Don’t we learn? Don’t we wake up at some point? Don’t we stop the situation in the moment, and like that special effects found in movies, clap our hands and say, “Stop!” and the whole scene is frozen in front of us until we take a breath, gather ourselves and suss out the situation before acting on a reaction. Right? Something like that.
A blue room, three employees and what is meant to be an “Image Library” at the hospital, where I envision aisles upon aisles of hundreds upon hundreds of images of CTs, MRIs and X-Rays are archived on these two huge computers in front of me. An Irish/German youngster, taller than I and in the room longer than I, says quite dryly, “Isn’t this meant to be a library? Aren’t library’s meant to be quiet?” He’s right.
William is probably the most sane; let’s start with him. A tall, handsome, mid 40s African American man who holds a lot of clout in the room, even though he talks softer than Iber (the other employee). “Aren’t you having the jolliest day ever,” William teases Claudia, as he winks at us, who stand on the other side of counter watching this episode. He moves quickly but gracefully from the front and back rooms attempting to get to each of our requests. The Irish/German youngster chimes in again, “You know you can start your day over again, any moment of the day.” Claudia burns his face with a glare, “What?” she says. He brings his hands up to a prayer position at his heart and repeats himself.
He is pushing it.
I can feel Claudia ready to jump over the counter and strangle him. Well, at least we’re in a hospital to attend to his wounds. It’s true. Claudia is miserable. Her anger and passive aggressive huffing and puffing, is like she’s ready to throw in the towel and leave this world for good. That, or give her left arm for it to be 6pm right now. The thought of “Well, she looks happier than Duane Reade employees,” pops into my head. I shush it away.
Iber laughs loudly. “Oh, Claudia, you crack my laughter.” We all let out a laugh. He’s a short, bolding German man sporting blue overalls that remind me of a space suit. “What are you gonna do? Be mad for the rest of the day?” Claudia is embarrassed and it is causing more tension in her jaw. She motions Iber to fix the technical issues. That, or take the attention off of her, since all eyes are on Claudia. It’s hard not to not stare at her; it’s quite a powerful experience to see someone so angry and bottling it by the second. “These people will have to wait and understand that we have 70 copies to make for other departments in the hospital before being able to make a cd of their images.” This is the first time I’m hearing the current state of affairs. We don’t want to act like we get as ruffled as Claudia, so we all nod our heads, like, “Yeah it’s cool, we’re cool,” and unanimously agree on the given conditions. This makes Claudia look stupid, and she knows this, which pumps up the silent rage even more.
William re-enters the room and calms the situation with a little love, “Leave her alone Iber. Claudia just wants these people to get what they came here for.” It really feels like we’re an audience at this moment. Iber tries to cover his humiliation with a forced chuckle. Claudia is resolved to keeping her eyes glued on the floor.
And like a wire, I send an invisible line of love her way. I know exactly what she’s feeling. We all have. I actually end up getting my X-Ray images in the next 5 minutes. William even gives me 3 different images, free of charge. I smile at William but end up on Claudia, and say warmly, “Thank you.”