Today I was a nurse. Well, someone thought I was a nurse. I was at an Asian restaurant tonight, grabbing some lemon chicken. At the register, the cashier asked me how my night was. “Fine” I replied.
“Do you have any plans for the rest of the night?”
“Oh, um… I’m going to go home, eat and try to stay awake until it’s time for bed.”
He asked “Are you a nurse?”
I squinted in confusion as if the sun were in my eyes.
“No” I said, shaking my head slowly.
He nodded toward me, the left of me and I realized I was wearing my sweatshirt with the End the Epidemic logo I designed.
“Oh, because of the syringe?”
“Yeah, that and you look tired. And you mentioned trying to stay awake until it was time for bed…”
“Got it” I said. “No, I’m not a nurse. I just wear this sweatshirt because I lost my sister to the heroin epidemic in May.”
As I was speaking, I was also thinking, “wow, that was almost completely painless”.
“Oh my God” he said. “I’m so sorry. I have two sisters that were heavily into drugs in the 70’s. One has cleaned up, the other… she’s still kind of a mess.”
“I’m sorry to hear that” I said.
We talked for a few more minutes and by the time I got home, I realized the opportunity I’d wasted. Here’s how I imagined the conversation went, had I been a nurse.
“Are you a nurse?”
“Yes” I would say
“Where do you work?” He’d ask.
“Um, at a hospital?”
“What do you do there?”
“What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?”
“Sorry, just trying to make polite conversation…”
“No, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to snap at you. I change bedpans, start IV’s, bring people ice chips… that kind of stuff.”
He would nod, thoughtfully.
Wow. That was WAY LESS INTERESTING than I’d imagined. And really? The first thing I think of for my job description is changing bedpans? WTF?