June 08, 2005

Perhaps you've just got dry skin?


Working at a veteran's hospital, you begin to get used to certain things... you know... what you would normally expect. Old guys mostly... talking about the great war, or the "gook" war, or the damn liberals... so forth and so on. Old guys in wheel chairs... old guys hooked up to oxygen tanks... old guys with walkers and canes.

Old guys everywhere.

(For anyone thinking that a hospital is a great place to hook up with some hot doctor woman... the VA hospital does not fall into that category.)

I have spent a little over a year at the VA hospital now... and after that time, you eventually become numb to a great many things, and things others might find funny, sad, life-altering or shocking, you begin to shrug off as just another day on the job.

And then yesterday I saw something I have never seen before:

As I was walking down the hallway from the canteen (what a layperson calls a cafeteria, but the government has to call a canteen), with my co-worker, after having discussed what we hate about our jobs, I took notice of a smell vaguely familiar of lotion.

Yes, I am familiar with the smell of lotion. Fill in whatever depraved thoughts you jack-asses might have, but I'm familiar with it...

So I look around, thinking that maybe it's my female co-worker using lotion. But no... I know it's not for two reasons. 1) She's a sane person, and no sane person would just bust out a bottle of lotion and start "lotioning" up on the way back to the office unless their skin was so chapped and cracked that they were in danger of turning to dust with the slightly breeze. And at that point, being in a hospital, she would do better to go to a doctor. 2) Her lotion smells different. Like plums or something... I don't know. I know it doesn't smell like this kind of lotion. You pick up on things like this when you're stuck in an office together with a woman for a year.

Looking around for the source, I stumble across that which I have never seen before. Before me is a guy, no taller than me. Quite shorter in fact, but not so short as to be called a midget or whatever the politically correct term is. I believe he's one of the "special" workers the VA employs to pick up the recycling every afternoon. You know... an "iSenior!"

He is looking around, almost like he's looking for help. But he's not asking anybody for anything. Just looking. Sad, almost dejected. You never really notice the more shocking or odd things first. Not always anyway. I noticed that he seemed stranded. It wasn't until I began to pass him that I noticed that his face and hands were covered in white goop.

Yes. White goop. Dripping, droopy, semi-clear, semi-white goop. Hands and face.

Now, of course you have all figured out that the source of the lotion smell was probably coming from him. That's what I deduced at least. I didn't bother to confirm this, but given the oddity of the situation, I had my reasons for why.

And of course the white goop was lotion.

But still, you all know you were thinking it. Even my female co-worker was thinking it. She was the one who first said it.

"I hope that was lotion..."

Given the context of things though, and what half of you probably thought when I said that I was familiar with the smell of lotion... and of course Jimmy's experience with lotion and such...

"... at least I think it was."

Maybe it's that I live in Seattle. After all, I seem to have had the most experience with odd things and odd encounters and I live here. Even Aaron had his little "Muthafuckin' Ring Two!" experience in Seattle.

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