The other day I was driving down the street in Springfield, trying to get somewhere quickly because I had approximately 30 minutes to get over an hour’s worth of things done. It seems these days I spend a lot of time trying to cram as much as I possibly can into the couple of days I spend in Springfield so I don’t have to leave the woods on my days off. I work two days a week at a local hospital, and have about an hour between the time I get off and the time I have to meet Arden’s bus. The problem is, about 30 minutes of that hour is the drive time to the bus, so I really only have 30 minutes and it never fails that the places I need to be are nowhere near each other.
On a side note, have y’all tried the Walmart grocery pick up service? Do it! It’ll change your life. Like really CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I may never walk into a grocery store again. Well that isn’t true, but it still is worth the effort to check out this service. It definitely cuts down on the amount of time I spend in grocery stores, and really isn’t that what we all are really searching for in this life?
Back to the story…I was driving to some place or other in a not slow manner and happened to glance to my right before turning left (safety first!) when I noticed an entirely full, intact box of a dozen donuts lying on the side of the road. The lid was open and 12 beautifully glazed Krispy Kreme donuts were lying nestled in their white paper bed and box. It just looked like someone had gently laid them there and walked away. No spillage or squashed donuts on the dirty ground. Just a box of a dozen pristine donuts on the side of the road.
When I was in grade school, I remember a creative writing assignment that involved making up a story from looking at a picture. You know like a picture of a beach or a traffic jam or a baseball field. You would get the picture and then have to write a story about the scene. I used to hate those exercises because I could never think of anything interesting to say other than… “One day we went to the beach” And SCENE! Such a creative young mind.
Over the last few years I have really improved on this imagination exercise. As I mentioned, I work part-time for a local hospital. What I may not have mentioned, is that I work for the morgue. More specifically I work with pictures of past inhabitants of the morgue. I literally SEE DEAD PEOPLE all day long.
Hospitals are legally required to keep records of all coroner case autopsies (both photographs and documents). Needless to say, over the last 50 plus years this particular hospital has been in existence, a lot of people have died. A lot of those people died outside of the hospital and required a coroner’s autopsy and a lot of pictures were taken of those autopsies. (Have I lost you yet? Stay with me.) Until the early 2000s, these photos were kept on slides and in storage cabinets. These cabinets fill what is currently my office. My job is to take these photographs and digitize them so that they can be stored more efficiently. So I spend my two days a week editing and scanning photos of the dead.
What does this have to do with my new-found skill of story creation? Here’s the thing, none of these photos come with any documentation. That information is stored elsewhere. So I only see the pictures. You may think that is gross. At first I did too, but after you’ve seen one kidney, you’ve seen them all (most internal organs when dissected remind me of various fruits and vegetables – tomatoes, cabbage, etc. One time I saw a part of an unknown organ that I swore looked like a cardinal – like the bird! This is how my mind works). These days, I can eat lunch while scanning; I’m pretty impervious to it all. Thankfully there is no smell involved in this process. If I had to smell what I was scanning, we wouldn’t be having this conversation because I wouldn’t have this job!
Anyway, most of the pictures are of internal organs, but each case has at least a few pictures of the scene from which the body was recovered, the body clothed (if they were recovered while wearing clothing), the body not clothed, close ups of wounds, and (my favorite one’s) whatever device may have been used to end the life of the body (two words…buzz saw). The work of scanning can get a bit monotonous, and some of these scenes are quite curious, so I find myself making up stories about how these people came to their ultimate end. I can’t share those stories here because of confidentiality, but suffice it to say, people die in some really strange looking ways!
Not surprisingly, I’ve found this skill of story creating seeping into other areas of my life. Like the donuts on the side of the road.
I know you were wondering how we were going to get back there.
In my mind’s eye, I can see a hurried mom trying to balance the box of donuts in one hand while holding a phone and her keys in the other. Her office is calling because she missed a conference call that she could have sworn she scheduled for 10 a.m., but apparently was to occur at 8:30. It is now 8:45, and she is in serious trouble! She still has to drive across town to drop the donuts at her son’s kindergarten class, because it is his birthday and she said she would bring in donuts. Of course, she should have stopped last night to grab them, but she was feeling guilty when she thought that they might not be as fresh the next day; and she works too much; and she figured she could just go in a few minutes late and take in fresh donuts. But, seriously, why can’t her kid like cupcakes like every other 5 year old in the country!?!?
Of course, her keys are stuck in a way that she can’t get to the door unlock button on the key fob. She’s trying to reschedule the conference call and shake her hand in such a way so she can access the fob. Giving up, she shoves the box on top of the SVU, clicks the button to unlock the door, opens the door, gets in, starts the car and drives away.
The donuts balance precariously on the top of the car. Finally she finishes the now illegal cell phone conversation, and steps a little harder on the gas, taking a right turn a little too fast. The donuts slide off and land impossibly perfect – still in the box at the side of the road.
Our mom drives to her son’s school. Gets out. Goes to the back seat to get the donuts, which of course are not there and realizes what has happened. With tears in her eyes, she runs to the closest gas station and buys 25 packages of mini donuts and delivers them to the school. Upon seeing what she has delivered, her son responds “Mom, I’m so glad you brought THESE kind of donuts, because those Krispy Kreme things are garbage!”
See ya soon!