It was my day to work at Sutter. I work the afternoon shift (12;30-4:30) because I'm too lazy to get up and functioning for the morning shift (9:30-12:30). But yesterday afternoon I had a call from the morning person that she had a dental emergency and would not be able to work. She wondered if I could come in a bit early. I told her I could probably be there by 10:30. She said I could then leave at 2:30.
But as it turned out, Walt had a doctor's appointment and needed the car and as it was a cold, grey day and I didn't want to take the bus, I just had him drop me off on his way out of town. Thus I actually arrived at Sutter at 9:30 and, because Walt misunderstood me about what time I wanted him to pick me up, it was 4 before I left, so I pretty much worked 2 shifts.
It was my first time setting up for the day, which involves getting a bunch of stuff from the Auxiliary room and bringing it to the front desk. You pile it all into the wheelchair that then stays at the front desk in case someone needs it.
The wheelchair was folded up and I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to unfold it. I tried everything that clicked or rotated or what all but the damn thing just would not unfold. Naturally there was nobody in the hall to ask for assistance.
I finally collared a woman putting laundry on a cart. She spoke very little English and I had a difficult time making myself understood, but finally dragged her to the auxiliary room to show her my plight. She went to the back of the chair, leaned over, pushed on the seat and the thing opened right up. Did I feel dumb! But now I know how to open the wheelchair when I need to next time.
There were also some New Yorker magazines in the room with a sign saying they were there for the taking, so I took two of them to read, mostly to check out the cartoons.
My desk all set up, finally, I was ready to settle in, only I couldn't log onto the computer. I don't know what I was doing, but my log in was correct and I knew my password was correct. I was finally able to do it, but it took me half a dozen tries, changing capital letters and punctuation. When I finally got it right, I copied it onto my iPhone file so I won't forget next time.
It was a day of firsts. My first time taking something upstairs to the nurse's station, my first time looking for the Patient Services office (there isn't one, but the Patient Services person had left the hour before). A woman was looking for a pay phone and I didn't know where there was one so sent her to the gift shop, and the volunteer there didn't know where there was one. I asked the security people who come by the desk every 20 minutes or so and they didn't know where there was one. Ultimately we all found out that there was a pay phone just a few feet from the information desk, only it doesn't look like a public phone because it's built into the wall.
The one thing I did not do was go to the cafeteria for lunch. I don't know why. I was hungry at lunch time and through the morning the smell of food wafted by the information desk, intermingled with the smell of disinfect when they were cleaning the restrooms. But for some reason I felt uncomfortable going in there. I certainly don't know why. Instead I bought peanuts at the gift shop.
I settled in with the New Yorker. I never actually read the New Yorker because the articles are all the length of novelettes, but I found out you can learn a lot from browsing through the magazine. For one thing, I learned from reading reviews of plays, restaurants, art exhibits and things about people about town that I am no New Yorker. It was like reading about a foreign country.
I was also disappointed in the cartoons. New Yorker cartoons used to be funny. I checked all the cartoons in both magazines and only found on that was mildly amusing. I wonder what the criteria is for getting a cartoon accepted to this magazine....or are those, too, so esoteric that you have to be a New Yorker to "get" them?
I started reading an article about Jeb Bush from September because it looked short, but it was actually five full magazine pages long and morphed into comparisons among all the Republican candidates that scared the bejeezus out of me. The notion that any of those war mongers might take the White House is chilling.
I then read an article that looked like a simple article about oranges which morphed into another four long pages about writing and editing, but also contained more information about oranges than I ever wanted to know. They author intended to write something "short" about oranges, "something under ten thousand words." To put it in context, my reviews all run about 750-800 words so it's difficult for me to think of ten thousand words as being anything "short." He was prompted to write about oranges because there was a machine in Pennsylvania Station that peeled, cut, and squeezed oranges and he stopped there frequently. But he noticed that the color of the oranges seemed to change with the seasons (lighter orange to darker orange) and he wondered why.
Writing the article involved flying to Florida to investigate the orange business. (Nice work if you can get it!) He discovered several dozen people with PhDs in oranges and a citrus library of a hundred thousand titles--scientific papers, mainly, and doctoral dissertations and six thousand books. Who knew there was that much to say about oranges? The article took several months to write and, after submission, was edited down so that most of it was cut. So the rest of this article (which was actually not about oranges at all, but about writing about oranges) involved how one decides what to cut, how to write "short" and the art of article editing. Interesting. I took the magazine home because I still haven't finished it, but it's clear why one does not become rich from writing!
I apparently earned Brownie points for working 6-1/2 hours, though the time pretty much flew by and I enjoyed having the opportunity to sit and finish the book I've been reading for the past month...and to learn all about oranges.
And, best of all, at the end of the day, when I returned everything to the Auxiliary room, I knew how to lock and unlock the wheelchair. Maybe next time I'll get up the courage to enter the cafeteria. Don't want to rush these things.