Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The unlonely man

I went for a follow up X-ray this morning but don’t fret, this post has no gory details of innards and such, it’s about the people I saw there. Mainly one of them. G took me, which made it much more fun. We decided to go a bit earlier and have some breakfast at the hospital canteen. I had Eggs Florentine for the first time in my life. It was delicious, other than the fact that the cheese sauce (I thought it was meant to be Hollandaise?) was made from processed cheese. Let me not get into a food review though, I am (again) straying.

I am always struck in hospitals by the invisible fog of emotion. As the electronic doors open, the fresh air from outside rushes in to dilute the flitting-about emotions inside – sadness for sick loved ones, ecstatic happiness for new beings just born, worry for unknown ailings – it swirls and twirls.

We sat at a table on the edge of the canteen, listening to the three ‘older’ ladies two tables away discussing last night’s episode of Survivor, something they obviously do every Tuesday morning, each one religiously sticking up for their favourite animal in the cage contestant.

As we sipped on our café lattes, chatting about all manner of things both of us looked toward the edge of the canteen area as an impeccably dressed man arrived, arranged his filofax and book neatly on a table, folded his jacket neatly on a chair and sat down. He ordered coffee from the waitress and sat with his hands neatly clasped on his lap. She brought the coffee and he ordered some toast and anchovette and ate it, also neatly.

In between his foodly orders he made a few phonecalls (one to the lady he was waiting for, to check he had time for the toast before she arrived, one to somebody (a friend perhaps, or a patient) to see if she was feeling better and had a good night), he received a call (I think from his lover, but that’s just my imagination running away with me) who he told he was waiting for a rep, having some coffee and toast. I sound nosey, don’t I? This was all done loudly, in a coffee shop, at a table near us, so I figure he wasn’t looking for privacy.

This all sounds pretty ordinary doesn’t it? But it wasn’t. You see, throughout all this (between his waitress interactions and phonecalls) he conducted a solid conversation. With himself. Just below hearing level. It was amazing and, as I said to G, what a great way to be! He must never be lonely, having himself as a constant companion, somebody who understands him fully and who he gets along with oh-so-very-well. I guess some people would call him mad.

We should all be so lucky to be that kind of companionable mad, shouldn’t we?

1 comment:

Angela said...

This made me chuckle. And I thought of my old uncle who asked me if I wasn`t lonely - at the time when I was visiting him in America all on my own, at 16, with nobody speaking German and none of my old friends around.
And how surprised I was. No, of course not, I said. After all I have always me along!

Hmmm. I guess I am a bit crazy, and also sometimes talking to myself. But companionable crazy.