After the first week-end, I'm pleased to report that I've actually taken my own advice, and "broken the wall," once again, with my little theater group. The first three performances were great fun, and despite the fact that I'm not directing, I truly felt right at home with everyone. Thursday night, after our first performance, I went out drinking with the group, and it was as if a year had never gone by.
Saturday night, we would have gone out...only Corb ended up in the emergency room.
Oh, THAT got your attention?
See, there's one distinct difference between Corb's showering habits and mine...
What? Yes, there certainly IS a point to this...just wait! See, when I shower, I like to soap my body up using bath gel and a scrunchie. I like the smell that it leaves on my skin as a faint reminder, all through the day. Corb, however, is a simpler kind of guy...he prefers a good old bar of Ivory soap. There's just something about the shower gel that's too much for his delicate alabaster skin, you see...particarly one gel that I was buying, from St. Ives, which contains Eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus, it turns out, is Corb's kryptonite. We discovered this a few months ago, when he had a violent reaction and broke out into a rash, all over his hands and other dark crevices. It didn't go away for days.
At the time, I threw out all of my St. Ives, but about a week ago, I was walking down a shopping aisle at the supermarket, and, well...I have to confess. There was a tropical scent that enticed me. It called out to me. Seriously! And so, I decided to buy some more St. Ives. I know, I know! It wasn't a very nice thing to do, but in my defense, I did warn Corb about it, and he was careful not to use it.
Little did we realize, however, that just by using it on my body, it was going to end up on his.
No, not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter! It's just that, after I take a shower, the gel washes off onto the floor, of course, and mixes into the air. This doesn't necessarily all go away, and some of it cames into contact with Corb.
And so, Saturday morning, Corb discovered to his dismay, around noon, that his hands were breaking out in an itchy rash, once again. By six o'clock that night, the rash had spread up his arms.
Then we entered the theater, and learned that whoever was in charge of the college campus had neglected to turn on the air conditioning for the week-end. For those of you who do not live in New England, Saturday was awfully muggy, and by showtime, the 200 people crowded into the auditorium were literally sitting inside a steambath. It was so warm that at one point, the lead actress walked onto the stage in a fur coat and the audience collectively groaned in sympathy.
All this heat did not help Corb's rash any. By around the end of the performance that night, it was on his face, and his ears and eyes were red and itchy.
"Ted," he said, as I sat in the lighting booth with a headset clamped over my ears. "This isn't good."
The last time he had been exposed to kryptonite, the doctor had warned him that, if the rash ever spread to his face, he needed to head straight to the emergency room. It was clearly on his face, this time around. Even I could see the puffiness in his right cheek.
So, instead of going out for drink with the cast that night, we headed off for a ninety minute visit to our friendly local ER.
I've always found emergency rooms to be terribly depressing places, and I have to say, admit, this is particularly true on a Saturday evening. What do you get? Usually people in various stages of intoxication rushing in, because they've done incredibly stupid things. Placed their hands inside blenders. Hammered their feet to the ground, trying to imitate an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon. that sort of thing.
At eleven at night, the Eldredge ER was fairly empty, which made it feel gloomy. Adding to the gloom was the fact that the waiting area was going through a much-needed reconstruction. Faded instructions hung from the faded walls, which desperately needed a fresh coat of paint. One door had hazard tape stretched across it, as though the room it led into had been the scene of a violent crime.
As Corb was escorted off for a round of testing, I sat there in the waiting room, with nothing to read but boring back issues of Sports Illustrated and half of a daily newspaper (the sports section, naturally).
Next to me sat a cheery threesome--two guys and a girl, who had brought in a friend who was being examined. The two men were in their thirties, beefy, of suspicious sexual orientation. The three sat right next to the TV, which hung from the wall. Since I am mortally afraid of strangers, this forced me to concentrate my attention away from the TV, in the opposite direction. That is, after I was done pretending to read all of the sports magazines. Did anyone else know that Dale Earnhart Jr. hates his stepmother?
That meant that my attention was focused on the registration desk. I sat there, listening to the nurses talk excitedly about someone on staff who had received a marriage proposal a few hours earlier.
"You should have seen the look on her face!"
"Well, after all these years...you sure it actually happened?"
After about fifteen minutes, a man stumbled in, about 45 years old, wearing short cut-off jeans, with his shirt off, and worn on top of his head. He was quite tan, as if he had spent a great deal of time in the sun. Although I could only see his back, I could tell that his body appeared tight, with only the hint of a beer belly.
He was with a heavyset woman with dirty blond hair. "Don't worry, baby, I'm all set. I'll be fine, promise," he said to her, his words slurred.
"You sure?" she slurred back at him.
"Yeah yeah yeah. I'm fine, promise!" he said, somewhat loudly. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched them say good-bye. She started to walk out of the lobby, back to her car, so he turned around.
I did a double-take, when I realized that his bare chest was covered in blood. His shirt had been taken off to stop the flow of blood from a wound to his head. The bright red stain contrasted dramatically against the white shirt. He must have been at a party, I thought, and stumbled. Even so, the woman just drove him to the hospital and then left him there?
For the next thirty minutes, I watched his little drama play out. He received the "fast pass" registration, then stumbled to a chair to sit, for a minute. I averted his gaze, choosing instead to pretend to watch the television. Five minutes later, they called him to back to the registration desk and placed him in a wheelchair, where he sat, chin slumped down onto his blood stained chest. They removed the shirt and wrapped his head in gauze.
It was at that point I turned my attention back to the threesome. One of them was talking about a wedding he attended years ago, in Connecticut, for an old college friend. The college friend had a best man that had too much to drink, and somehow, the guy telling the story ended up driving around some town in Connecticut he wasn't familiar with, looking for a hospital.
"And then, when I finally got there, this guy was passed out, so they asked me who he was. And all I knew was his first name! I had no fucking clue who he was beyond that. I didn't even know what was wrong with him! I was like...uhhh...he's Dan...and his last name is...I dunno...and he's here because...I dunno...cause of something..."
Fortunately, Corb saved me from this fascinating conversation. Of course, the first thing he noticed was the bloody guy in the wheelchair. We talked about it on the way home. Corb thought he noticed cuts all over his chest, too.
Corb took some medicine and passed out in about five minutes. Me, I was up a little bit later than that, thinking about the buffalo wing pizza at the theater group's local watering hole. Oh yes, and Corb's all better now...and yes, the St. Ives is in the trash.