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Tuesday
Oct182011

The Race is On

At the moment, my mother and I have matching wardobes, but her hospital gown is a delightful fabric print, while mine is a more sedate wood pulp green.  I offer my arm to the nurse with a blood pressure cuff and submit to the novelty of being on the opposite side of a bunch of personal questions.  

"You're here for a physical?  Are you having any symptoms?"

"Occasional headaches during stress."

"Do you take recreational drugs?"

"No."

"Particpate in sexual activity with multiple partners?"

"...I'm Catholic."

"Drink alcohol?"

"Not nearly enough, apparently."

She put the chart away, for now it was time for the medical delight of patient cocktail party chatter.  "So what do you do for a living?"

"I'm a writer."

"Oh!  And what do you write about?"

"Right now I'm working on a book about Ohio State's marching band."

"I just love to watch them dot that i."  She stripped the cuff off and studied the readout.  "You're way too young to have blood pressure this elevated."

"I can't imagine where that comes from."

"Let me get your pulse.   Do you go to the football games?" 

I held out my wrist.   "Yes, and every rehearsal I can."

"You see them dot that i?"

"I see them dot the i."

"Oh, that's exciting, right?"

I answered in as much personal detail as I could to a person seeing me in a garment constructed entirely of paper.  Suddenly she dropped my wrist.

"Your heartrate," she said, "is blowing right through the roof.  Like you're running or something.  You sit there and think about puppies and kittens for a minute, and we'll try this again, and then I don't want to hear one single word about sousaphones, or drum majors, or whatever you called it, The Regiment.  You got that?"

"Got it."

She left and I leaned back to stare at the ceiling and contemplate more boring things, such as thermonuclear war.

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