Tuesday, August 08, 2006

another elevator story

I sometimes fear that I’m cursed with an air of sympathy. Total strangers will sometimes tell me their stories, and, though my brain sends me signals like dispatch them quickly with talk of the streets filling with the blood of the nonbelievers, I can do nothing but appear to listen and sometimes even go so far as to feign interest. It is my cross to bear, and I occasionally must bear it even on the dreaded elevator.

I stepped onto the hospital elevator to bring Pa Camino some pants for checking out about the time a group from the smoking section had finished and decided to return to their various loved ones. There were four stocky older women who resembled Mount Rushmore and a man who I swear was Dickie Betts from the Allman Brothers’ Band, though he probably wasn’t. They made for a fragrant ride up.

Anyway, Teddy Roosevelt was the talkative one. I believe she may have been the wife of the patient they were visiting, as she was going on and on about someone named Marlin while the others looked on stoically, perhaps quiet because years of experience had taught them that their chances to talk were few and far between. George Washington, who seemed like a sister of Marlin, was obviously the designated nodder, as she went on like a giant George Washington bobblehead. Jefferson threw in an occasional “yep” or “right”, while Lincoln mutely showed recognition by raised eyebrows. Dickie Betts seemed equally mute.

So it was that we all showed a bit of surprise when he snagged a break in Roosevelt’s monologue to throw out a “shore is a purty hospital, ain’t it” just before stepping out at the second floor.

Mount Rushmore didn’t step out. They were headed to my floor, and the remark of an outsider had in a strange way brought the other outsider into the understood “conversation”. Unfortunately, I was that other outsider.

Roosevelt resumed. She continued looking down the row of the other three as she talked, but this time her gaze extended to the quiet guy behind Lincoln holding a pair of pants.

“I don’t care if it is a pretty hospital,” she said. “A hospital is still a hospital, and I don’t ever want to see the inside of another one as long as I live. No, once Marlin is up and walking again we are out of this place.”

Lady, I’m just a guy on an elevator with some pants, my brain said. However, my face seemed to anticipate all the fun times we were all going to have with Marlin just as soon as he got out.

Poor Marlin. I don’t mind talkative people, but Roosevelt had the uncanny ability to fill the air with the most uninteresting collection of words. Most talkative people sometimes stumble onto things that are worth hearing just as buckshot generally hits its intended target, but Roosevelt’s routine seemed to be nothing more than a stating of the obvious.

Then again, perhaps this Marlin is actually the one cursed with incessant gabbiness and what I was seeing was nothing more than Roosevelt’s lifetime of pent up conversation. It had been suppressed for so long and now, perhaps born of a “freak throat accident” that the loquacious Marlin suffered while in his sleep, was awkwardly attempting to find its legs like a newborn farm animal.

I hope so.


Blogger SistaSmiff said...

Marlin must be from either Burwood, inner Franklin (Not talking about the nice part) or somwhere in Cheatham County. Bet ya.

3:19 PM  
Blogger newscoma said...

I don't know, Sista.
There are quite a few Marlins over here in the west.
Quite a few indeed.

4:00 PM  

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