Thursday, January 3, 2013

Talk is cheap.

"When the cat took your tongue
I said you took it right back!"

~ Run D.M.C.

The cold air was biting me on my neck as I scooted into the hospital entrance. With shuffling steps I pressed my hands against the glass of the revolving door. The same glass that says "Please Do Not Push The Glass--Door is Automatic." But, man,  I was cold and placing my weight against that door makes it seem like I'll get inside sooner.

Yeah, yeah. You know you do it, too.

So, in I walk. And just as I do, I see this Grady elder trying to get into the disabled entrance next to the revolving doors. She was in a wheel chair, and was doing her very best to get the door ajar enough to roll into it. I quickly stepped over to assist her, an action that isn't unique to me at all at Grady, but one that any person passing by would have done. Folks around Grady are just chivalrous like that.

"I can help you, ma'am," I said. I pulled back the door and, in a rather exaggerated gesture, held my body out of her path against the wall.

"'Preciate you, sugar."

"My pleasure. Is it cold enough out there for you?"

"Cold? Woooo, whatchoo talkin' bout?"

She gave me an animated shudder in her chair. We both chuckled.

"Where are you headed in the hospital?" I queried.


"I was asking you where in the hospital you had to go to this morning."

She narrowed her eyes at me while repeatedly cleaning the front of her teeth off with her tongue. (Why she was doing this, I do not know, but she was so I feel the need to include that part for imagery.)

I'm almost positive that she was giving me the hairy eyeball which, in this case, I did not feel was warranted.

"Everything okay, ma'am?"


"I'm sorry did I say or do something wrong?" I finally asked. Because her hairy eyeball was now even hairier.

"Naaaw. You jest sho' got a whole bunch of questions. Lawd. I woulda got in that door on my own if I knew you was gon' keep me here talkin' like this."

I felt my face get hot, but then a big smile erupted over my face along with a chuckle from deep in my chest. "Daaaang. That's cold."

We both laughed again.

"You's a chatty little thang, ain't you?" She wiped her tongue across her teeth, but this time the sides with a sucking sound. It was actually kind of gross, but since she was a Grady elder and this was already a blogworthy moment, it kind of made me happy instead of grossed out.

"I was about to see if you needed me to push you somewhere to get you there quicker, but since you called me out like that, I changed my mind."

"Baby, this thang is automatic. What I look like rolling a wheelchair with my arms far as I got to go?"

"Aaah. My bad."

"Besides. I'm too old to be pushing my own wheelchair."

"How many years you got under your belt?" I smiled at her innocently.

"Did you just ask me how old I am? How old you is?"

"Forty two."

"Forty two!"

I laughed at her reaction. "Forty two. Yes, ma'am!"


"Whaaat? I look younger than that?"

"Naaww. You jest got a lot of greys in yo' head to be only in your forties. Most folk don't get all that 'til they make 'bout fifty-five. Why you ain't colored it?"

"I used to. Now I kind of like it."

"Gon' make you look older."

"I'm okay with looking my age."

"I said 'older.' Not yo' age."

I nodded my head and smiled while looking down at my feet. "Gotcha."

"You gon' be full on grey by the time you fifty years old. What yo' husband say about all that?"

"Eh. He's cool with it."

"Do he got a lotta grey, too?"

"No, ma'am. He doesn't have any."

"You betta think about that while you let yo' whole head get grey. He gon' look like a young man and you gon' look like a grandmama."

"Dang. That's cold." I couldn't stop laughing at her brutal honesty. She was NOT EVEN joking. Just sucking her teeth, otherwise this was not a joke but some real talk. She took the liberty to say more.

"Even though your face don't look that old grey is funny like that. You gon' look old if you keep letting your hair go like that."

"I hear you."

"Y'all got some kids?"

I took a deep sigh because this could now go anywhere. "Yes, ma'am. We have two boys, seven and six."

"Seven and six! What you doin' forty two years old and got kids that little?"

Uhhh. Didn't know how to answer that.

"They gon' think you the grandmama. You betta color that hair, girl. 'Fore somebody be coming up to you talkin' 'bout you they grandmama."

With that one I just squeezed my eyes shut and tried my best to conceal the laugh that was trying burst out of me.

"Uuuuh, didn't you have somewhere you had to be?" I finally said. "I mean, I wouldn't have held that door for you if I knew you would start busting on my grey hair like this."

She narrowed her eyes again and pointed at me with her long pointer finger. "You got me, baby. Guess I like to talk, too."

We both had a final laugh in unison.

"Have a good day, hear?"

"Yes, ma'am. You, too. And good talking to you."

"Yeah, you was talkin', that's for sure." She threw her head back and laughed good and hard one last time.


After that, she blew the smoke off of her gun and rolled off into the sunset. (Oh, and by sunset I mean toward the Grady E elevators.)


This, my friends, is Grady. And on most days, I really think I was born to work at this place. This? This was absolutely one of those days.

Happy Thursday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . . .ha ha ha. . .Run DMC with "You Talk Too Much."


  1. This is amazing. Love you for writing it!! :)

  2. After chemo my hair came back in white. I liked it, but it did make me look older. I wasn't yet 50 the first time a waitress gave me the senior discount on my food order. I dyed it pretty quickly after that. Then I started wondering when you should stop the foolishness and just grow old gracefully. I think an 80+ year old with jet black hair just looks silly. So I had my hairdresser strip the color out of it and replaced it with gray. That was about 3 years ago. I'm only 55 but I get that discount all the time now. Nobody ever asks, they just give it to me.

  3. I really, really, REALLY needed this laugh today!!

  4. Oh what a laugh. I'm 42 and 9 months and I am embracing the grey after coloring for years. I don't give a damn if it makes me look older or my kids gramma. It is a beautiful silvery grey and I love the way it highlights my dark brown hair. Glad to know that for the time being you are also embracing the grey.

  5. This was hilarious. But I must admit I am 41 and still dyeing my hair and probably will do so until I'm late in years. Oh well. :)

  6. You are the best storyteller. I look forward to your posts! This story literally made me laugh out loud.

  7. And that is why I love the elders, at Grady or anywhere else. I just had an interaction with a 90 year old blind patient who I was called to assist to the bathroom. I started to hold her frail little arm while her other arm held the harness for her dog and she barks, "I'm BLIND, not CRIPPLED, for heaven's sake!" I wanted to laugh but just said "Yes, Mam. Just let me know how to assist you." Which she you can imagine. We even walked her dog. Just a day in the life of a triage nurse at a cancer hospital. Love your stories!

  8. This was hilarious ! I could picture this exchange so vividly. I appreciate the soundtrack too LOL, now that is a Run DMC Classic ! I swear you are my musical twin. I love the way you always match the best music with your messages.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

Related Posts with Thumbnails