I had cause to visit a hospital last night.
I hadn’t intended going anywhere but these things crop up in life to ambush us, so off I went into Dublin’s rush hour.
I found parking easily enough which was a miracle in itself. I then started walking. The next thing I noticed was that they no longer had those fucking loudspeakers blaring Anti-Smoker warnings about the whole place being “smoke free”. At least the smokers get some peace now when enjoying a fag.
Inside the vast entrance atrium there are a couple of miraculous boards, like airport arrivals boards only ten times bigger. They are miraculous because they somehow manage to list every single room, ward, operating theatre, department, office, shop and café except the ward I want. I have noticed this phenomenon before – it is really weird.
I asked a very bored sounding bloke in Information where the ward was. Simple. Up the corridor, turn left, second right and up to the floor above.
And I walked further.
I took a few turns.
I found a stairs but they chose the top of the stairs to announce that there was no fucking entry to the wards.
I eventually found the place I was looking for, more by dint of luck than anything.
In the course of the visit we went for a smoke. Well, actually I didn’t go for a smoke as I had left my pipe in the car which was miles away by now. We went out another door into another carpark in a part of Dublin I didn’t recognise. Though on second thoughts, we were probably in Cork or Galway or somewhere.
The smoking area was easy to find – a nice bench under an old oak tree surrounded by cigarette butts and a huge NO SMOKING sign. So we sat and I didn’t smoke. That pissed me off as No Smoking signs always give me the urge to light up.
Eventually it was time to go home.
I left the ward and got lost. The place was a maze of corridors most of which ended in locked doors. Walking along one of those corridors which stretched to infinity ahead of me, I suddenly had a vision of James Reilly. striding towards me with a crowd of arse-licking administrators trailing behind. You know James Reilly? That fat arrogant cunt who used to be our “health minister” and spent his entire term in office hounding smokers and having orgasms over plain packs? He wasn’t there of course, and it was all in my imagination, even though I could see him as clear as day. Weird.
After getting lost several more times I eventually found the main entrance and made my way to the car [paying a fiver for the privilege of getting out of the carpark]
It was then I realised I had parked under another massive NO SMOKING sign.
I fired up the pipe.