I got my lifeguard certification when I was a senior in high school, but I was never a lifeguard because the only place that called me back for a job was the mental institution.
“Ya’ll have a pool?” I asked, jealous.
“Yes, and we pay $10 an hour.”
Holy sh*t! That was lot of money, especially in 2001 wages.
“That’s awesome,” I said. “Wait…how many times do the lifeguards actually get in the pool?”
“Average twice a shift,” the lady said.
Holy sh*t. That meant I’d actually have to save someone instead of just blow a whistle and yell “no running.”
I then asked an inappropriate, yet pertinent, question.
“What if someone…is trying to drown themselves?” I asked. “And they’d pull me under when I try to help them?”
I was concerned she didn’t get what I was asking.
“Oh!” the lady said, finally. “No, we don’t let our suicidal patients swim.”
Well you don’t know they’re suicidal until they’re sucking water! I thought.
Instead, I said, “Are you aware that I’m five feet tall?”
I told her I’d have to think about the job offer and call her back, but I never did because I didn’t trust my CPR skills on a non-dummy.
I thought about that this week when I had to call a bunch of mental hospitals for a newspaper article. (The article doesn't involve the pool schedule).
And because irony loves me so much, I’ve been in an unexplained SOUR MOOD all week, and found myself getting irritated with the very people who specialize in emotional disorders and acute psychiatry.
“WELL, WHEN WILL SHE BE IN, THEN??” I demanded to the nurse in charge, exasperated. “WELL, YOU TELL HER THAT I SAID…”
On Tuesday, I came home from work furious for no reason at all, and sat in my massage chair in the living room, but it, too, began to annoy me.
“Want to watch an Office episode?” asked my roommate, who knows exactly what can cheer me up (when I’m normal.)
“NO!” I yelled. “I’M GOING TO TAKE A NAP!!!”
I was still spitting nails when I woke up an hour later, and for some reason went to the grocery store.
I irrationally gave people dirty looks when they were in the same aisle as me.
I almost asked to speak to the manager when they didn’t have my favorite breakfast bar in stock.
“DAMN YOU OATS’ N HONEY!!! I wailed in my head, almost throwing myself onto the empty shelf. "YOU’RE RUINING MY LIFE!!”
Maybe I needed my own lifeguard.
Thankfully, the Chill Out train hit me while I was sleeping last night, because today I feel fine. Dare I say, even cheerful.
And I got a call back from the person at the mental institution! She said New Orleans isn’t the best place for recovering mental patients, and there should be more “transitional” facilities for people to “ease back” into society.
I HEAR YA, I told her. They totally need to stock up on more breakfast bars in this town, too. Cuz that’ll put someone over the edge.
OR AM I