This morning I accidentally went to the wrong hospital for an appointment. I've lived in this city all my life, which makes this particularly disconcerting. Mt. Auburn Hospital and Cambridge Hospital melt into each other in my feeble mind. Years ago, I awoke in Cahill House, a nuthouse attached to Cambridge Hospital. Not knowing where I was (having been delivered there in a less than totally conscious state) I asked the man in the next bed where I was, exactly. He said, "Some psych ward, or something." That much was clear to me. "Which one?" I asked again, staring through the thick screen and bars covering the window next to me. The view didn't help me ascertain my location. It was a city, that I knew, but which one? It was morning, and people looked busy, going this way and that, most of them with coffee in their mitts. My roommate, a handsome, tanned young man with a foreign accent that was difficult to place, said, "Mt. Auburn Hospital." For three days I wandered the halls, attended therapy, shaved with a rubber razor, and ate countless graham crackers while thinking I was at a totally different hospital.
That little bit of misinformation has led to years of inconvenient and embarrassing mistakes. The wrong data was baked right into my mind over several days, and nothing was going to change that. Nothing. Wires had been crossed. Thus, this morning Nancy and I arrived at Mt. Auburn Hospital when we were supposed to be at Cambridge Hospital. "This isn't the right hospital." Nancy told me. "Yes it is." I replied, a bit annoyed. After all, she just moved here from Duluth and had been to the hospital only once.
But she was right. It was so humiliating. I chalked it up to electro-convulsive therapy and the aforementioned experience at Cahill. Why not?
Memory is a fragile thing. At the rate I'm going, I'll be able to hide my own Easter eggs pretty soon. At age 38 my mind is shot, after years of psychiatric drugs and various treatments, along with a strong possibility that my mind was weak and screwed up from the get-go. And there is always the chance that, as a baby, someone dropped me on my soft little bean. Does the five second rule apply to babies dropped on the floor? Pick him up within five seconds and he won't have a ruined brain for life. Maybe someone dropped me on my little fontanel and didn't pick me up within five seconds. Eep.
Friends tell me that they make stupid mistakes like this, just like me. I'd like to believe them.
Some guy, age 20 or so, won't stop calling his brother from the back stoop of their flat, perhaps 200 feet away from my window. "Hey, Ryan!" he yells, over and over again, filling the courtyard with noise from his pie hole. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find Ryan, or grab the fellow doing the yelling and beat the holy hell out of him. Ryan go home, or stop calling for Ryan. Something has got to give. There he goes again. "Ryyyaaaannn!" Somewhere in the distance, a reply. "What?!" A conversation between two people a quarter mile apart is brewing.
This is why guns are dangerous. They compel their own use. I would have shot this prick already if I were packing heat.
But I digress.
What was I talking about?