It went roaring down a tunnel and we parked in the little lot right near the Emergency Room entrance. Walking briskly up to the doors we started passing signs...
St. Nearby is a Tobacco-Free Campus!"Like hell it is," I thought, "There's some right here in my pocket."
This Is A Knozone Area! No Idling!Because when some parent comes screaming up to these doors in the family bus with their kid horking up blood on the passenger seat, air quality alerts are the first thing on their mind. But I jerked up short at the one on the door. Under the familiar circle-slash around a gun and a knife was the legend
No Weapons Allowed Except For Law Enforcement Personnel. Packages May Be Searched At Any Time.Now, in Indiana, this sign has about the legal weight of a Doonesbury strip. However, if the deputy inside had an IQ greater than a turnip, he'd surely divine the purpose of the oversized unbuttoned chambray shirt on a muggy July night, and I didn't feel like getting banished from the Woolworth's and further screwing up Bobbi's night... "I'll wait out here." (Because, really, what bad things have ever happened in a big city ER at 0230 on a Sunday morning?)
No guns. No tobacco (and that's not No Smoking, kids; that's No Tobacco.) No idling your car. I'm sure the hospital's HR department's Workplace Diversity policies were very up-to-date and that the cafeteria had a selection to suit any vegan, gluten-free, heart-healthy, halal palate...
I started to break out in hives.
I felt like an extra in Demolition Man; I was afraid to use the bathrooms because I didn't know what the three seashells were for. It was as if, since I refused to go to California, the world was bringing California to me. That's what this place, and all those other places just like it: Schools, government buildings, Fortune 500 campuses, were... little inkblots of California, slowly spreading their plague of signs across flyover country.
It was 80 degrees and muggy, but I goosebumped up anyway.