Susan sits at our table and is trying to catch her breath. We call what Felonious did to Susan as being “jacked up” Susan still looks a little shook. I tell her to watch my tray. I go to the other table to get her tray and I look at Felonious like “You really don’t need two trays.” She gets it and passes the tray to me. I am figuring out that Felonious and I have invented a new communication language called “Lets figure out what the fuck I am thinking” For some odd reason this language works between the two of us. Others are baffled at how she and I are “getting along”. I don’t think it has anything to do with getting along. I think that it has a lot to do with being noticed, respected, and attentive. Felonious isn’t as bad as she wants everyone to think that she is. I truly believe that her being a bully and a savage to others is the way she is coping with what is really wrong with her. I think that she thinks, that I get her so she doesn’t give me such a hard time like the rest.
Anyhow, I go and get Susan some coffee. When I return halfway to the table, John has given me the stink eye. Literally. He is trying to figure out why in the hell did I tell Smelly Susan, aka Garbage Pail Kid, to come and sit at our table while we are eating. I give him a nod, I get it. My bad.
Ahh Dinner!! For tonight’s entre we have beef of roast with something brown that is covering it. There is potatoes of mash fresh from the “mix it with water” packet. For our vegetable selection, we have a mixture of all the leftover vegetables from what the other patients didn’t want to eat yesterday. Oh… with butter. For our dessert selection we have fruit cups that are dated to expire next week. Bon Appetite!
I move my tray so that I am sitting next to Susan. Her nerves are so bad, that she can’t even feed herself. I tell her to calm down. I place her hands on each side of the tray on top of the table. I take her fork and began feeding her. Tears flow from her eyes. I tell her, that she is cool. No need to worry. Just eat. I keep feeding her. I tell her that Felonious didn’t mean anything by what she had just done. It is like we are in our own little world and two best friends are just making sure that the other is ok. As she calms down, she tells me that she thinks I have a beautiful family. I thank her. I ask her about her family. As soon as I do, I cringe… Her parents are still sitting on ice. She tells me that she has a cousin or two. They immediately came to Tampa when they heard the news about her parents. They found out that she had been taken to the hospital. When they got here and found out what part of the hospital she was in, they came for one visit. She told me that she was glad to have someone familiar that was there to help her. Once they sat down, they had papers for her to sign over her family’s dwellings and businesses. She didn’t sign. They got up and left and no one has contacted her since. This makes me mad. Are you fucking kidding me? I ask her about friends, boyfriends, play cousins…. Her response… What’s a play cousin? I cover my eyes and wipe my face. Never mind ….
White coat is watching all of this unfold in the background. I didn’t even notice that she was there.
I finally get Nicole and I back to the house. I took the liberty of stopping for Chinese Food on the way home. Once in the garage, I wake Nicole to tell her that we are here. She is so out of it. I walk through the door into the kitchen. This nut case (Nicole), goes up to the upper granite counter top to check in as if she is at the damn Ritz Carlton. I shake my head and continue to let her half sleep and half complain about her being a diamond member and no one is there to check her in. She lays her head back on the counter. I lead her to the guest en suite with the Chinese food in hand. She tells me that she really appreciates me coming to the front desk and helping her to her room. She is going to call corporate tomorrow. Is she high? I don’t work here. I sit her on the bed and she finally kicks off those damn clickers. Her feet aren’t even swollen which earns my respect. I sit a TV tray in front of her with the Chinese Food. All of a sudden, she looks at me. I pause, not knowing where the hell this is about to go. She says “Chic, I am so sorry. This is the sorriest Ritz Carlton that I have ever been to. Instead of damn room service, these assholes done bought me some cheap ass Chinese take-out. I’m blown that my house doesn’t look like the Ritz and that my choice in cheap ass take out is not up to par. As she is hooking her fried rice up with all kinds of sauce, she tells me that tomorrow, we are going to check into the W. See how the Ritz likes that! I turn on the TV to the OWN channel and leave Nicole to her Chinese Buffet. I bought extra just in case.
Baylor is all over the place. He is so happy to see Auntie and is looking around the corner for Mom. I go back to the kitchen and he is right on my heels. I look at him. He looks at me and I cry. I haven’t been able to fully digest this situation. I haven’t had the opportunity to really say how I am feeling. That countertop took a beating. I get myself together and start fixing myself a plate. I have to fix Baylor a plate too or her won’t go outside and he will probably tell Cint when she gets back. I keep having to remind myself that this is a dog. He reminds me that it is much more than that. I eat my food, Baylor eats his. I take him for a walk when we are both done. During our walk, I tell him everything that is going on. Dogs are truly man’s best friend. That evening stroll was the best conversation that I had had with anyone. There was no judgement, no hating, no distraction. Just talking and listening. He peed on everything along the way. However, I know he was listening intently. People, including myself, complain about dogs. They especially complain about the way Jacinta treats Baylor as if he is some sort of king. Her reply has always been that dog spelled backwards is GOD. Why wouldn’t you go out of your way for God? I get it now.
After dinner in the “Doom Room” it’s “free time”, ah gee thanks. We are free to walk around the “Doom Room”. Well guess what? We are still in the same “Doom Room” I take this opportunity to call Chic. The line is long so I am hoping that we can talk and I can move out of the way. The phone goes to voicemail. I call Nicole. She answers on the first ring. It’s as if she already knows who it is. She sounds like she is stuffing her face, but she tells me in between bites that Tampa has the worst Ritz Carlton on the planet and she plans to check out this bitch in a few hours once she takes a nap. And they bet not send her a bill either. I tell Nicole that I only have three minutes to talk. Nicole doesn’t live on time limits unless it is for something that she has demanded. Nicole never wants anything. She demands everything! I am asking her about Chic and how he is holding up. She sounds shocked and says, “Do you know that these mother fuckers got a picture of us from homecoming at Hampton in a frame?” Pay attention Nicole. Wait, now I am confused. Nicole where are you? “I am at the sorriest Ritz Carlton in the world ‘Craige’ (from Friday)” “Fool, you are at my house!” In Nicole Binion fashion, what is her response, “No Shit?”
I decide that there is nothing else to do in my free time, so I decide to put a 1000 piece puzzle together. I am siting at the table with John who is reading one of his many mystery novels. I lay the pieces out and decide to ask John what his issue is. As we talk, I learn that John is a devout Catholic. He hates his wife. He doesn’t believe in divorce, so he voluntarily checked himself into the “Doom Room”, because she drove his ass crazy!!! Seriously??? In addition, the food inside of here is much better than the food he was getting at home. I have totally stopped looking for pieces of the puzzle and ask him if he had financial issues. He said no. He is retired from the Navy and he was also a design engineer for Boeing. So clearly money isn’t the issue. I learn that John is frugal. He is not the kind to show off his riches, which I can respect. My culture and myself have a problem with showing off each check we get. Checking into the “Doom Room” was free under his insurance. As long as he kept saying that he wanted to be there, he could stay. So he Baker Acted himself! WOW!
As we are finishing up our conversation, two EMT’s enter from the matrix room. One of them announces that they are there to pick up a patient. I see Aaron going full speed and stating that he is ready to go. After a few signatures, they strap Aaron onto the stretcher, buckle him up, and they are rolling him away. He looks ecstatic. Just for old time sake, he loudly announces that “He is getting the fuck up out of this bitch and he is going to Georgia where they have “Real” hospitals and they can’t extradite your ass back to this shithole”. Some of the patients are cheering. I am carefully taking notes.