And there it goes again.
“Erin, we only have another hour to work before preschool pick-up, could you turn that blasted cell phone off?”
“Sorry, but no, Ellen. The Bazaar is on Friday and I have to put out the fires, grease the cogs..”
“Spare me the clichés and please, please spare me from that grating ringtone.”
“Who lugied in your latte? I like it. But really, it’s not like you have to deal with the hand-wringing volunteers on the other end. So suck it up, Buttercup. What do you care?”
She was right. What did I care? It was a new age/zen crap stanza, but was it really the sound of the panpipes that was driving me bonkers? Truly, it probably wasn’t the tune that bugged me so much as the fact that it was an evil lie! That thing was detonating constantly, and there was NOTHING zen about 97.9% of the calls.
“Erin, to be fair, it may be conjuring up flashbacks from my OB/GYN intern year.”
“I’m feeling a swirling spiral taking us back in time.”
“Well, since you asked…”
It was a particularly bad night on call that had me bouncing between the ER, labor and delivery, and the oncology ward. In fact, there were laboring women lined up in the hallway waiting for empty rooms.
Then the beep came from Unit A. I had just left Unit A. I hefted the beeper in my hand and took a deep breath….
“Breathing is good.”
…and hurled my beeper like I was the geeky girl in a gym class dodgeball game trying to teach the popular girl with the perfectly winged back hair a lesson.
“Like? Weren’t you actually that nerdy chick?”
“Erin, are you grasping that you have already chafed my irritation level to an eight? Can I finish? Anyway…”
My beeper lay smashed at my feet. Relief was my friend for half a doctor-just-did-what second. Then, Abject Panic pushed her rudely aside. As I sweated through my scrubs, I was convinced that an old lady was coding on the oncology floor. Never mind that the code beeper was still snugly clipped to my pocket; Panic is a deceiving witch like that. I scooped the pieces up and rushed to the front desk. The nurse slapped surgical tape, rubber bands, and a doughnut into my open palm.
“The nurse liked me.”
“Okay MacGyver, did it work?”
I had barely snapped the last band in place and wiped the chocolate from my mouth when I was rewarded with a stirring of life from my patient: mew, mew, mew. It worked, but my beep was transformed into a kind of sick mewling. But that distorted “waa, waa” actually made me feel satisfied, like vengeance was mine.
“So I guess it’s not your ringtone, but what it represents.”
“Yeah, I’m going to put my phone on vibrate now.”
“I’d really appreciate that.”
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski