Saturday, August 23, 2008

Party on Jefferson

As the incredibly loud bass line vibrates through the ceiling, down the walls, and into my head, I lift my glass. I drink the wine slowly. I drink it quietly. I cross my legs and uncross them and cross them again as ashes, burning ashes float down from above. Jim takes my hand and smiles a half smile. His eyes are tired and sad. "I'm sorry, Baby."

No need to be sorry. We moved into our apartment on Wednesday, loading in in record time. Jim's dad Jim, his friend Dewayne (the Cleaner), and his brother Chris passed boxes through our bedroom window from the truck, managed to struggle up the landing with my over-abundance of French Provincial furniture and did not grumble when it came time to transport my beloved spinet piano into our high ceilinged quaint old apartment. Jim's dad Jim even took the time to lift the lid on the piano and play a haunting rendition of a Beatles ballad while standing sweaty and sore in our alley.

The apartment IS charming with it's large bedrooms, old oak fireplaces, butler pantry, and claw-footed tub. What is not charming is what is going on upstairs at this moment. We are in the middle of the college neighborhood, but our apartment is on the high-end spectrum so we expected that the majority of our neighbors would be grad students, serious students prone to quiet dinner parties and cocktail hours filled with conversations on Kant and variations on Miles Davis arrangements. I think that this assumption must have been formed after a few pints of celebratory ale. That's the only thing I can come up with. We are in the middle of post-quarter apocalypse. Last night there was a party next door with (I'm just guessing with the amount of screaming and cheering) more than one keg stand. Tonight, Studio 54 has been revived right above our bedroom. Do we call the landlords? Do we call the police? this is our first weekend here. Do we leave a note for the neighbor in the morning that says "Thanks for the jumpin' moonlight serenade. Hope you don't mind the 8am piano scales." I had actually really wanted to meet our neighbor to establish a proper time for practicing. Right the cigarette ash drifts down from above and the constant blur and banter from the second floor abounds...I don't know that it matters anymore.

Maybe I'll launch into some David Lanz right now. Maybe I'll pull out the songbook for REM's Automatic for the People and flailingly ramble through "Find the River" to my hearts content. I don't think it would matter. I don't think anyone would hear me...except James. And I know that he doesn't mind.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

St. V's

Somehow I knew today would be like this, rainy and dark and quiet. I sit here at my faux granite desk, organizing the sugar and cream packets for the coffee room into little straight rows in their baskets. I stare out the huge gridded glass window in front of my desk as the morning traffic zooms down Red Mountain Expressway. I fixate on the lonely bicycle that has been sitting outside this window for a month and a half, ever since a young man coasted down from Highland Avenue with a broken leg and locked it up on the handicap parking sign before crawling up to my desk. I wonder if he'll ever come back for it. His mother picked him up that day. I guess I'll never know.

Today is my last day in the Emergency Room. On this cloudy, drizzley day there have been far more falls than car accidents arrive for treatment and this is quite uncommon. The Olympic Coverage is playing on the TV across the waiting room. I thought I should give my morning crowd a break. I usually turn it to the Turner Classic Movie channel and hide the remote.

They threw me a party, my wonderful department, a surprise party. Everyone had to come to visit me in the department break room two at a time, as it was a busy day and none of the locations in our department could really do to have one rep leave at a time, let alone two. So I sat at the table, surrounded by chips and dips and vegetables (my co-workers have finally come to grips with the fact that I am a vegetarian) (don't worry, they made a pot of beef nacho cheese craziness for themselves that was simmering in the corner by the wide array of beverages) and waited for my wonderful friends to come, two by two.

I've been at the hospital for 4 years. I know that I have sent out a few character sketches to some of you over the years. I have tried my best to make my job, my work there something extraordinary and fun. I've made posters for various departmental events. I've had early morning Emergency Room dance parties (early on Saturdays and Sundays I would bring in my old soul collections and Wylie Jean and I would go through the steps, the Mashed Potato, the Jerk, etc...) (those were always perfect days, no matter the craziness in the ER). I had finger puppet parties. And made Vulcan (at least my bobble head Vulcan) the unofficial mascot of the St. Vincent's Birmingham Emergency Department.


And yes, sometimes B.H. Party Vulcan got a little drunk-ed off of the triage nurses ready store of alcohol swabs and attended said finger puppet parties. Hilarity ensued. I assure you.

B.H. and I will miss our home away from home terribly. So very much. There was never such a place as this. There were never more caring and amazing co-workers.
I am so thankful that I got spend these four amazing years, four years full of transition, of growing and creating and loving and helping. I will miss everything. I miss you all terribly. Goodbye my dear St. V, my dear Patient Access, my dearest Emergency Department. Take care.

The SL