I have a problem, I admit it. I could probably watch Law and Order for 16 hours straight; preferably SVU. This evening, I have seen both Martha Plimpton and Henry Winkler implicated in terrible murders and rapes. I started a short story a few weeks ago where the central character has a crush on the guy who plays Elliot on SVU (I mentioned this idea in an earlier post--she's an actress who can only get work in ads for antidepressants or as like the "before" person in other mood stabilizer ads). The character in the story writes letters to the actor playing Elliot and keeps getting signed headshots back from him. I haven't decided if she will actually meet him; probably not, but maybe she'll get a letter back finally, from his agent or whoever reads his mail. In real life, I too sort of kind of like the Elliot guy, even though he's sometimes a dick (or because he is?). However. I have a different relationship with the Criminal Intent show, in large part because of the big goofy guy who plays the lead detective. I feel like I've seen in him in something else, but I can't think of what. Anyway, he always questions the suspects in this kind of stumbly, purposefully dumb ass stuttery way that drives me crazy. Like, who would fall for that? At the same time, he's tall and moderately attractive and has a sense of humor (as much as anyone on any of these shows is allowed to have a sense of humor). So, I pretty much hate him, but then I also find him handsome somehow.
Clearly, once again, we have come down the the same conclusion. I must socialize. I must call people. I must make plans. I must not spend my free time in the library; which is part of what I did today. Of course, they didn't have Amsterdam and I ended up checking out about ten books--a few play collections, short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, Cosmopolis by DeLillo, a new Nick Hornby novel, The Memory Keeper's Daughter (the author also graduated from FSU), and a book by a woman who went to medical school. That whole book appears to be about her experiences in the anatomy lab.
It occurred to me in reading the first few chapters tonight that I've seen more than a normal person's share of dead bodies. I don't mean like bodies at funerals. I mean that when I worked at Northwestern, I dated (?) a guy who was a first year dental student. He took me down to the anatomy lab once and showed me the bodies they were dissecting. His group was dissecting an African American man in his late sixties who had died of lung cancer. Armen opened up the chest cavity and took out each of the organs: This is the heart, these are the lungs, this is the pancreas and I pretended to be very cool about it, but I couldn't stop staring at his half closed eyes and the hair on his body. He had tattoos too, faded blue ones along the inside of his arms. I had to sit down finally because my head started to feel like it was filling with helium. While at Gift of Life, I also saw body parts, and not just in slide shows (though we did get to see those too. I went to one continuing education course called, How You Can Die in the Bathroom. It included a PowerPoint with photos from crime scenes. I can go into detail if you like. I still remember almost every single one). I had a field trip to the Muscoloskeletal Transplantation Foundation which is where they take body parts. I saw a head in a cooler, a disembodied arm, and other pieces waiting to be transmitted to medical schools around the city. I also went with a transplant coordinator once to the hospital to visit a family whose mother had been declared brain dead, which basically means she was legally dead (no blood flow to the brain = no chance of recovery. Ever). The woman was lying in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of her chest. I jumped when he foot moved. The transplant coordinator, Bryan, said it was just a reflex. Then he went to check his email on his Blackberry. I frequently say yes to things like this--yes to going to an anatomy lab, yes to visiting MTF, yes to meeting a family at an ICU, just to see what I will do, if I can handle it. And it's not like I have bad dreams about this. I never dreamt about the cases when I was at GOL, even when I heard the most horrible stories. Instead, I wrote them down, so I would remember. But even so, I don't recall a lot of them. Only like the most tragic or gruesome. I guess I will have to amend my earlier statement about potentially becoming a nurse because I don't think I could deal with the blood, death, and sputum.