Bored, bored, bored.
Opportunities for amusement are few and far between.
The activities room, I mostly avoided. I did drop in once a day or so to smile and exchange pleasantries. I thought if Rose got used to seeing me around in a friendly sort of way she might not flutter about so.
One day when I popped in the say hi she was grousing that she could never find anything she was looking for. This was just the opening I was looking for.
“You know, I could organize things for you.” I offered, trying to be ohh so casual.
“Organize?” She said, never had the word seemed so threatening.
“Yes, just you know straighten out your closets, not throw out anything I know I know you don’t get much to buy art supplies with.” (Only 10 bucks a month) “Wouldn’t it be nice to know what you have on hand and to be able to find what you want? I promise I wont throw anything out or make a mess. I just want to help you do your job. You’re expected to fill out so much paperwork there’s hardly anytime for you to do such housekeeping as straightening out your closets.”
She fluttered and twittered nervously.
I comforted and cajoled
Finally she relented.
(How desperate for amusement am I? Reduced to begging to clean someone’s closets that’s how desperate)
I set to work with a will. The first day was the toughest.
“Look I know it’s looks bad, but in order to organize your supplies I have to take them out of the closets.”
She fluttered, she twittered, but with everything dumped out of the closets like a tornado had ripped through them, she couldn’t very well stop me at that point.
The day I had it all done I did the ceremonial revel. Even spoke the magic words “TA DA” As I opened the closet doors. ( The closet lined one wall, in three main sections so a goodly amount of space.
“Ok now over here in this section you have all your soft supplies, scrap material, sewing supplies that sort of thing. Here in the middle section are your ‘hard’ supplies, blocks of wood, dolls (lots and lots of dolls, a large bin overflowing with dolls, I imagine Roses home stuffed with Barbie dolls, and teddy bears. I think of all those beady little eyes staring soullessly at me and I shudder) The used cd,’s (Used cd’s. so many crafty people trying so hard to find some interesting use for those fucking things and they all come up with the same ugly ass mobile. If you can’t find anything useful to do with something, hang it on a string. ) your bits and bobs and thingamajigs and whatnots. This section here,” I throw open the last door. “Is for your basic art supplies, paints, glues, brushes scissors and such like. “
To cap it all off, she had some mini plastic baskets, I created little collage kits out of them, a selection of glue paint scraps of paper and cloth, glitter, feathers and such other little things.
“See you can sit a patient down with this and some paper and just let them play with things.”
She seemed very happy with it all.
I came in the next morning. I can only assume she stayed the entire night disorganizing. Everything was back where it was before I had done anything. Down to the last broken gi joe laying like some battlefield casualty on one cluttered table. It was one of those reality stuttering events as I stood in the door way wondering if the past couple of days had actually happened or if I just dreamed of organizing closets. I really didn’t want to think that I was wasting good dreaming time with closet organizing.
The computer room is next to activities room. There are about a dozen computers with internet access in the small room.
The computers are wildly popular among the mad. From the moment the room opens every computer is occupied. There is a time limit on how long you can use the computer and due to demand a waiting list. I never bother to put my name on the list. It seemed unfair to take computer time from someone who really needed it. These people so removed from the outside world, so removed from normal human contact the computer gives them a chance to connect to people without them shrinking away. On line you don’t know you’re talking to a mad person.
Down the hall from the computer room is the gym. It has so far been opened only once. A couple of yogi teachers dropped by to teach a class. I must say it wasn’t a rousing success. I and two other patients showed up for the class. The others had some trouble with their balance, a not uncommon side effect of many of the medications mental patients are given. The poor lost yogi’s finally resorted to resting stone position. Lay down on the mat flat on your back palms down on the matt and breath, just breath. Two minutes later loud snoring filled the gym as the other patients fell sound asleep.
(Jeeze,I wonder if they would come and teach a class at night?)
The yogis didn’t come back the gym stayed locked.
Between the computer room and the gym was a door that held promise for me. It had a sign on the door, LIBRARY. Frustratingly the door was never open.
Nancy Drew and the mystery of the locked door.
First I interviewed Charles, the gentleman in charge of the computer room. As the Locked Door was right next to the computer room, it was a natural place to start.
Charles looks like George Foreman gone to fat, has a high girly voice and the mincing manner of a lullaby league munchkin. I seem to annoy the guy as he always shoots me the hairy eyeball whenever I pass him in the hall. Like I once kicked his puppy or something.
“I was wondering why the library is never open.” I ask him.
“Library? I didn’t know we had a library?”
I went to Rose and asked her the same question.
And got exactly the same answer.
“Library? I didn’t know we had a library.”
(A door that only I can see. How enticing)
It took me the better part of the morning to find someone who knew the hospital had a library. Anna a little Asian American nurse who runs the little store and other occupational therapies for the patients.
“Why is the library never open?” I ask her.
“Well we don’t have any volunteers to run it.” She tells me.
It was nice to have one problem in my life so easily solved
I got the key from her and entered the library. A little 12 by 15 foot closet with shelves linning two walls, two small couches and a desk and chair.
For two days I unpacked boxes of paperbacks and got everything set up. Westerns, mysteries, romance novels, horror, (there were quite a number of Ann Rice books) I set them all in order, dusted down the furniture then pulled out the chair and sat down at the desk. The Librarian is in.