In my line of work it’s not uncommon to get asked very direct, random, and oh-you-are-so-close-to-being-inappropriate questions at times. I’ve been asked if I’m mexican more times than I can count. I’ve been asked if I speak mexican more times than I’ve been asked if I speak spanish. I’ve been called “little mexican girl”, “little indian girl”, and all too often my patients look at me incredulously and say “are you even old enough to be a therapist?” Within the last year or so, I have been asked if I’m philippine about 10 times (which never happened before). But within the group of patients that I’ve really gotten to know over the years, questions get a little more personal. They become a little more daring, a little more shameless in the things that they ask/tell me. For instance, over the past two months two different patients, at two different facilities, on two separate occasions, pretty much told me to stop twiddling my thumbs and have a baby already.
The first time, it was a male patient. He rides around in his electric wheelchair, plays chess, and watches Beyonce concerts in his room all the other 23 hours of the day. Every time he sees me scurrying the halls, or donning the “woman with a mission” look on my face like he calls it “Uh oh, Elina’s got the woman on a mission look”, he tells me he’ll pray for me. So as I was saying, he’s getting inpatient with me, and is ready for me to be a mom. One day in the dining room he called me over and the short conversation went something like this:
“Hey X, what’s up?”
“You have a cat don’t you?”
“Well you need to get rid of it and get you a baby fo’ real.”
All the other gentlemen sitting at the table chuckled, and then agreed.
On another occasion, a sweet little old lady of mine let me know that, quite frankly, it’s time. She’s a devout catholic, and loves answering all my questions about her religion. Today in fact, she taught me all the about the process through which aspiring priests can become bishops aspiring to be cardinals.
“Are you pregnant dear?”
“No, ma’am! Why do you ask?”
“You’re glowing, dear.”
“Oh! Well, I guess I’m that happy to see you!”
(I chuckle awkwardly, and she doesn’t find me the least bit funny.)
Just like that. It’s time she says.
I’m just amazed at what my patients think of and feel totally at liberty to say. And this fact has lead me to the idea of compiling a book for myself of conversations, phrases, statements that have floored me for how witty, funny, ridiculous, nonsensical, and nondescript they are. What Cosby did, but with older adults.
I know I’ve been slow updating this blog, but I have like 3 written drafts I’m working on simultaneously, and 3 other mental drafts fluttering through my mind. So I’m slow, but I’m sure.