My friend Sara works as a nurse on the COVID ward at the Mayo Clinic. Back in May, she was complaining about how hot and uncomfortable her extreme personal protection equipment is. I thought her descriptions of it sounded kind of kinky, so I wrote a short story for her. I was mainly blowing off steam.
A couple of nights ago, she said I should write another short story. I was kind of surprised about that, because I wondered if maybe she didn’t think the first one was too bizarre. She said it was definitely “weird”, but also hilarious.
I used to love to write fiction. It was a great way of escaping the world, especially when I was in graduate school. But now, when I write short stories, they tend to be inspired by real life events rather than my imagination. But anyway, just to indulge Sara, I came up with a story proposal on the fly. I asked her what she thought of a story about a “coven” of 19 nurses, living in a dormitory as they tend to the COVID-19 patients.
There could be a core of nurse characters who live with each other in one unit, ruled by a cranky head nurse named Hilda who refuses to watch anything but medical dramas from the 1970s and 80s and has sexual fantasies about Pernell Roberts and Howard Keel. They could wear the same barbaric PPE and develop friendships as they eat bean dip and drink tequila shots on their nights off work.
Can you tell I recently overdosed on Call the Midwife? Now that’s a great show! Unlike Doctor Foster, the laughable drama I watched on Netflix this week, Call the Midwife has excellent and believable writing, likable characters, and fascinating storylines. I’m also a big fan of Doc Martin, another British medical show with elements of quirky comedy. No, I’m not a Brit, but my earliest years were in Britain and I’ve always had a fondness for the original motherland. Too bad all my ancestors migrated to the United States.
I was trying to post something yesterday, but WordPress was all weird and wouldn’t let me publish. I tried several different browsers and nothing worked, so I decided to just take the day off. It was rainy and depressing outside, so I watched the Netflix documentary about the Challenger disaster. I remember when that happened. I was only 13 years old, and living in Virginia, where we were dealing with a severe ice storm. I was not in school the day the space shuttle blew up because of the storm. The extreme cold was also one reason why the disaster happened.
Watching that series made me remember when I was 12, back in 1984. I had a really cool social studies teacher named Mary Kaylor who made class fun. She used games and “munchie days”, as well as videos… and I distinctly remember that before we’d start talking about the Revolutionary War, she’d discuss current events with us. I remember the fall of that year, Baby Faye was born with a rare heart defect. She was given a baboon’s heart in an effort to keep her alive until a human donor could be found. She died having lived a month. We talked about Baby Faye a lot in that class.
I also remember this teacher talking a lot about the Soviet Union and its leader, Konstantin Chernenko, who only lasted a few months before ill health sent him to the grave. He was a forgettable leader, but I remember him well because of that class. I don’t remember that much else about what we learned that year. She was a really good teacher, though. When I had her, she was very young and just starting her career. I wonder where she is now and if she’s still teaching.
It just goes to show you that you never know how you’ll touch someone. I mostly had very good teachers when I was growing up. They were all decent people, at least, but many of them were also good teachers. Some of them went on to do big things, too. My former homeroom teacher from tenth grade is now president of North Greenville University in South Carolina. I knew him when he was just starting his career, and it’s so cool to see where he is today. We keep in touch on Facebook.
I also had the privilege of attending a small college in Virginia (now a medium sized college). Twenty-six years after graduation, I still know some of the professors there, and they know me. My husband, who went to a much larger and more prestigious university, is flabbergasted by that. Of course, he finished college in 1986.
Anyway… lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the “good old days”. I didn’t realize how good they were back then. I wouldn’t want to relive them, but they are fun to revisit sometimes. And I like to post stuff like this on occasion so people don’t think I’m a total nut.
I’m glad it’s Friday, even though I doubt we’ll do anything special this weekend. COVID-19 is ramping up again over here, so restrictions have been renewed. I would rather stay home than deal with them. Fortunately, I’ve got things I can do, like work with the new dog and practice guitar… and write weird kinky stories for Sara. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow. As for today, we have the heating oil delivery to look forward to… something else that doesn’t happen that much in the United States.