The Happiest Place On Earth
Over the course of the past few months, having had the privilege of working at least a week in six different large hospitals spread around the city in which I currently attend medical school, I have found this one constant reassuring place in each hospital where I can achieve these goals and unburden my mind from the cacophany of confused thoughts that are normally racing through it, thoughts such as "Why did the residents tell me to do something they know I, being the lowly medical student, have no power to do?" (that's everything, in case you're keeping score), "How can that girl possibly resist my charm, good looks, and at least marginal social graces?", and the always scintillating "But seriously, what the fuck am I doing here in the first place?"
The residents lounge? The hospital cafeteria? The closet where they keep all the drugs?
You may have already guessed that I am actually referring to...the bathroom.
In what has become a daily rite of passage, I play a game to see how many times I can excuse myself to go to the bathroom while asking as many different people as possible, only to escape to the comfortable confines of the toilet, paper, and sink that is my oasis, if only for a few beautiful minutes. You see, ladies and gentlemen, the bathroom is the only, and I mean only, place in the entire hospital where I am free. Free from patients and their constant smattering of questions I quite obviously don't know the answer to (that's $60,000 of medical school education, and counting). Free from residents and their judging eyes. And, most importantly, free from my medical school collegues, who make up for their lack of common sense and social skills with a persistent desire to ask as many pointless and shallow questions as possible in a pitiful effort to grab attention and feign interest (Bitter? Hardly!). When I'm on my ivory throne (that's the crapper, for those of you not into imagery), I am king of the hospital, master of all who come before me and my imaginary court of wives, jesters, and the occasional palace whore, and...umm...well, maybe I'm taking this a little too far.
Anyways, perhaps the most beautiful thing about this sparkling majesty of white tile and ceramic fixtures is how perfect the bathroom is for explaining away absences. Lets take the all too common event when I have finished all the work for my patients, can in no way help out my residents, but must still sit there and essentially watch them plug away at mounds of useless paperwork. My options are to:
a) Continue sitting there, only to draw their ire and resentment when they look at me and my vacant eyes while they have a million things to do.
b) Get up and wander around, risking the tragic situation of being called by someone else to see something "really interesting!" (which invariably means something coming out of a hole it's not supposed to come out of).
c) Just say I have to go to the bathroom and play the now classic "Hide From My Residents" game.
There's only one clear choice here. What are they going to say? "No! I demand that you crap here and watch me work!"? Not likely. "No! Even though you have nothing to do, hold it until I say you can go!"? Well, I guess I wouldn't be that surprised, but still not likely. "No! Piss on me instead!"? I haven't heard of any R. Kelly sightings at the hospital I'm at now (although I wouldn't be that surprised given it's clientele)...but, again, no. The point I'm trying to make is, when the shit is hitting the fan, the only place I feel safe, comfortable, and at peace is where the shit, having hit the fan, proceeds directly down the pipes. And that's good enough for me.
So this post is for you, my beloved bathroom, for giving me a place to be me.