift aides, and she was going to load up a cart full of fresh water-pitcher containers for the patients, and I was in her way.

"Oh," I said, "I'm just spaced out a little," as I stepped out of the narrow area.

"Flashing back to the sixties?" she asked, jokingly, and I said "well, more like the seventies, really."

I've passed shifts with Annie a hundred times but I've never really chatted with her much, so I don't know what she's all about, but I think punk happened for her, despite her relatively young age.

A moment later I was just standing by the door leaning on the kitchenette counter, still processing my fatigue and spacing out, when Annie asked "Do you ever see blue cars?"

Do I ever see blue cars?

I smiled wide while I considered the question for a bit.

"Why yes," I eventually replied, as if I were proud or something, "Yes I do."

She chuckled with satisfaction a little and continued at the ice machine. I then had to go out and give report to the oncoming nurses. I related the story to them, and I told my spouse about it when I got home.

I saw her again the next night at shift change and I asked her about it, and she said it was just a non sequitur and I wasn't supposed to "get it." You could really just hang out with a person like that.

She said "Blue Volkswagen beetles," and I said that was actually the image that had come to my mind the night before when she originally tossed out that weird question about blue cars. Then she asked me sincerely if I ever did "see blue cars" and I said that I wasn't seeing them right then and there but that I did see them sometimes, out and about.

"Like when you're driving around," she acknowledged.

I was glad to have that clarified.

Then she asked "You know Jimmy Eat World?," and I had to begrudgingly admit that I don't know their music all that well except one of their more wildly popular songs. She said the "blue cars" thing was from one of their songs, but I could only hazily recollect "Counting Blue Cars" by Dishwalla and then I started to space out again.

Too much at the end of a shift. I needed to conserve my energies for finishing up and getting home, and I felt that by trying to remember bands and songs and such and then straighten up somebody else on the subject, well, that was just too much for me to expect from myself at the end of a long day. Now opera, if that had been the subject, I would have merrily refreshed her memory right then and there, but not rock music, about which I have scant expertise.

Anyways, I suppose now that Annie had been suffering from an ear worm. I figure she had been replaying "Counting Blue Cars " in her head the night before when she came out with the non sequitur, but she had incorrectly attributed this song to Jimmy Eat World instead of Dishwalla.

Easy mistake to make, I guess.

So the next time I see her at shift change, I will just say "Dishwalla," preferably completely out of context, and that should keep things deep enough in the flow for awhile.

1 comment:

Becca said...

Francisco Franco is still dead.