Monday, October 17, 2005

NYC Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Moment

My own personal best WTF? moment, from when I was living in Brooklyn two years ago:

At work, I impaled myself on a toothpick sized splinter from the edge of a table in the library. I limped to a bathroom to remove the splinter and realized that last 0.3 inch of stick was stuck in my upper thigh. Attempts to remove the chunk of wood failed.

I returned to my department in panic, remembering parental admonitions that splinters left in flesh would fester and realizing that a festering wound and my planned weekend trip to D.C. were incompatible. I went to ask my boss for a first aid kit. However, she was in conference with the other prosecutor for our case and some random witness type. I burst into tears of pain and embarassment and told the head prosecutor that I would try the drug store across the street.

I went to the drugstore and looked unsuccessfully for first aid kits. Questions posed to a wandering employee were ignored. I repeated with another employee: ignored. Surrounded by people wearing drugstore aprons who refused to acknowledge my presence, I announced my general need to the room at large; this too was ignored. Finally, I approached a socializing concentration of said employees and asked if any of them worked there and where the first aid kits were. (I was giving them the benefit of the doubt and supposing that it was possible the people I asked were not on shift.) I received a curt answer and laughter as I turned to go. At this point, red-faced and with a chunk of splinter wiggling deeper into my leg, I turned back and pronounced that none of them *acted* like they worked there.

One employee then called after me to "Come back here, bitch, I'll punch you in the face an' knock you out."

At this point I walked off and finally found the first aid kits and burst into tears again. I then informed the manager of his employee's threat and described her. At this point I went to check out and realized A) the store is so poorly run that no one is at the register, B) I should not patronize establishments that employ such hooligans, and C) if I am around when the manager comes back I may have to confront a violent soon-to-be-fired woman who will almost undoubtedly attack me, and I already have enough personal care emergencies to worry about.

I walked all the way home with the splinter working its way into my leg. I spent 20 minutes at home and finally managed to CUT it out using a razor blade and a needle, as it was jabbed in at a 45 degree angle instead of just under the skin. I realized then that my bandaids were with my tweezers (which I also missed sorely, let me tell you) in the suitcase at the office that was packed for my trip to D.C. I tried to tape a ointment smeared wad of toilet paper to my leg but ran out of tape, so I tied it around my thigh with a piece of grosgrain ribbon and walked back to work.

(Yes, I realize I am a big wuss. My mother did inculcate me with a horror of splinters, though, and even the biggest wuss in New York shouldn't get punched in the face for asking for Neosporin.)
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