Friday, January 18, 2008

I've had the distinct pleasure of dining in a hospital cafeteria for the past 2 days. Of course not just any hospital. Banner after banner all over the place informed me that it is the 6th best hospital in the country and the top ranked hospital in the state of New York. I wonder if the accolades have anything to do with the fact that I was born at this particular hospital. hahahahahaaa

Here are my "Garden Cafe" observations:
*You can always tell the visitors from the regulars. We are the ones who mill around aimlessly peering over the counters, trying to figure out what's worth eating. We are the ones with looks of fatigue and stress plastered on her faces. Yes, we're indecisive. Yes, we get in the way. And no, nothing looks appetizing. On behalf of the visitors, I apologize for getting in the way of the harried hospital employees who may only have 45 minutes to eat while we the visitors have 4 to 5 hours to wait......and eat.

*Doctors scare the hell out of me. No, not because of needles, and all of their medical jargon. Doctors scare the hell out of me because I have witnessed some of the dumbest shit by the supposed scholastic upper echelon. How do I know these were the doctors and not some other hospital employee? Their ID badges are slightly different from the rest (another hospital observation).I was waiting for the Garden Cafe to open with about 15 other people. We are all standing in the hallway waiting for someone to open the doors. A doctor comes walking down the hallway, past everyone gathered by the entrance. She walks over, yanks the door really hard and almost falls on her ass when the door stays shut. What the hell did she think all of these other people were standing in the hallway for? There is nothing but the entrance to the cafeteria in this particular corridor. Later, I saw a doctor stick his hand inside of a toaster and scream (like a bitch I may add) when the heat from the coils came in contact with his skin. What else did he think would happen? Then there was the doctor who dropped a bottle of soda, picked it up, and immediately opened it. Guess what happened?? You got it. The soda came spewing out of the bottle. And guess who was the only one with a look of shock on his face? You got it. The one wearing the soda. While book smarts is not always a measure of common sense. But the absence of common sense makes book smarts highly questionable.

*Jazz is great. During the lunch hour a jazz band plays in the corner of the cafe. Something about the melodic rat-tat-tat of the instruments harmonizing is very calming. While I am no jazz aficionado (dare I say I am jazz ignorant), I can't rate the caliber of the Lunch Time Band. All I know is the mood in the room changed. It went from noisy and heavy with stress to a soft buzz of conversations. While I sat there with my soup, salad, pen and paper, listening to jazz, I felt like I was an extra in a Spike Lee movie or a character in a Charlie Brown cartoon with the jazz providing the dialogue for my silent thoughts. It was the perfect backdrop to the scene of me writing at a lonely table in the middle of the busy cafeteria. I seriously need to add music to my musical repertoire and my IPOD. Is there a Jazz for Dummies book that I can pick up at Barnes & Nobles? But live jazz at a hospital in the middle of the day? Genius. Dr. Huxtable would be proud.

*Construction workers are utter gentlemen. This top ranked hospital is undergoing some serious renovations, so I've seen quite a few guys with hardhats milling around the cafeteria. Those that know me, know that I used to work in the Construction Management industry, so I've had a fair share of dealings with the men who work in that industry. But during my time in the hospital cafeteria, I've seen the guys carrying food trays for feeble but spunky old ladies, help the female kitchen staff lift heavy hot pots of soup into the soup kettles. When I had my quiet mini-breakdown at the corner table of the cafeteria, the scruffiest man with dirt splattered jeans, and stained hardhat came over and offered a tissue with promises that everything would be okay. When he saw me again the next day, he asked how I was doing. I thanked him for his kind gesture and words as I wandered around aimlessly trying to figure out what the hell I was going to eat. I have a theory about guys in this industry. Working around men all day and being "men's men" by doing heavy labor makes them perfect gentlemen in the presence of women. Of course my theory is flawed by all of those images of construction guys cat calling to women walking down the street. However, that was hardly ever my experience with the construction guys. Maybe I will explore this theory further in a later blog.

* Why is the hospital nutritionist overweight? Is this one of those "do as I say and not as I do" type of things???

*Should a hospital cafeteria serve a cheeseburger wrapped in foil and sitting under a heat lamp? Is it me or is something wrong with this picture? It's almost as bad as when Harlem Hospital opened a McDonald's in the hospital lobby. Doesn't that just scream "heart attack"???

*Sorry if I offend anyone but why do people who work in hospitals look like crap? Maybe its the long hours. Maybe its the energy drain of constantly saving people's lives. But damn can you comb your hair??? Can you not look sooooo....disheveled?? Can you at least look like you've bathed and shaved? Grey's Anatomy, ER, House, Dr. 90210 (especially Dr. 90210) and all those medical shows have us fooled. No one is as coiffed and polished or as neat as the people we see on TV. Either they need to make these TV characters look like crap or hospital employees need some serious "me" time. STAT!

I'm pretty sure I will have more hospital observations over the next week or so as I will be spending a lot of time there tending to my mother. My observations provide an escape from the complexities of what weighs heavily on my mind and in my heart.

1 comment:

rashad said...

So you're a jazz fan now? welcome to the club son, i'm sending you mad music now