Yet another beautiful Euro-fusion album, more in the ECM dreamy-laidback style. I am really surprised as should you be that there are so many stunning albums still out there for us to find and bring to light and the fresh soon-to-be-spring air. This is not my discovery but rather that of my collector friend's whom I thank profusely.
I apologize, this week I had to temporarily discontinue the ripping and recording due to an untimely visit to our local emergency room with my wife. For a few days she had been complaining of a sore throat which I conveniently disregarded until it progressed to where she could barely swallow and couldn't speak. My satisfaction at this turn of events (that I would not hear her nagging for some time), was quickly effaced when it sunk in that she had become gravely ill in the course of my neglect. So off we went early in the morning to the local hospital. As expected there were hordes of ill and not ill individuals sitting about in anxious expectation and profound boredom. There were lineups to be waited in everywhere. I was surprised there was a lineup for triage whose purpose is, as I understand, to assess how urgently each person needs to be seen. Unfortunately the wait for said assessment was over a half an hour, and, as you'd expect, several ill people didn't quite make it. A number of them even arrived by ambulance or wheelchair and I encountered them patiently waiting to be triaged by the many nurses, some barely even bipedal. You can easily imagine how enjoyable the staff's day must have been as they gaily socialized and at one point, went for several large carton trays full of 'venti' starbucks coffees. Needless to say once in a while a large paramedic acting as if he was the capt. of the football team in high school would saunter by in his bulky uniform, flirting with the younger nurses in an inappropriately inept manner. After the triage session-- interrupted many times by several senior nurses minutely describing to each other how busy the day had been up until then-- I asked if I would be out to pick up my kids from school (in 7 hours), and her hugely infectious laughter answered that question... I recalled being in comedy clubs where when one individual laughed, it precipitated uproarious delight in everyone in attendance...
So we waited in the large waiting room where, as expected, there were several poor oldsters in wheelchairs, at least one reclining back in his seat appearing to sleep or perhaps unconscious, and at least one small child periodically vomiting into a plastic bag, spreading norovirus all over the room within a ten-foot radius. As you'd imagine there were several small-set and feeble-looking security guards eating muffins while socializing and at least one foul individual whose role was purely to ensure people stayed in the correct lineups. Thus if you strayed from the triage lineup you were instantly remanded back into the proper line, or if you wandered too close to the approach to the next section you were quickly apprehended, sometimes with undue force, and removed back to the first waiting room. This was problematic for the very sick who could barely stand for any length of time, for which his answer was to pull a dirty old coloured plastic chair such as you see in old school auditoriums for them to rest in. A few actually stumbled: I was surprised that, when one fell, an ambulance or stretcher was not called, as this seemed to be the most common form of transport here in the hallway. At any rate it was wonderful to see the number of nurses on duty, it seemed there were more nurses than patients, yet there was no movement whatsoever for those waiting. Very slowly I observed people being called to another section that was closed off by a locked door posted with angry warning signs, and many hours later, when I was almost asleep in a needed nap, we were called to register. I did not quite understand the arcane need of being registered again after the triaging, for I had not seen this type of bureaucracy since a visit years ago to Cambodia where customs involved registering at different booths multiple times in different lines, but I was relieved that we were being moved-- this of course, was a short-lived emotion, as I saw we were simply placed into the large locked inner waiting room, which was smaller, but still entirely filled with sick humans, and there we waited more hours. At that time I noticed a "VIP Seating" waiting room beside us which was completely empty and had a fridge full of juices, couches, and a TV. It was locked of course but I spent many hours examining the different corporate logos advertising themselves on the glass door. As you'd expect there was at least one older, perhaps Italian woman, accompanied by her entire extended family, two suitcases packed, in her nightclothes: her dressing gown and a slip. At one point it seemed someone had ordered a jumbo pepperoni pizza for the whole family and the smell was torture for me. To her credit she did look quite sick, and didn't eat a single slice, but this evidently did not occasion any interest whatsoever among the plentiful nursing staff, who persisted in playing with their stethoscopes with tiny teddybears attached, or simply helped each other fix office supplies like staplers or check people's temperatures very rapidly, so much so that I wondered if it was even possible to get any accuracy in such haste. Nonetheless, they succeeded in discovering that my wife's temperature had gone up, which created a mild sense of urgency among them that very very quickly abated, thankfully, so they could return to their personal affairs. I wondered at one time if perhaps the problem was there were no doctors-- only nurses there-- for such a thick flock of them appeared at times it reminded me of the old stories of billions of passenger pigeons in precolumbian North America, such as after lunch when they had what was evidently some kind of 'grand rounds' involving discussing each other's plans for the weekend (which was still three days away, but obviously eagerly anticipated). There was at least one man who was clearly a drug addict as you can imagine based on his restlessness, his tics, and his facial caricatures of severe pain, not to mention the black t-shirt he wore advertising a heavy metal rock festival. When the nurse called out, "is Mrs. Chan still here?," we had a slight moment of amusement as several widely separated groups of chinese people stood up though it did surprise me that having experienced this before she didn't specify more fully who she meant to call. It occurred to me that possible explanations for this were laziness or the secret desire to provide us all with light entertainment. And for this I was grateful to her. As expected it was many hours before we moved out of this inner waiting room. I was so excited to get the process started I thereby forgot my gloves on the seat and couldn't backtrack to get them as we were not permitted to move backwards in this rigidly followed logistic sequence. "You WILL lose your chance to accompany your wife!" the guard barked at me as I tried to go back-- so I quickly gave up.
There in the next waiting room a nurse quickly reviewed her chart, registered her again, and told us to sit in another waiting area. It seemed interminable... My wife as well began complaining again of the severe pain she was enduring, making the mistake of addressing this to a staff member, and the nurse nodded sympathetically before continuing her conversation with her colleague. Slowly the crowd thinned out, only for more ill individuals to settle in from the previous place... It was yet many hours before this nurse came to us at last, telling us she was now leaving to go home and cook dinner for her family, and invited us to progress to the final waiting room. My heart sank a bit at the morbid terminology and seeing my reaction, she laughed.
"Sorry, we call it the final waiting room...."
"Oh allright, that sounds positive-- It's the last one before we get seen by the doctor?"
"Not really" the nurse answered. "It's just the final one in the green section of the hospital. After that you enter yellow."
"You mean, another waiting room?""Oh yes, of course. You're only going to be in yellow! You still have to wait in red and blue. There are still quite a few more waiting rooms to go buddy, so get ready!" she said cheerfully and walked away with her coat and several plastic grocery bags.
And so there we sit still, in the green section waiting room, waiting to move on to the next waiting room… always wondering if the next one, will be the last one.