I Need To Sit Down! (Tales Of A Dazed And Confused Volunteer)

On Tuesdays I man my post in a medical office building in the suburbs of the City Of Brotherly Love. The hours I put in there are of the volunteer variety, and I’ve been putting them in for the last seven years. Hey, a guy has to do something meaty when he hangs up his spikes from paid employment, or he very well might find himself hopelessly engulfed by his living room sofa. And volunteering is one of the good options for the post-career stage of life — giving back, as millions of people like to say. Yeah, that’s true — I get satisfaction from helping others at this and at my other volunteer gigs. But keeping busy is really more to the point. You’ve got to watch out for that f**king sofa, believe me. Its grip can be ferocious.

The infamous information desk

In the medical office building, which is one small part of an enormous regional health system, I stand behind the information desk from 8:00 AM until noon, doing my best to respond in an accurate and semi-intelligent manner to visitors’ questions and concerns. Though there is a chair behind the desk, I rarely sit in it. I do enough sitting at home.

“What room is Doctor Watson in?” is an example of the questions commonly asked of me. Hey, I know the answer! Do I win a prize? “Take the elevator over there,” I say, pointing my admirably-toned right index finger in the elevator’s direction, “and go up to the second floor. He’s in room 222.”

Or, “Is there a bathroom on this floor?” I’m queried frequently.

“Yes, luckily for you there is,” I answer, pointing to the niche that leads to the female or male loo, depending.

Or, “I don’t have any cash to pay to get out of the parking garage,” many people say to me, regarding the cash-only policy of the multi-level structure behind the medical office building. “What should I do?”

“Well,” I’d like to say, “how about wising up and carrying some money with you at all times? You never know when you’ll need it, genius.”

But instead I tell them that the cashier will ask them to fill out a form so that a bill can be sent their way, and then will raise the gate to let them out.

Another fascinating view of the desk.

None of this sounds too exciting, right? But I like the job, you know. Lots of people come up to me during my shifts, and that volume of situations keeps me on my toes and agrees with me just fine. Still, I get a bigger charge when the unexpected, in addition to the usual, occurs, and once in a while that happens. Now, keep in mind that I medicate myself with LSD on a daily basis, the better to stay in touch with my innermost self, so possibly neither of the following incidents took place two Tuesdays ago. But I’m more than certain that they did.

I was behind the info desk, absentmindedly stroking the three remaining strands of hair on the crown of my head, when a suspicious-looking, middle-aged guy burst in through the main entrance. I say suspicious because a sizeable firearm was poking out of the waistband of his jeans.

“Where’s the Wells Fargo bank branch around here, cuz?” he breathlessly shouted. “I’m lost, and I’m supposed to meet my three partners there in 10 minutes.”

“We’re going to hold up the place. Don’t tell nobody, okay?” he added, nodding at his waistband.

“I won’t, sir,” I said politely, somehow able to mask the panic that was threatening to turn my knees into jelly. “Your secret is safe with me. The bank you’re looking for is three blocks north of here on this same side of the street.”

“Appreciated, amigo,” the guy said as he bolted out the door to the car he’d parked in front of the building.

I took several deep breaths, regrouped and did a pretty good job of putting the incident out of my mind. Next day I read — that is, I’m quite sure I read — about the robbery. It was big news. The newspaper reported that all four participants had been captured by the police, 15 minutes after making their escape, in a nearby McDonald’s where they paid for their Happy Meals with a crisp $100 bill. Their server was in the midst of giving them change when the cops arrived. Apparently one of the bank employees had heard the robbers talking among themselves as they were exiting the bank. “I’m hungry,” one of the bad guys had said. “There’s a Mickey D’s a minute from here. Let’s go, boys. We’ll divvy up the loot after chowing down.”

That’ll teach ‘em. They should have gone to a Burger King instead. The food’s better there.

Anyway, the day’s electric jolts hadn’t ended. That’s because a real looker, somewhere in the second half of her 40s I’d say, came up to me about two hours after the pistol-packer departed. I’m a sucker for real lookers.

“Young man,” she said, eyeing me from head to toe and apparently not noticing that I am 20 or more years her senior, “I dropped my husband off an hour ago for his cardiologist appointment. Then I went shopping at the mall, and now I’m back. He was supposed to meet me here in the lobby after he was through. But he’s gone. Gone, I tell you. I think he skipped off with Susie, the physician’s assistant he’s never been able to keep his eyes off of. The girls at the front desk in the cardiology office looked high and low for him. There was no sign of my Kevin, who never checked in with them, and they couldn’t find that floozy Susie either.”

She took a few steps toward me, coming very close, and then, unbelievably, began to twirl playfully the aforementioned three remaining strands of hair on the crown of my head. “Pretty boy,” she said, “how about you and I go back to my place right now for a coffee and maybe something more? I’ve seen you here before and I’ve always liked your style. I know that you and I would find much in common, if you get my drift. I’m Lola, by the way.”

What? Nothing like this had ever happened to me. Once again I began to feel weak in the knees, not to mention in the head. “Hang on a sec, Lola,” I said. “I need to think. But first I need to sit down, which is something I almost never do here.”

I plopped into the chair behind the information desk and closed my eyes. Almost immediately I found myself in dreamland. When I woke up 10 minutes later, Lola was nowhere in sight. Maybe she’d located Kevin. Or maybe she’d found companionship with the FedEx deliveryman who makes his rounds in the building at about 11:30 on Tuesday mornings. Probably I’ll never know. Whatever, I headed for the parking garage, got into my car and made my way home. I’d had enough excitement for one day.

(If you enjoyed this story, then don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing it. Thanks.)

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57 thoughts on “I Need To Sit Down! (Tales Of A Dazed And Confused Volunteer)

  1. cindy knoke August 10, 2017 / 1:06 am

    Honestly, having banked at WF for 30 years, robbery is too good for them. They make Wall Street robber barons look benign.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 10, 2017 / 9:39 am

      Hi Cindy.
      I never banked with WF, and after reading your comments I definitely never will!

      Thanks for visiting. I appreciate it.

      Like

  2. The Artist's Child August 10, 2017 / 4:23 am

    Love your story. A medical centre can be the scene for all kinds of strange goings on. That is why they make good locations for TV soap operas and dramas. Sounds like an interesting place to be a volunteer and for people watching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 10, 2017 / 9:42 am

      Hello there. Thanks for dropping by.

      This is a pretty good volunteer job. And the hours are right — only four hours a week. More than that might become tedious.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. C C Cedras August 10, 2017 / 7:09 am

    Nothing exciting ever happens to me on Tuesdays. Well, except for last week when the tractor started rolling away from me and clipped me when I reached for the kill switch. Knocked me down. Broke a rib, but at least the tractor didn’t hit anything else before coming to rest. Ice is my new best friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joyce hamilton August 10, 2017 / 7:56 am

    Very funny and wishful thinking. Great that you volunteer !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. S. A. Young August 10, 2017 / 8:49 am

    Hilarious! Reading this made my commute this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Almost Iowa August 10, 2017 / 9:21 am

    “I’m hungry,” one of the bad guys had said. “There’s a Mickey D’s a minute from here. Let’s go, boys. We’ll divvy up the loot after chowing down.”

    In “Bank Robbery for Dummies” an entire chapter is devoted to just this thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Anonymous August 10, 2017 / 10:38 am

    I volunteer at the local Aquarium and for Hospice. In two weeks we do a summer Camp Good Grief for kids who have lost loved ones. The Aquarium is great because these happy kids love it

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cindy raff August 10, 2017 / 11:38 am

    I have two volunteer jobs, amd nothing nearly as exciting happened to me there. Maybe that’s because I have too little imagination and too much to do at both “jobs”
    But you definitely make me wish for more excitement at the library and at the good cupboard!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 10, 2017 / 12:48 pm

      Hello Cindy.
      Like I said to another person who added comments today: You’re doing very good work!

      Like

  9. hairytoegardener August 10, 2017 / 12:00 pm

    Well, you got me to laugh on a bad day!!!! Yep, you don’t want to go home with any Lola’s. You remember what the Kinks sang about Lola…

    Lola
    The Kinks
    “I met her in a club down in North Soho
    Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola
    See-O-L-A cola.
    She walked up to me and she asked me to dance.
    I asked her name and in a dark brown voice she said, “Lola”
    L-O-L-A Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola…” You know the rest.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. hairytoegardener August 10, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    I said the above in jest. I have no problems with Lola of the Kinks actually.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Alyson August 10, 2017 / 2:51 pm

    Another great story from you and now that I’m used to your “style” I’m a lot less gullible! Now that I’ve handed in my notice and leave my paid job in a month, I will indeed have to be wary of that f**king sofa (as you call it). Self-employment beckons however and I have a feeling I will be very busy, but failing that, volunteering does sound like a good way to keep busy and give something back.

    You are obviously very partial to those three remaining strands of hair attached to your crown – Just don’t let those Lola-types interfere with them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 10, 2017 / 3:35 pm

      Alyson, you might want to consider volunteering once a week in the medical building I write about here. It would be a 6,000 mile roundtrip commute for you, but you’ll have fun!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson August 10, 2017 / 5:08 pm

        I’m sure it would be fun but the commute would pose a problem – I’ll stick to something a little more local!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. barrydjd August 10, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    Volunteering to help rob the bank would really have spiced up your day.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Janet Sunderland August 10, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    Hahahahahaha! I should lead such an exciting life. Instead I’m home from Florida, nursing one son and getting him on track with docs, and returned to nurse oldest son who’d injured himself playing golf. Really. Not nearly as exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Cindy August 10, 2017 / 11:15 pm

    Sounds like you found your dream job! But be careful–whatever Lola wants, Lola gets…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. cincinnatibabyhead August 11, 2017 / 12:40 pm

    “Pretty boy”. “I’ve always liked your style” “twirling the 3 remaining strands of hair”. I guess that’s why I tune in. The two shots of the desk really set the scene. You had chuckling from the start. Good one Neil and good one on the volunteering .Soul food.

    Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 11, 2017 / 1:38 pm

      Thanks CB. Glad I gave you a couple of laughs.

      I’ve found volunteering to be a good way to spend some of my time. Keeps me off the sofa!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. K E Garland August 11, 2017 / 3:59 pm

    I don’t know if anyone’s suggested this yet Neil, but maybe you should lay off the LSD for a while lol

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Glen available August 11, 2017 / 5:54 pm

    Hi Neil,

    Everyone seems to agree this account of yours is hilarious and I too wish to say I regard it as being at the very tip of the spear funny wise..

    Keep doing what you’re doing!

    Glen
    Brisbane
    Australia

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Becky August 11, 2017 / 11:08 pm

    The not one but two photos of the desk were a really nice touch. Thanks for the laugh!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 12, 2017 / 6:43 am

      Hello Becky. Thanks for visiting.
      That desk has been a presence in my life for years. I’ll be seeing it again on Tuesday.

      Enjoy the weekend.

      Like

  19. Joanne Sisco August 13, 2017 / 9:04 am

    I’d say you get plenty of exercise with that imagination of your’s running wild 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  20. carolinehelbig August 13, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    What a great story you tell! Made me laugh (especially the part about the robbers at McDonald’s). I’ve been toying with volunteering at our local hospital, and this story has moved me a step closer. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 13, 2017 / 2:19 pm

      Hello there. Thanks for adding your thoughts.
      Probably you’d enjoy volunteering at the hospital. Likely there’s a variety of jobs there that you could choose from.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Aunt Beulah August 13, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    All that couch sitting must improve your powers of observation, because not a thing got by you that Tuesday — except for the ten minutes you napped, of course, a skill also abetted by couch-sitting I would surmise.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. camparigirl August 15, 2017 / 8:14 pm

    Nothing that exciting happens to me when I volunteer at the hospital! But then again, all the people I interact with are stuck in a bed. Lots of great stories though.

    Liked by 1 person

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