I normally appreciate a little small talk. At the grocery store, in line at the bank, camping out for Skid Row tickets (there was a time), whatever. I don't mind exchanging small pleasantries like "S'posed to rain tomorrow!" or "Where did you get those shoes?" or "Didja see the rack on the broad in the first pugh?" I think it's important to engage in idle chit-chat if the occasion calls for it.
But what do you say to a woman holding a cup "filled to the top line" with your urine? Difficult to discuss weather, wardrobe or whatever in that instance.
See, I don't know the protocol here. Sans the fact the lab tech was wearing rubber gloves, she acted like she could've been fumbling with a cup of gatorade to hand to a thirsty marathon runner. It didn't seem to phase her and I guessed she'd been doing this awhile. But there had to have been a time when packing up someone else's urine was not commonplace for her. That's all I could think of. That and the fact that, apparently, now it WAS commonplace for her! I was acutely aware that it was piss. My piss. I started to feel more uncomfortable. I scanned her face for any hint of reaction. Was it the right color? Temperature? Volume? Was I out of line if I asked? This seemed like it was a pretty intimate thing to take place between two total strangers, the handling of one another's bodily fluids. Could I now ask this girl to help me move?
I winced noticably when, after she taped the lid shut, she flipped the cup haphazardly on it's side to initial the tape. If it spilled, who would be responsible for the clean up? Thankfully it didn't and she handed me the pen and pointed to where I should initial. This was becoming more surreal by the moment. What if I pressed too hard and punctured the cup or popped the lid off? Again, who would be responsible for the clean up? It was, after all, my pee. Or was it? I decided it was NOT. Once she taped that lid shut and put her initials on it - it was hers. Plus she had on the gloves. I handed her pen back and checked my pockets for my keys and cell phone for the forty third time, pretending to really care if I had them just so I wouldn't be standing slack-jawed, watching her, in awe that she had probably 5 more hours of handling stranger's wee-wee today alone.
When I thought I might actually scream, or at least start whistling the theme from Miami Vice, she spoke.
"So... gettin' a job at Best Buy, huh?"
I nodded, almost imperceptibly.
Suddenly taping up cups of piss didn't seem so bad.