I look at it this way: You can track pop culture through slavish devotion to, and reading of, NN.C.
Or you can wait for the Washington Post to catch up.
Sweet criminey, but the work just keeps on comin’. Not that this makes me a bad blogger — for you, I always have time — but it does make me a dull boy. Yesterday I finally looked up from my glowing screen, observed a beautiful day in progress outdoors, and made a run for the pool. I sat under an umbrella and read analog media while Kate swam.
A woman nearby was there with three young children. The whole family seemed a little overrevved; after a minor incident between the two little boys, the older boy had a toddler-style meltdown. (And he wasn’t a toddler.) He was actually jumping up and down in front of his mother, demanding justice for his little brother, which I suspect involved beheading or caning. She finally ended the tirade with a backhanded slap to the midsection and a few harsh words in a foreign tongue. The boy shrieked, “I’M NEVER COMING TO THE POOL AGAIN!” and went off to sulk.
After a bit, a man arrived, not dressed for the pool (black socks with Top-Siders — OMG!). He seemed thrilled to see the children, and the children were thrilled to see him. The mother sat as if turned to stone. I went back to my reading, and when I looked up again, he was gone, and mother was screaming at someone on her cell phone. I mean: Screaming. In another language, which I couldn’t identify, but it had many harsh fricatives. This went on at length; people were edging away from her. Finally she slammed the phone shut, sat up and wept for a while behind her sunglasses. In the midst of this, her youngest, a girl of about one, began to wail. She ignored the screaming baby for what seemed like hours. It was a grim, grim scene.
What are you supposed to do at times like these? I mean, if I had three kids under five and a presumably estranged husband, not to mention about 60 pounds of weight to lose, I’d feel like screaming and weeping myself. But to go over and offer her support would be an open acknowledgment that all this stuff is going on in public, which would be embarrassing, and…and…
I went back to my book. Her burden seemed too enormous, not only for her, but for me, too.
And now I have approximately…checking…2,500 words of copy to send singing out of the house by day’s end. Time to cry havoc and let slip.
Maryo said on July 14, 2006 at 3:46 pm
Actually, considering how sharp Robin Givhan’s knife usually is in her WaPo fashion columns, I think the people who make those awful swim dresses got off very, very easy.
mary said on July 14, 2006 at 3:48 pm
Completely off topic, I know, but I wanted to share what’s going on right now at my office. A nurse who graduated nursing school in December, started working here in February in the oncology unit, and was proving to be a really terrific RN, was in a terrible car accident on Wednesday night. He’s been in the ICU here, but he isn’t going to make it. They are harvesting his organs right now. He’s 21 years old. Eight people will recieve organs from him.
His colleagues are devastated. I interviewed this guy, and he was very passionate and committed to his profession, and as so many young nurses do, showed remarkable compassion and insight into human nature. I am constantly amazed at the combination of soul and mind I see in nurses, even the brand new ones. RIP Jose.
brian stouder said on July 14, 2006 at 4:11 pm
Thanks Mary; I have been somewhat off my pins over this rapidly devloping ‘new’ (old) war in the middle east.
But despite the pointless futility that macro-humanity never seems to tire of, your tragic story highlights the boundless, uplifting wonder that is possible at the individual level, and which also happens every day.
nancy said on July 14, 2006 at 5:28 pm
Oh, Mary. That’s awful. What a good guy to be an organ donor, though.
mary said on July 14, 2006 at 5:51 pm
His family agreed to donate the organs, and their priest was there when they were harvested.
This was a new nurse who wanted to be in the oncology unit. That’s really rare. I’ve just gone through another round of interviewing new grad nurses, and by far they want the adrenaline of ER or the low nurse to patient ratio and technology of ICU or basically very happy maternity departments. Nearly no one wants oncology, because generally you deal with some bad outcomes there. Every time I go that unit I see people crying in the hallways, in the waiting area. The nurse manager of that unit is a woman with a great sense of humor and a huge heart, as well as a lifetime of knowledge and experience. She and I go to nursing schools together to talk to classes, and she’s wonderful, fascinating company. We actually are a very successful team at luring young nurses here, mainly because of her real passion for her job and partly because of my arm twisting skills. Its’ a tough day for her right now.