Open Sesame

Most ER’s require you to punch in a code to get in the ambulance entrance. The near universal code is 911*. Sometimes it’s a little bit of a pain if you have a serious patient, and have to stop and fiddle with the keypad or if it is raining and the hospital doesn’t have an overhang. At one of the hospitals they have recently set up a security station just inside the door where the guard has a button that enables him to automatically open the doors when he sees someone trying to come in.

I often stand outside the door and declare “Open Sesame!” when people approach. I have it timed so that as soon as I say it they are coming into view of the security guard inside who magically opens the door. Sometimes I clap my hands and say “Clap on, clap open, the clapper!” Others I simply say, “allow me to open the door for you,” and I extend my arm to allow them to pass as the door opens.

My timing is perfect.

I kill myself sometimes with the simplest amusements. I am easily entertained.

Today I see this volunteer ambulance pull up and park across the street because they can’t fit their big box rig in the already packed ER driveway. I’m guessing that the driver is new because he could have pulled up on the sidewalk instead of parking on the other side of the street. He and his partner take their very large patient out of the rig, and try to come up the steep end of the driveway. They can’t push the patient up the hill, and for a moment I am worried they are going to flip the stretcher over. Someone closer than me comes to their aid, and helps them go around to the more level end. Next I see them coming around the ambulances in the drive.

“Can you get the door for me?” the guy lugging the front says. His shirt is drenched with sweat, and he looks quite frazzeled.

I am not standing in my usual spot. I gauge where he is, then say, “Just say ‘Open Sesame!'”

“Hey I have a patient here!” he says angrily.

“Open Sesame!” I say again.

And the door opens just like that.

Two nurses on smoke break laugh at my funny, but the guy doesn’t think its funny. In fact, he is so busy straining to pull the patient along that the joke is lost him. Maybe he thinks someone else opened the door and I was just being an unhelpful wise guy.

I feel really bad like I should go find him and apologize and explain the schtick. “I wasn’t trying to be a smart ass,” I imagine saying to him. “You see I say open sesame, the guard inside sees you, he opens the door, but it looks like I was the one who opened it by saying the magic words. You following me?”

Another crew comes along with their patient. “Aren’t you going to clap open the door for us?” the paramedic says, stopping just short of the door.

“Oh, yes, but of course,” I say, “Allow me.”

I clapp my hands twice rapidly.

The door opens.

“You’re the best,” the medic says.

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