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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Friends in Low Places

Yesterday, Noelle and I got our blood drawn. Yes, Noelle had to have it drawn from the vein like me. Yes, it was traumatic for me and everyone in the waiting room who could hear her screaming. No, I don't know why my doctor chose to do it this way as opposed to the quick pin-prick I've heard that other Pediatricians do.

But the story begins two hours before all the screaming, and wincing when Noelle and I arrived at the Quest Diagnostic Center at 9am. I signed us in on the sheet that said, "Walk-ins" and took a seat in the quiet but already crowded waiting area. I was anxious and uncomfortable for two reasons. First of all, I was anxious about getting Noelle's blood drawn. Second of all, my blood work required that I fast and I was already hungry, having not eaten since dinner time the night before.

I looked around the waiting room and found a seat in the corner, just out of the sun. I plopped my diaper bag down on the floor and Noelle sheltered herself behind my legs, looking out at the crowd of strange faces. A tall skinny young man with black alligator shoes strode across our line of vision and took a seat. He was snappy, carried a Rolling Stone magazine, and obviously didn't belong in this shabby group of people: Moms without make-up, elderly women with canes, elderly men with hearing aids.

By this point, Noelle had ventured out from my legs and was rummaging through the diaper bag. She held a small bottle of moisturizer in one hand, and a tube of blistex in the other.
"She's so cute," came a voice to my right. I looked over to see a short, morbidly obese woman. She was looking at Noelle. "How old is she?"

"15 months," I answered, as the lady took a seat a few chairs down.

"Mine's three years old." I was surprised to hear this, because the woman seemed too old to have a three year old. She had gray streaks across her black hair and she wore very thick glasses. I assumed that her daughter was at home, since I didn't see anyone accompanying her. "She talks alot," the obese mother volunteered. "She talks alot with her hands."

"Maybe she'll be a writer," I offered.

The lady nodded her head. "Well, I had a hard time having her," she continued.

My stomach rumbled and I felt a hunger pain. The man with alligator shoes was texting on his blackberry. The lady kept talking. "With my age and all." I nodded understandingly. "And my body naturally resists insulen." Just at that moment an old lady hobbled over and sat between us, ending the conversation.

Noelle grabbed my hand and pulled me up. I knew it was time to walk a bit, so I followed as she waddled through the room. We passed by the sign-in window and consequently an older gentleman. He was short, bald, with sunglasses.

"Wow, she doesn't miss anything!" he said pointing to Noelle's blue eyes as we passed.

"I know!" I said with a smile.

"Yep, she takes everything in. That's obvious." I concerred and followed Noelle out of the office and into the hallway. A few minutes later, I returned to our corner in the waiting room, holding Noelle on my hip. The man with the alligator shoes was talking.

"They said it was only going to be an hour wait," he wore a big grin with blue eyes. "I'm fasting, so I thought, 'What the heck.' What's another hour?" We bobbed our heads in agreement. Just then a flood of new bodies walked into the office. Now every seat was taken up and people were waiting in the hallway.

"I've never been here when it was so busy," said the obese mother.

"Me neither," piped up the old lady next to her. "And I have an appointment."

I shifted next to the man with the alligator shoes to make room for the surge of new bodies. He was tapping away on his blackberry. "My work is freaking out," he leaned toward me.

"Where do you work?" I asked quickly.

"Azusa," he said. "In the music department." Ah, I should have guessed from the start. "It's the first day back to classes and the department is just freaking out." We chatted a bit more and I fidgeted uncomfortably. My stomach was starting to hurt and Noelle was pulling on my hand for another walk. I left as the alligator man was talking to the obese mom, and followed Noelle back out to the hallway.

We ran into the short bald man again. He rested against the wall with confidence. "There she is!" he chirped as we passed. I followed Noelle down the hall, but worried that we'd miss our call. So I grabbed Noelle and carried her back. She swivelled and screamed. Just as I was approaching the door, the short bald man stepped infront of me and said in a warm voice.

"Listen if anyone scares you, or makes you feel intimidated, you just tell them you have friends in low places." He handed me a small white card. I only had a moment to see a black gun in the middle of it. I grabbed it quickly and put it in my back pocket.

"Thank you," I said.

"I have a ten year old grand daughter just like that," he said pointing to Noelle, who was all limbs, and fits, and wiggles in my arms.

"Bright eyes?" I asked over the commotion.

"Yep, and she's still that way."

I hustled back into the wiating room and took my seat next to the alligator man. We looked at each other wearily. "They said there's three people ahead of me." He told me. "I think you and your daughter are two of them."

"Oh, good. Thank you!" I felt a wave of relief. Sure enough, a few minutes later I heard a faint call from the hallway, "Taylor!"

"That's you," the alligator man said.

"We'll be able to hear her cry," the obese mom said creasing her brow. I looked at her and would have easily hugged her, and the alligator man in that moment.

"You'll hear her cry, then you'll hear me cry." I grabbed our diaper bag and hustled off.

It wasn't until I got home that I took out the little white card and read it. In the center was a black hand gun in silhouette. Along the top were these words: used cars - land - whiskey - manure - nails - fly swatters - racing forms - bongos

Then circling the gun like a horse shoe were these phrases:
Wars Fought

revolutions started

assassinations plotted

governments run

uprisings quelled

tigers tamed

bars emptied

virgins consoled

mexican gold

orgies organized

Nowhere on the card was a phone number, address, e-mail or web address. At the bottom there was one last line that made Dwayne and I laugh so hard we could hardly breathe.

Also preach and lead singing for revival meetings.


Blogger Josh said...

It really would be nice if you could write these everyday stories every day.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Christin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Carmine said...

That's hilarious- I want a business card like that!

2:51 PM  

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