Thursday, November 30, 2006
Yesterday was really-really old people's day at the hospital. They were everywhere. Those who know me know that in general I really-really like really-really old people. Especially the funny ones that aren't bitter or grumpy and don't smell too bad.
So I had to pee. I go into the bathroom and all the stalls are taken up. This is no surprise as women here take longer to pee than any country in the world. I could tell you stories. I could show you the research. I could. But just believe me for now.
I hear a click and look over to see a tiny (no taller than my knee) extremely elderly woman hobbling from the middle stall. I notice she has a urine cup in one hand. I notice it hardly has any urine in it at all. I think to myself, 'Hm, I guess when you get that old you don't pee much.' I smile at her, let her pass, and go into the stall.
Stalls here are ridiculously narrow. They seal nicely -- unlike quite a few back home I can vividly recall -- so you don't have to worry about people looking under or through great gaping cracks that run from wobbly door to flimsy wall panel-thing. Yes, there is privacy. But they are so narrow that it is a trick to get in, maneuver and not touch the walls -- I got a thing about bathroom walls, ever since the spider incident.
I edge in sideways and the door swings shut behind me. I lock it. I turn carefully and to my horror I realize there is pee everywhere. It is something out of a slasher horror flick, but in yellow. I mean on the toilet seat, all over the floor. I kid you not when I say up the walls. I gag. I think, 'My God, that woman had to be a hermaphrodite to do all this!'. I rip off toilet paper to use to unlock the door and escape only to realize even the paper is damp!
I pull the collar of my shirt up over my mouth and nose and flee but not before seeing that someone (another old woman?) has left their cup of urine just sitting on the floor. It was entirely too full. Maybe my only bit of good luck that day was that I managed NOT to kick it over.
I have decided to hold it till I get home.
Of course, as I leave there is a line of women waiting to get in. One enters the Horror Stall just as I leap out. I wash my hands thoroughly just wanting to leave, leave, leave! when I hear a scream. She reopens the door, an obvious case of mild shock, and looks at me -- enormous evil foreign lady -- and says, 'You...You...'. I say, "It ain't mine and I didn't do it!" And then before I bolt, "Get a nurse to take care of it." I know that she or no one else in that line believes me. Living here I know exactly how that big guy in The Green Mile feels. I do. I get blamed for everything, I do.
I find a seat far away and try to recover when one of the really-really old men comes up and sits besides me. He is covered in blood and laughing. Huh? He leans over to me, "It took them twenty minutes, they couldn't find the blood, the blood! then when they found it, Kaboom!'
I'm gonna puke.
Instead I make it home. I decide to take the dog for a walk get some fresh air. I get half a block before I notice a whole gaggle of neighbors. That means something...I think. While I'm debating whether or not to see what's up a lady comes up from behind. She tells me that one of our neighbors died the other day. She explains in great details how he was working on the docks and fell some 6 meters and broke every bone in his body, he had so much internal bleeding that his entire head turned red and swelled up. Oh lord, I'm gonna be sick again.
Stay, she says.
No, I say.
Really, the more the merrier, she says.
Dog really needs to wee, I say.
Look, he's already done, she says.
Stupid bad timing dog, I think.
So, we all lolly gag around and I am not sure what is up. I figure it is probably not cool to ask. I am not in black (as they all are) and I am praying that this isn't the wake because I can't stomach a room full of incense and a man with a head swollen and full of blood.
As it turns out, it was just the Send Off. Which means: The hearse (a black mini van in this case) drives by with the body and we all bow our heads and think/pray something kind while the driver honks this odd tune. Me? I'm also trying to keep my spastic dog from getting run over or humping the neighbor lady's leg. I notice that as they drive by there is a monk with his prayer beads out and he is very obviously pointing to me. I imagine even he suspects me of the bathroom spraying.
*The picture is of the notice that went around the day before. I was going to do a blog on these circular notices they do here announcing everything from festivals and changed garbage pick up days to... funerals. So yea, I took a picture of this one. He was only fifty fifty years old. Poor guy. God Bless.