Any other time in the world, at any other place in the world, I would be diagnosing the hell out of this paper that I have before me. My confidence level in reading legal documents and formal contracts are above average just based on my Executive knowledge and career demonstrations. It is funny how you can sign a document agreeing to do an official ad at Target on Oscar Mayer Bacon for $200k, one week, but I can’t seem to understand the words that are in front of me. The other thing is that if this paperwork was for someone else like Carol or Susan, I would dissect it tell them what changes and terms to negotiate and have the other team sign before close of business. But here I am looking the devil straight in the eye and I am stuck on stupid. I can’t even get past the state of Florida state seal. I am scared to look further down the document. I have not a clue as to what anything is saying and it might as well be in another foreign language.
I didn’t even realize that I was sweating. “GROUP!” Deborah breaks all of my thoughts and everyone slowly but surely is getting in the Group formation chairs. It appears as though John knows exactly what kind of paperwork this is. In a low voice, he says “maybe going to group shouldn’t be your first priority now”. He walks off. Maria even floats by me a few times trying to see what I may do next. It seems like the whole “Doom Room” is watching to see if I am going to come to Group or if I am going to sit there and sign these mysterious documents that I have no clue, it’s contents. I close my eyes and re-open them to make sure that I am seeing and thinking clearly and the truth of the matter is that I am not. My anxiety just hit 10.
The nice receptionist in the hospital lobby looks to be having a nice day. Click… Click… Click. If I were her, I would be sure that I am cursing under my breath that I am even in the city of Tampa and ready to enter into her place of employment. Instead of being a bitch about it, I give her a broad smile, which I think scared her because her facial expression went from nice to “should I be concerned”. “Well hun, you know why I am here and you can obviously see that nothing has changed since you first met me, so lets just make a routine of it and go ahead and call the security escort so that I may see my sister” The receptionist doesn’t even open her mouth. She is doing as I am asking of her and she looks like I just ruined her nicely planned day. I am really not this mean or pushy…… uh….. Let me think about that. I do know that I am loving and caring and that I am fun to be around. Yes, that sounds better.
The receptionist hangs up the phone and from what I can rea on her face, she is questioning whether or not she should go work in billing where she doesn’t have to come in contact with people. I give her a “what’s wrong” look and she says that “someone” will be with me in a second. SOMEONE? Instead of jumping across the receptionist desk and saying to her “Excuse Me”, I remember that I am six months pregnant and I am acting like a goon in a hospital lobby. Back to my reality, I say “ok, thanks!” Smile on my face and everything. Receptionist on the other hand grabs her purse and puts a sign on top of the desk stating that she is on a five minute break. Yeah, that “Someone” coming to see ME is a bit to much for my girl this morning, so I am understanding of her actions and somewhat proud that she is strong enough to get her ass out of Dodge.
I don’t want to come off as the black woman who always has an attitude or “I’m gone kick your ass mentality”. I just want others to know that when you come for me and mine the attitude and ass kicking is what you get in return. Since most black women are faced with this obstacle everyday of their life, it just appears that we are the worst. We are just a great as any other species. But tell me this, what would you do if someone had forcefully separated you from yours. Where I am from, we can’t call the police. We have to go get it for ourselves. So this is what “Go get it for myself looks like”. Chico has been standing off to the side giving Papa Joe updates on the paperwork that we are taking to Jacinta to sign. He gets off the phone when he sees the security escort.
“Hi folks. I know that you are here to have a visitation with a patient that is on a restricted access floor. However, you will have to come back during normal visiting hours..” There is a silence that is deathly and the officer looks content that he has gotten his point across and we are just going to leave. “You got to be fucking kidding me! My wife is on that restricted access floor and I need to see her immediately! I have been trying to put myself in your shoes and imagine that you are just the messenger, but if you don’t make this shit right here go, we gone have a damaging issue!” I am saying all of this with clenched teeth and some spit spewing from my mouth. Nicole, grabs my arm to pull me back from the officer’s face. I am not trying to nut up in front of these people. Jacinta has only heard about me nutting up. She has never seen it. I don’t want to put her or Nicole in a position where they are the ones having to deal with my aftermath. I calm down just a bit. The officer comes out of professional mode and says, “Listen, I get it. If I were you, I would be kicking and screaming too. However, it is my job to enforce the rules here and I can’t lose my job because you two keep coming up in here like yall the mafia or something.”
I look down at the floor. It is not that I feel defeated. It is just everything has to be an obstacle course regarding this situation. I look up at the officer and I tell him that I have some important court documents that are time sensitive. I need my wife to sign these papers so that I can return the documents back to the courthouse. Upon hearing the word “court”, instead of challenging us with why we need to come back later, he gives me another option. “Look, this is what I will do for you. I will take these documents to the restricted floor and ask if one of the authorities on the floor will give these documents to your wife for her to sign. I will reiterate that they are time sensitive and she needs to get them signed and I will bring the signed documents down and give them to you. Will that work?” I can’t even argue with that method. I thank him over and over and he leaves to do his kind gesture. Nicole and I find some seats in the lobby’s waiting area and we sit to wait on the officer to return. She grabs my hand and says “We gone be straight, little big brother! Trust God on this one.” And at that point, I started to pray again.
Now Raul is very persistent. I truly believe that all Latino men are. Sometimes, he just won’t take “no” for an answer. I tell him that I am overwhelmingly behind at work and at home and he tells me that I still gotta eat. He tells me that he is downstairs in the lobby with two deviled crabs from Carmine’s. Now that gets my attention. As I am trying to organize my desk so that when I come back I know what task needs attention first, I call down to my friend that is a clerk at the courthouse to see if she was able to get the right documents sent over for Mrs. Daniel to sign. She goes into her system and says that there have been no updates, but she will definitely keep checking so that we can get it processed STAT. I get up to meet Raul downstairs in the lobby and as I am walking through the “Doom Room”, I see that everyone is in “Group”. I am thinking that there has to be another way to treat people. They are not ignorant they have an illness, so talking to them like they are three is just plain damn disrespectful and you can see the offensiveness that the patients are having to endure. This is what pushes me to come in everyday to make sure that shit gets done to actually help people.
My mother Baker Acted my Papi one night over not bringing home some groceries, that he just simply forgot to get once he left work. They got into an argument and next thing you know my mother calls the cops telling them that my father was crazy. She didn’t realize that they were going to take her literally. She thought that she would call the cops to calm my father down and scare him a bit. She and I don’t get along very well till this day behind that once incident. We were not poor people, we were a family with a lot of people and money was spread thin. Once Papi got admitted into the hospital, he was let go of his job that did the major providing for our family. We had to struggle pretty bad. Other family members pitched in when they could. We would even have dinner plate sales at Marti Maceo, in order to make ends meet. We didn’t not have fancy lawyers or people who could tell us how to get Papi back. I had had enough of him being away just for not remembering to get groceries. I started studying the Baker Act material and went to file a motion myself to get Papi out. He had been in there for over 9 months. He was never the same. As much as my mother says that this was not her fault or that she loved him and didn’t mean any harm, we all have a look that says “You damn sure destroyed him”. Now my father is on permanent disability from the PTSD after being held captive by the Baker Act. Since most of us are older, we are able to work, still live at home, and still help out with the bills. This is why it has been such an issue for me to move with Raul. I have to protect my Papi. I don’t want her to pull another stunt for attention just to get him locked away again. I shake my head and head towards the elevator.
I am pregnant and I am horny and it has been too many days since I have seen my Caleb. I text him a dirty text and we go back and forth. My attention turns to a damn good looking man that has just entered the lobby with a brown paper bag which smells like he only loves me! I clearly forget that I am married, pregnant, with my brother in-law, and in the lobby of a hospital waiting for my sister to sign this paperwork. However, homeboy got me thinking I need to dust off my Spanish and get it poppin! I hear a “ding!” from the elevator and a really pretty chick steps out and runs to hug him. I am hating. She messed up my sight, my nasty thoughts, and now she is throwing in my face that he has deviled crabs from Carmine’s. I am actually tempted to go over there and just bum rush my way into the middle of their lunch. Chico sees me and he says, “Down girl, I promise to hook you up with anything you want to eat once we get these papers turned into the court!” He damn sure better.
Ding! I see the officer come through the matrix room and I think nothing of it. He stops Disgusting and I continue to look down at what is before me. It is almost like I am playing with food. So far, nothing has seemed to work out for me regarding this situation and I am scared and confused. My zoning out is interrupted by Disgusting. I am thinking that he is there to scan my arm and I hold it up. Instead of scanning my bracelet he puts a folder in my hands and tells me that I must be popular. He tells me that I need to sign this so that the guard can take it back downstairs to be processed. See how shit gets confused. Disgusting doesn’t bother to tell me that it is my husband downstairs that is asking for my signature and he needs it stat. I cover my eyes as he walks away. The officer steps back into the matrix room and I am looking at both sets of paperwork and both sets look like they have been written upside down. I look through the second set of documents and it hits me like a ton of bricks. Without even reading the set, I see that Chico has already signed. This must be from Chico. If Chico has sent me something then I am all over it. Just so happen John gets up from “Group” to relieve himself and as he passes me, his eyebrows go up and I am reminded that I need to read my paperwork.