Thursday evening -- after a long Wednesday night followed by a very long day -- I found myself at an open bar at one of my favorite ale houses in the city. But wait. We had to be up and at 'em for the next morning's 5:30 a.m. run. 5:30 a.m. In the morning. The night after an open bar. In theory, one would think there is a simple solution to this: exercise self control. Of course. No biggie, I thought. I swing that all the time. I had a big 20-mile training run coming up on Saturday and should definitely not be consuming anything but complex carbs and water on Thursday night anyway. It would be fine. Self control would prevail. HA. I KNOW RIGHT? Self control? Have I ever met myself?
But before I ever reached that very fine line of "just one beer" and "please keep my tab open," I was catching up with a co-worker who I hadn't seen in a while.
"What's new and exciting in your life?" she asked.
"New and exciting?"
"Yeah tell me a funny story. I feel like you always have exciting and funny stories."
"I ... well ... yeah ... well one time last week ... umm ... I got nothing?"
One hour later I was wearing a wig and ordering another round of shots while two of my co-workers were on stage the bringing the house down with a searing blues rendition of the Happy Birthday song during open mic night. Soooo there's that. When we finally did stumble back to our hotel rooms a few hours later, I picked up my phone and read a text message from another of my co-workers, "Bridge, don't freak out or the others. Don't tell them until the nite is over. I'm at the Jefferson ER. They think my thyroid is infected."
Per usual, I followed my instructions: "WOAH, WOAH, WOAH, Ed's* in the hospital, everyone! LET'S GO!" Three of us marched through the lobby as a final straggler walked in the front door of the hotel on her way to bed.
"Where are YOU guys going?" she asked bubbily, suspicious, possibly, that we might possibly be off to a really great party without her. Because where else would we be going at 2 in the morning?
"Ed's in the ER," I replied.
"Oh my god, I'll come!"
"You don't have to come, we got this. You should go to bed."
"Are you SERIOUS? I love the ER, I'm totally coming."
"You love ...? Welp I can't argue with that. Let's gooooo!"
So off we went through the city streets the few blocks to the emergency room, which in retrospect, we really did make into a pretty good party. When we got there, it wasn't hard to find Ed among the other miserable, bleeding masses who you would expect to be hanging out in an inner city emergency room at 2 a.m. on a Friday morning.
"ED! We came for you! We found you! We're here!"
"What are you guys DOING here?"
"We're here for you. We've got it under control."
"I don't really think --"
"SHHH. We got this."
The straggler marched over to the drowsy security guard to get some details on the triage situation.
"Excuse me, sir? Do you know how long it will take until our friend is seen?" she asked.
"I have no idea, sweetie."
"Okay, but if you had to guess?"
"I just don't know."
"What if we danced for you? Then would he be seen sooner?"
"What if we danced anyway?"
Meanwhile, I was in the corner trying to figure out why the vending machine was not accepting my quarters. I was parched and if I didn't get some liquid soon I was about to get rull rowdy. A man with a thickly bandaged hand who happened to have the great misfortune of sitting next to me eventually turned and helped me get that very necessary bottle of water.
"Wow. Thanks, man." I said. "I really needed that."
"So ..." I pointed to his hand. "Why are you here?"
Which is why I spent the next 20 minutes discussing the dangers of hanging your own shingles. Or maybe it was siding. Possibly gutters. Either way, I will certainly not be doing it any time soon.
Each time the nurse came out to call a new patient to the back we all jumped from our seats.
"Ed? Are you gonna say Ed? It's Ed right?"
"Ethel. Ethel Huntingdon." The nurse smiled at us with what was either contempt or amusement while One of Us Who Shall Not be Named But Was Definitely Not Me danced around the security desk.
"Wow," Bandaged Hand Man turned to me. "You guys are, like ... really nice."
"Actually, we're all pretty big assholes. We just sometimes do nice things. And don't tell anyone, but ..." I leaned in to whisper, "we're all kind of drunk."
Bandaged Hand Man nodded sagely.
A few hours later I was sitting in the examining room with Ed quizzing the doctor sternly because I was kind of over this whole "let's hang out in the ER in the middle of the night" thing and I already drank all my water and when you're a young doctor stuck on the night shift I bet you just love being aggressively quizzed by a slurring, barely comprehensible blond girl at 5 in the morning.
At exactly 5:15 a.m., after they finally wheeled Ed away for X-rays, I made my way through the hospital corridors, made a few wrong turns and walked past Bandaged Hand Man sitting in an exam room.
"HEY!" I popped my head in. "You're still here! Good luck with the hand, man!"
He excitedly raised his freshly bandaged hand in a salute. "OH HI! THANKS! GOODBYE! GOOD LUCK WITH ... LIFE!"
Do I look like I need it? Don't answer that. I emerged from the hospital's revolving door into the dark Philadelphia streets, bleary-eyed and disoriented with a bad taste of Staying Out All Night in my mouth. I looked at my watch. The run! The run was in 15 minutes. I started walking towards the hotel when I saw a runner pass me on the opposite side of the street. So I did the only thing I could think of at the time ... I buttoned my pea coat and I started running.
I made it to the morning circle -- mind you, still dressed in what people had seen me in that bar the night before -- just as everyone else was arriving. My own arrival has since been described by multiple witnesses as "... and then Bridget popped up, crazy-haired, waving her arms like a Muppet" which, incidentally, is not the first time I've been described as a Muppet and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that categorization. But then again, I have always kind of considered Animal my spirit animal, so I guess it was only a matter of time ...
I got a few, "oh ... myyyyyyy ..."s but that's nothing new. I explained the situation, stuck around to give some hugs and say hello to old friends and waved the group off as they went for a quick run through the Philly streets. When the last runner receded from view, I walked to the hotel, went into my room, and faceplanted into my bed. When my eyes snapped open two hours later, I once again did the only thing I could think of at the time ... I took a shower and went back to work.
And THAT, my friends, was just the first 36 hours. I still have another 36 to go ... Ahhhhh, Philadelphia, you do me so good. Every time. Every time.
*All names have been changed for the sense of ... decency? Propriety? Respect? All of which you would lose should you ever be called out by name in this blerg. Thank gah I have none of that above? Am I right or am I right?Tweet