Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Until the lease runs out and they're evicted so that a fancy something-or-other can move in, it's a thin, narrow bare bones waiting room that, past a crammed nurses-bill paying-file-getting corner, trickles into a small labyrinth of tiny rooms where patients pee into cups, bleed into tubes and whisper common complaints.

The old Italian lady, one tooth on the bottom, hobbles out of the trickle into the waiting room, her Dominican home attendant behind her. The Italian lady is from the old neighborhood that doesn't exist anymore. You can tell from her accent. And the comfortable way she bosses the home attendant around like she was a baby chicklet needing protection and guidance. "Sit here, no, not there, here, put the bag there..."

They get settled. W, a young Black man sits down. The Italian lady knows him from the waiting room and starts telling him about her current situation.

"I'm waiting for the ambulance, don't feel well. We're going to St. Vincent's."

The home attendant slips into a nap.

W nods concerned. The Italian lady continues.

"Since Easter."

W asks, "Did you have Easter Dinner?"

"Yeah. With Rosie. It's good company."

A tall White guy walks in. There are no more chairs. The nurse calls my name, asks, "You ready?"

The White guy looks at my chair, says. "You're on."

I gather up all my stuff, but not neatly. "I'm ready."