Friday, September 18, 2009
Two Incidents on One Weekend in Michiana
Saturday: tromping. The only sound made by the scores of people walking in the 6 a.m. pre-light was the tromping of athletic shoes on the pavement around the Notre Dame football stadium. Silent, bleary-eyed, coffee-cup-clutching volunteers schlepped toward the yawning (how appropriate) maw of the one open entrance with all of the enthusiasm of gladiators being marched into the arena. It was concession booth clean-up Saturday. From 6—8 a.m., groups of volunteers from various not-for-profits in the area would be removing the winter-spring-summer accumulation of “yuck” from each group’s assigned stand in preparation for the upcoming football season.
Hauling brooms, mops, buckets, rags, cleaning chemicals, and in the case of some knowledgeable veterans, garden hoses as weapons, the crowd of trompers split off into clusters of trompers. Each knot headed toward their designated den down in the warren of cubbyholes, ready to attack the offensive build-up of ickyness that had collected since the close of last season. In just a few weeks, the dim areas would be well-lit and crammed with fans that would be anything but silent—or clean, for that matter. But the trompers were here to begin to fight the good, cleanliness-fight that they would repeat after each of the upcoming seven home games.
As we trompers (Yes, I was a member of that tromping brigade.) came awake and pitched into the task: striving to meet or exceed the posted sanitation and health guidelines, comments and laughter began to liven the job. Exclamations of, “Oh, gross!” and “I’ll clean anything if I have on rubber gloves,” and finally, “There. That’s much better,” punctuated the steady work of disinfecting flat surfaces, pop dispensers, and Domer Dog warmers and cookers. Two hours of cleaning by each team of trompers transformed us into people who left the stadium with lighter steps than when we entered. Exiting into the daylight, there now was a spring in the step of many. Suffering had built character.
Sunday: the long-awaited day of the party. Slicing fruit for the Sangria that I planned to take, I also sliced my thumb. A good, deep slice that hurt a bit, but mostly just left me stunned, starring at the massive blood flow. Rummaging through the junk-drawer for a “sticking plaster,” I wrapped the cut tightly. But, I didn’t really believe that it was a permanent fix. Being from the wait-and-see school, though, so I thought to give it a try. Meantime, just in case, I said in my little, calm voice, “Larry, we may need to go to the emergency room.” Over our years together, I’ve noticed that that little, calm voice gets much more serious attention than my usual, it’s-not-really-a-biggie-I-just-sound-hysterical voice. I wanted him to get his shoes on because I thought that I might need him to drive me there. Sure enough, he was standing by the door, ready to go, in about 10 seconds. I however, remained in wait-and-see mode.
After a few minutes, the unbandaged end of my thumb began to turn blue. Time to loosen the bandage to see what was happening in there. The diagnosis: status quo, still lots of blood. Handy though to do these things in the kitchen; near the sink, clean-up is easy. Also handy that I had adopted the wait-and-see mode. It gave me time to remember that my insurance co-pay for the emergency room was about three times that of an urgent-care center. I had never been to an urgent care center, or “Doc in the Box,” as my friend Patsy calls them, but it seemed to me that in hearing of the exploits of my grandsons, they are there almost weekly with no ill effect, so off I went.
A small amount of paperwork, not too long, minimal pain, five tidy stitches and a co-pay later, I was repaired and sent forth. And, I was sporting a really nifty bandaging job that was so large, it made me feel as though my thumb could cavort around inside it and barely ever touch the actual bandage.
Since it was clear that for that day, I no longer could be trusted with sharp objects, Larry finished preparing the Sangria. We had plenty of time to get to the party to drink it. Sure feels good when the pain stops.