Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Hospital

The lobby is finally empty. There are some lingering – a Hispanic child with his coloring book, an Asian-American with those thick-rimmed glasses that evoke a Steve-Urkel stereotype, and an old man with a beard reminiscent of Santa Claus. However, there is nothing magical about this place; it is, in fact, far from it. This is the most boring and realistic of positions to hold, aside from the one eerie light that now illuminates the hallway. When the eighth hour is struck and that minute hand hits the twelve, I am finally free – absolved of my duties, and escorted by the two security guards that define my volunteer experience.
D and N are a strange duo, the former an African American whose gravitational attraction is due to his size and deep voice and easy-going personality, while the latter a short stout Puerto Rican who, due to the culture in which he was raised, doesn’t mind chasing underage girls – or any girl for the matter (he doesn’t like to discriminate). Although he doesn’t seem to catch some of the Dave Chappelle references or the subtle humor between me and D, the three of us are nonetheless a pack of some sort, adjoined by some cosmic coincidence or a mere twist of fate.
“Ready to go?” asks D, and I instinctively hop on the back of the black-and-white golf cart – one of those stereotypical of those douchebag-campus-advisor-pseudo-authorities, but here, the differences lie within the driver. And thus, begins our hourly adventure on the premises. We prowl the landscape, the three of us, on the surface appearing busy, but instead engaged in an eternal conversation that is always cut too short. These are the Monday nights, searching to find a meaning, or pursuing the even-greater fight against never-ending boredom; this is the reason I put up with the menial tediousness of working the front desk where people seem to have an obligation of faith in my all-knowing ability to get exactly what they need. Too many a person waits for that slight head-nod of approval to pass the double doors behind me. But what they don’t know is that they’ve been fooled by a white-collar shirt and a nametag, and that secretly I am just a seventeen year old knowing barely enough to get by, let alone provide the answers to all the questions in his head.
This is one of my many faces, someone I pretend to be, a person of temporary significance, with a meaning, asserting and thus proving my very existence. One day, I hope to take off my masks and find that I, too, am human.

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