There was a place on the state hospital grounds called central laundry. I knew about it because the state hospital was pretty much my number one home away from home, from the 70’s. The thing that was not well known were the number prisons tucked away up the hill from there. It was a place patients from the state hospital never went.
I don’t remember taking any accurate counting, but I do think there were about three or four prisons close to the state hospital, geographically. The trustees who passed out shoes and jackets to the patients with ground parole, were trustworthy enough. It would seem the trustees and the ground parole patients ought to be dangerous, but we just wanted to keep what we earned.
The thing about central laundry, as I can remember it, is that a patient of the state hospital, who has some sort of paperwork, is eligible for military issue dress shoes and a light jacket. The other thing with central laundry was that they processed all of the hospital linens, in some unknown spectrum of coverage. I hate to specify an area, and miss the spectrum by a major amount.
It’s only that I’m talking about a real place, and want my document to be accurate.
Central laundry was situated down by Warfield, which is a real place without having the name on some sign somewhere. Central laundry was in a separate building, but on the same side of the street as the employee’s dining room. Patients were sent there to get jackets and shoes issued to them. I believe it was in the most severe winter weather, mostly.
Then there was the employee’s dining room up the street. The doctors and social workers ordinarily had their lunches there. I’ve been trying to remember if I ever went inside the employee’s dining room, but I do believe I did, once. I’ll never do it again. I believe it was over some social work student or other that I liked the looks of. She could have blushed scarlet and I’d never know.
I think that same girl walked onto my ward that afternoon, where she was assigned, and came on to me for a change. Served me right. I never should have messed with that girl in the first place. That dining room was always off limits for patients. What was I doing there? I had no answer then, I have no answer now. She wanted all this and all that, and I was totally intimidated.
She was careful to not do anything illegal, as she could have, big girl that she was.
I wrote a love song for that girl once. I frankly liked her looks. That’s me, the love song kid, from the County Seat, walking in where he didn’t belong. I was the one with all the pluck. She heard the song once or twice, but I had no stomach for a relationship, if I’d only been able to say so.
There were so many young ladies on the grounds of that hospital, patients and staff, who found out that I was nothing but a lot of noise. I couldn’t help it. I was living on autopilot for a long time. I’d be on point, and talk a whole lot of trash to every pretty face in the place. I was young there for quite a while, but didn’t understand the concept of discretion, where a pretty face was concerned.
Some of the doctors I knew didn’t like me very much.
Of course, the details of each individual encounter shifted with each individual girl involved. I was so much unaware of how many young ladies were involved in this irrational behavior, or even who the girls were, I must say if I had been aware of my own behavior, I would have been humiliated. I must have treated a half dozen girls like princesses during this ongoing show and tell I initiated.
The only thing any of the girls had in common was they were all in their twenties.
There was one girl every doctor was supposed to hear about, but nobody ever met. She never came to the state hospital to visit me. A girl from my hometown, she was unawares. I had cut my wrist where I’m told it was just like a little attention-getter. I was young at the time, about half way through my twenties. Worse, I had made myself an incurable romantic from day one.
That girl took on a fairy’s proportions, complete with wings and luminosity, as I jabbered on at the psychiatrist about my obsessive tendencies, as well as having enough of a psychosis to build castles in the air – and go live in them. That poor girl had no idea how frequently her name was taken in vain, before I finally found enough sanity to quit making up fantasy characters.
I think any competent psychiatrist could diagnose a guy like me any old time.
I when over to a friends house, where I frequently went for my time away. My buddy asked me the direct question, did I want to marry that hometown girl? I was in a pinch so darned much, because I did want to marry her, it was only that I couldn’t scrape together enough green that she’d take me seriously. It seemed a shame that she had gainful employment and I didn’t.
I told my buddy I couldn’t, and decried my extreme poverty.
He knew me for what I was, a guy with more confusion than ever. He knew that wonderful girl of mine, too. He was a man of understanding. He dropped all discussion of my financial incapacity immediately, because he knew I wasn’t making the expression up. He understood I’d been like that for a lifetime. I had a disability that would quit, and I may as well claim it.
In fact, I believe I was in my twenties my entire tenure as an inpatient at the state hospital. I kept growing older. Frankly, I’m not entirely certain my romantic interests kept up with me. I’m certain I never broke any laws over any of my interests in any of these girls. Furthermore, as far out in the country we were at the hospital, I’m certain the girls must have to be either patients or staff.
My romantic interests didn’t follow any of us as far as the alter. If anyone was so indiscreet as to say anything about matrimony, I was overwhelmed by righteous indignation. I was reminded, with fresh rage, about the girl I dated my freshman year in college, down South. I must admit to having gotten away scott free on every occasion with every young lady.