Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Saved by the Straight Guy

Pride Weekend 2007. A festival of color, diversity, acceptance and mutual understanding, this yearly event in the South Bay features a parade and a fair in the downtown core. Although this celebration dwarfs that of San Francisco, it is still well-attended, by gay and straight alike, and is a welcome and enjoyable experience for all. Of course I volunteered to do medical coverage for it.

Our first aid booth was located just inside the exit, and aside from the 10-foot-high inflatable smiling penis, and adjacent angry HIV molecule character (both within our direct view), the event was like any other fair I'd attended or worked. We had our share of patients, mostly minor, and only one major. One particular couple will stand out in my mind for a very long time.

The kindly, middle-aged lady approached our booth indicating her eczema was acting up. I could see the cracked skin, which was undoubtedly painful in the dry midday heat. As such, I provided her with lotion to spread across her hands and arms. She was incredibly grateful... going so far to say that I had nice eyes, and wow, I really knew what I was doing, and she truly likes and amires people who are in the medical field.

All the while, her girlfriend was sitting five feet away.

In my normal professional demeanor, I simply smiled, thanked her for her compliments, and continued my paperwork to finish the call log for her visit. When she asked me to please spread on sunscreen on her because her hands were covered in lotion, however, I hesitated.

It is always my goal to remain professional, but this request was out of our scope, and I knew without a doubt that it was a thinly-veiled attempt to make a pass at me. I certainly did not want to get in the middle of a lovers' quarrel, especially with the girlfriend watching studiously out of the corner of her eye. I envisioned her attacking me, claws and teeth flying, for inadvertently caressing her partner. I fell speechless, not knowing how to respond.

To the rescue came Andrew, my partner and now savior from an uncomfortable situation. He methodically spread the sunscreen on her with a "There you go, ma'am !", and concluded our treatment.

She and her girlfriend stayed for several minutes chatting, but finally went about their business.

Phew. No drama in our first aid booth. At least not this day.


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