So I lost my voice this weekend. For a motivational speaker this is tantamount to catastrophe. By Monday I couldn't even swallow (insert crass joke here). It was time to seek some professional medical attention.
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I went down to SF General. The service was fine, they hooked my ass up. As I write this, I am under the influence of four CHODEINE pills. My doctor told me, again, that I have the cardiovascular system of a 20-year old. But the true reason this place gets five stars is for the entertainment.
As soon as I walk in, I'm taken aback by the heavy police presence. Several of the patients are sporting orange jumpsuits and shackles, with cops in tow. I sit down waiting for the triage nurse.
At this point, I'm feeling gregarious and strike up a conversation with the lady next to me, a chubby, toothless asian with severe psoriasis who keeps stuttering about "dentist, dentist." She claims to be a dancer before stating, "You no jew? You look like the jew."
I am sent up to urgent care. I take a number and enter the waiting room. It smells like The Farts of Jeremy Landman... like rancid salami. Sure enough, one of the chodes sitting there exclaims, not two minutes later, "Bologna has a lot of sulfites."
Glancing about as I sit down, I am surprised that anyone in here even knows what the fuck a sulfite *is*. They are all dressed in non-ironic hipster gear; faded North Face jackets and polyester vests.
Everybody in the room seems to know each other. From what I can gather, it's from jail or the halfway house. A gaggle of white trash tweeker chicks begin reading aloud from some sort of pamphlet about clitoral stimulation. While this goes on, a group of crusty black women alternately praise and threaten violence against their children.
Now the tweekers are discussing "handjobs with vibrating gloves." The least fucked-up-looking one announces, "We is some obstinate girls up in here!" Over the course of the next hour she uses the word obstinate several more times. She is the smart one. Someone asks her if she is pregnant and she takes umbrage. "How I be pregnant muthafukka, I been in jail!"
Meanwhile, her friend dismisses the vibrating glove idea: "Just give me an old-fashioned Harley!" The elder tweekchick of the group pipes in, "Aw hells nah, just give me a bicycle and a dirt road."
A voice erupts from the corner: "You cussin?! Sit yo ass da fuck down befo granma GETS YOU!" Tweeker Chick 1 asks Granma, "That yo boy? Those eyes are god damn beautiful."
Now, a new character enters. It appears to be a crackhead version of Celebguru, of indeterminate gender. It shuffles about muttering gibberish and saying hello to people, as, again, it seems to know everybody from "the home." I can make out a few snippets of English, which include something about its sweater getting stolen while doing "tae bo at the learning center," and the phrase, "I LOVE dem pizza rolls!"
CrackheadCelebguru begins outlining a crude conspiracy theory about 2Pac's death. An elderly dude pipes up, "His name MAKAVELI! MAKAVELI!!" A scary chick with crazyeyes, camo pants and a santa hat goes, "pfft."
A 350 pound woman begins telling her friends in a disgusted tone about some "fat and nasty Mexican" she saw earlier, and she's dead serious.
I'm starting to feel not-so-gregarious.
Just when I think things can't get any worse (better?), fucking NAZIS come in and sit down. Yes, that's right. Nazis. A man with a shaved head and his girl, all covered in tats and wearing bomber jackets. Surprisingly, THEY also know everybody in the room. The elderly "Makaveli" guy, however, begins to glare and freak out, and CrackheadCelebguru mediates the situation by saying, "Calm down mayeng, they ain't botherin nobody, they just Nazi."
You can not make this shit up.
I find myself pondering why everybody here speaks in this ghetto patois. White, black, tranny, they all be talk like dis. I realize: THIS is America.
The entire time, the soap opera "General Hospital" is playing on the television. Several of the people in the room comment on the show and demonstrate knowledge of the plot and characters. CHCG even says, "Dis my FAVORITE... Luke an Laura."
I start to watch the show, with its depictions of whitebread affluence, and realize that for most of my fellow patients, it portrays a world and a lifestyle they will never experience. To them, that world is as ridiculous and amusing as theirs is to me.
Nazi Dude sums it up best: "Yo, THIS is General Hospital. We in it NOW."
We all laugh together.