So. I was in the emergency room yesterday. And there was something weird going on there. The people were wonderful, make no mistake. And they were able to communicate very sensitive issues in a completely comfortable atmosphere.
It wasn't so much that I was offended when they repeatedly asked me questions about 'withdrawal from alchohol,' and my drinking habits, as puzzled by their persistence.
The thing is, that wasn't there from the start. They asked me about my drinking at the initial interview, and it wasn't mentioned for a few hours. During that time they did my blood work, and they'd spoken of my liver in tones of golden praise. If they had physical symptoms to lead them to that conclusion, they would have brought them up as the tests were being delivered to me.
But when I was talking to the doctor, there was a moment of silence in the conversation, and suddenly she stared at me intently. It was brief, but I could see her thinking hard. And she says, "Are you a writer?"
I was, of course, stunned by her insight. (If you haven't noticed by now, I'm a sap, and I've written this same story with a different cast of characters quite recently.) "Yeah. Yeah, I am."
"So, have you ever experienced withdrawal from alchohol?"
And I had to answer that question three more times from different people while I was there.
I thought about it. And I thought about it. Okay, the symptoms I was displaying -- nausea, in an emergency-room format, you provide your own details -- were consistent with alcohol withdrawal. Fair enough. But they were consistent with a lot of other things that were mentioned and dropped.
It wasn't until I went to bed that I put the last piece in place.
When the doctor stared at me, she was reading my T-shirt. T-shirt communication is a tricky thing.
I had been wearing my Viable Paradise Writer's Workshop T-shirt. Which marked me as a writer. Writer = Dipso, as is well-known.
So here's a new writer's workshop T-shirt rule.
Running around town? Cool.
Social event? Uncool.
Professional event? Required.
Times when you don't want to be mistaken for some kind of sterno-guzzling wet-brained flammable sot?
Leave it in the drawer, my friends. Leave it in the drawer.