poured out before bed
I glance at my watch as I lock the car door and step toward the parking structure stairs. It is 7:30, leaving me 15 minutes to find the St Elsewhere conference room hosting my small group internal medicine case discussion. Of the 7 hospitals in the medical school collaborative, St Elsewhere is the smallest and the only one I’ve yet to enter in my educational career; I have a general idea of where I need to be this am, but know precious little about the facility itself. It certainly looks uncomplicated from the outside, though – a perfect brick square, with two brightly lit entrances marked “Hospital” and “Emergency.” At the illumination of the little green man, I begin walking toward the entrance marked “Hospital.”
I am halfway across the street when a beat-up maroon car pulls up to the stop light. A head appears outside the driver side window.
“Ma’am! Hey ma’am!”
I step toward the car uncertainly.
“Hey, I’ve seen you around here before. Can you tell me how to find Dr. Jones’ office?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know this hospital well. I know visitor parking is in there and I’m sure there’s an information desk at this entrance, but I can’t tell you much else. Sorry!”
I smile apologetically and continue walking.
Without pause there comes a, “Well can you help me?”
I stop again, eyeing the still-green little light man across the street. “I’m sorry?”
The greasy looking middle aged man shrugs and points to the passenger seat. “Look, why don’t you get in and we can find it together?!”
There comes a soft, high-pitched sound somewhere at the back of my cranium, a flutter in my chest.
“Um…sorry sir, I’ve got a meeting. Hope you find it.” I hightail it across the street, racing the little red number count-down that has replaced my green friend.
For the rest of the day I keep my wits well about me as I try to shake that icky, creepy feeling born of encounters of the unabashedly strange.