Saturday, May 15, 2010

Or Maybe It's Because I Just Have One of Those Faces

So the nurse came and...........................................went yesterday.  She was a very chatty lass who was all about the testifying.

Chloe, who is now home from college and has a new job waitressing at the local barbecue joint (yay!) was here, too.  To be more specific, she was working on her butt-groove in the loveseat just like she does everything else.  Driven.  Goal-oriented.  Successfully.  Let's just say if she could have a G.P.A. for butt-groove wear, she'd have a 4.0.  Her butt groove would qualify her for high honors.  Is that cum laude or the other one.  Anyway, now this just sounds like a dirty post which it is not.

So there I was trying not to make eye contact with the scales Nurse Chatty had placed without comment on my kitchen floor (good thing I mopped ten minutes before she got there or those scales may have become a permanent fixture on that sticky mess) and Nurse Chatty was opening sterile plastic packages of medical supplies with her teeth and talking to me about her ex-cheating-husband and the three guys she's met on Plenty o' Fish and Chloe was in the next room fusing with the loveseat when Nurse Chatty tells me that upon her husband's last escapade of illicit sex and such, GOD spoke to her and told her what to say to him and what to do.

I tried to maintain an air of complete  not-about-to-run-screaming-from-the-room-ility?  Criminy, is there even a word for that demeanor one tries to maintain when confronted with something just short of shocking and not exactly not amusing?  What does incredulous mean, anyway?

Okay, yes, yes, I live in the Bible Belt and should be used to this religious-speak by now, but it wasn't so much the testifying, but Nurse Chatty's complete lack of self-consciousness when talking to a stranger about intimate details of her life and then dragging her god and his voice into it.  I was knocked back a little on my heels, I suppose.  I mean, I'd apologized to her because the house still smelled of bacon from that morning's breakfast.  (Honestly, I was relieved the bacon smell masked the eau de cat)  I'd been concerned about an overpowering bacon/cat smell and she was telling me about how her husband's new woman had spurned her attempts to pray for her.

For the record, she didn't mind the bacon scent at all.  "Oh don't you worry about that.  You wouldn't believe the smells in some of the houses I go into.  It's enough to make you cry for the people who live there."  I hoped she couldn't smell those cat undertones.  Or even if she did, she certainly was gracious about it.

So anyway, there we were, her personal stuff out there for discussion, me still fretting about my little white weight lie and Chloe becoming one with the leather.

I smiled and tried to keep my blood pressure from betraying my sense of anxiety on both our behalfs.  And then Chloe got up to switch out the dvd she was watching.  I glanced at her as she walked across the living room.  Yes, you guessed it - we made eye contact.  And I sucked in my lips trying not to laugh and that's when Nurse Chatty looked right at me.  Quick!  What does one do?

I did what anyone who's been living here as long as we have would do.  I smiled, "Well, bless your heart."

It's the only proper thing one can do in that situation, of course.  And she smiled.  "Thank you for listening to me.  I haven't told anyone this stuff.  Except for my pastor."

I swear, when I was finishing college and took that What Color Is Your Parachute Test (okay, I know, that was bad timing, maybe taking that test before spending all the time and money on a degree would have made more sense) the results announced that I should be a minister, rabbi, writer (ahem), teacher, psychologist or some kind of therapist.

Silly me.  I thought it was a joke, that test, because it never did tell me what color my parachute was.


  1. See what you miss, Lisa, by living in the Bible Belt but not getting speared by the buckle? I grew up with this stuff, and it never ceases to amaze me--or tickle my ribs.

    I once knew a woman who said (and later testified in court) after her no-count, womanizing husband got drunk and passed out, God told her to sew him up tight in a bed sheet, get a broomstick, and beat the living hell out of him. The judge gave her probation. The rest of us put her in purgatory. Everyone was afraid to get too close in case she got another message from on high...

    Of course, the nurse spilled her guts to you. I bet dozens of others have, too. You're one of those great people who can listen compassionately without getting sucked in. It's a rare art--one most ministers never master, by the way!

  2. "Bless your heart," was the perfect thing to say. You may not have been born in the South, but you have adapted to the culture.

    Well done.

    Is she coming back?

  3. Good post, Lisa. Your Nurse-Chatty would make a great character. I'm not clear on what she is doing at your house, though. Or is there a fine line between life and fiction? ;-)

  4. I live in Nebraska, which is not really a bible belt...more of a I-work-hard-and-expect-you-to-as-well-missy! place.

    I find that nodding sympathetically is just a good idea, unless they are talking about how stupid Obama is, then I get out my big snide remarks and start spouting stats.

    It amazes me what people just tell you in elevators too when you work in a hospital. ("I'm here to see my slut of a daughter in law. We aren't even sure the baby is my son's....")

  5. damn. I need to make time to visit your blog more often! (also probably to mop my kitchen floor, thanks for the reminder!) afraid I would not have had any clue what to say to this nurse. nice save!

  6. well, Lisa, bless your heart for being so gracious about it. God only knows what sort of wisdom I would have been compelled to share, had it been me.
    Self control of the mouth-valve is not one of my strong points.

  7. She was probably expecting you to have a story to share about what you do in similar circumstances. 'Bless your heart' was indeed the best response but I have a feeling you and Chloe may have indulged a giggling fit as soon as you closed the front door.

  8. Wow, I'm so glad that the nurse that came to our house for our life insurance "stats" wasn't like that! I can't imagine how Iwanski would have handled that conversation...but now I wish that it would have happened to us, just to see what his reaction would have been. *hee hee*

    Glad you survived it with a touch of "bless your heart" fake-ass warmth. *grin*

  9. i was not aware there was a problem with a house smelling like bacon.
    i nows has to rethink my whole life strategery

  10. Laws, girl, you ain't never heard of God talking to nobody before?

    You can't do better than "bless your heart" -- unless it's a "bless your little pea-pickin' heart," delivered with just a hint of sarcasm, as my mom used to do. Wait a second, she actually still does it, and come to think of it said that over the phone recently, mocking my troubles (but gently, you know, only slightly enjoying herself).

    The fun thing about that phrase is, if you say it to somebody else about that Nurse, it will mean, "She's just so messed up, it's terrible." ;)

    Hilarious writing. Very enjoyable to read. Thanks for that, Lisa.

  11. Holy shit. One good thing, she's now on your side. And yes, that is a good thing. Kudos. No way would I have been able to force myself through that.

  12. Tee hee ... I love all the inflections that "Bless your heart" can imply ... Sometimes that phrase is a lifesaver, eh? ;-D

    ... and yes, do tell: what happened after Nurse Chatty left the house and was out of earshot?

  13. Evidently I have one of those faces too- you put me in mind of the time that my batshit crazy stepmotherinlaw 'witnessed' to me that GAWD had spoken to her, in tongues, as she was driving through a busy interchange in Dallas. GAWD, apparently, in tongues, told her to slow down, which she did, just in time to avoid the semi that promptly crushed 2 cars in front of her. Thus, she was saved to witness again, by her logic.

    I, however, couldn't help but have some pity for the poor semi-driver who was just trying to merge into traffic, only to be distracted by the crazy-lady volvo driver yapping to herself and slobbering all over the windows. Poor guy.

    I don't know the word for the look your supposed to have when people tell you crazy shit like that either.


And then you say....

(Comments submitted four or more days after a post is published won't appear immediately. They go into comment moderation to cut down on spam.)