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Alright…so when I accepted the job, I didn’t know about the parking situation. Which is that there isn’t parking at the hospital.

The only way you get to park in the garages or lots directly beside the hospital is if you’re a physician or are fairly high ranking in your department. Or if you have yeeeeeears of seniority.

The rest of us get to park at lots that are leased by the hospital. Sketchy lots. Filled with broken glass and weeds. Surrounded by houses with the windows boarded up or with the glass broken out so that the sheets pinned up by long-gone residents trail out over the loose roof shingles that cover the houses in place of siding.

It’s a poor neighborhood, and I don’t hold that against them…really. But it’s unbelievable to me that the original builders of the hospital thought that it would “revitalize” the neighborhood. Um. Nope. That did not happen, as far as I can tell.

Also it upsets me on a personal level because the neighborhood is filled with brick 1930s houses that are the same style as the one I grew up in…it’s like driving through a ruined version of my childhood every day. I think a lot about a Thomas Ligotti story about a character who works at a library early in the mornings and takes a bus through a similar neighborhood…that story’s so good, but this was never a way I imagined myself engaging with it…

And then once one gets to the sketchy lot, one must wait for the shuttle to pick us up. And I COULD be wrong, but for a company that has over 11,000 employees, shuttling us to and from the main hospital in groups of 14 seems very inefficient. But this is the way it is.

If you miss the shuttle, or if there aren’t enough seats, you could be waiting up to 20 minutes for the next one. And then you have to drive back to the hospital, which for me takes literally 5 minutes, but for the shuttle drivers, it somehow takes 15.

So I HAVE to get there a minimum of 30 minutes early, and make sure I get a spot on that shuttle JUST SO I CAN BE ON TIME. This is, of course, the only reason I can think of to explain away Jester’s claim that almost every night, at some point I sit bolt-upright and look around in a panic before lying back down and being immediately asleep.

Because I’m terrified of being late again and getting fired, so sub-conscious me wakes up just to check that it’s not time to leave yet. And of course we wake up now at 4am to be there at 7, so I can’t even judge the time based on whether it is dark out or whether I hear birds outside, because at 4am the birds aren’t usually that loud yet and also it’s still actually nighttime out…

So that is my morning now, but my commute troubles don’t end there. Getting home makes me want to claw my eyes out because it’s so stupid.

After I clock out, I sit outside and wait for 15-20 minutes. Then we have a 15-20 minute ride to the broken down lot. All the while, I am just hoping and hoping that I’m being paranoid when I keep thinking that I didn’t lock the car and I’ll get there just to find out that Erika’s been car-napped and that I have no way home from the bad neighborhood…one time I couldn’t park in the side of the lot I usually park in, and I did get super upset because I couldn’t find my car and walked around for maybe a whole two minutes before I spotted her.

It was a terrifying two minutes…

So once I’m finally IN the car, it is already busy on the roads downtown, so it takes me a minimum of 50 minutes to get home, when it is a 25 minute drive between our apartment and the hospital when there isn’t traffic.

It SUCKS.

I can get to my parents house within 20 minutes from the hospital though, even when I leave in the middle of rush hour. So I go see them more often now if I already know Jester will still be at work for a while. No reason for me to try and get home if there’s nobody even there.

So, yeah…that has so far been one of the most frustrating things that isn’t directly related to my job but is still having a huge impact on my daily routines. I’ve tried taking a different route, but the problem I have with that is that it’s on city streets where I have to keep stopping for traffic lights and busses, so I end up taking almost just as long…but without people doing all the dangerous things they try to do on the highway when there is traffic.

Can’t win no matter what I do, I guess.

Next episode, we’ll talk uniforms…………..

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