High Standards

My days at the museum are usually fairly quiet. In the mornings, around 8:00, I walk up a hill to a collection of World War II buildings and unlock several for visitors to peruse. Then, for most of the day, I sit behind the counter, answering various questions from the visitors. And, in the afternoon, around 3:30, I retrace my morning’s steps and close the World War II buildings for the night.

Across from my desk sits the Engineer Regimental Room where different units will have graduations, so a lot of questions are from parents asking with rather wild eyes if they have finally found the right building. And I smile and assure them they have reached their destination with two hours to spare and let them know families are generally not allowed in the room until about fifteen minutes before the ceremony starts. And then they rush to the two sets of double doors and peer through the tiny rectangle windows for a glance of their child. Eventually,  the entryway in front of my desk becomes crowded with anxious parents and bored children.

And it was on just such a day that I heard, “Excuse me, ma’am.”

I looked up to find a soldier who had escaped the graduation practice standing at the desk. “Yes?” I responded with a smile.

“Do you have some extra trash bags and maybe an extra trash can? We have a sick one.”

So, I blinked at him, because I think if you have a “sick one,” you bus that poor soul back to the barracks. Maybe even let his momma follow. But I disappeared into the closet behind me and found two trash bags and a cardboard box. And the young soldier accepted the offerings and before I could assure him that I did not need any of those items returned to me, he was gone and a civilian had taken his place.

“Do you have a first aid kit?” she asked. And as my eyes widened to the size of dollar coins and I tried to remember my emergency training, she clarified, “I need a band-aid.”

And I blinked at her because, personally, I would have just asked for the band-aid.  But then I disappeared back into my closet and eventually provided the requested bandage.

And then I started watching the clock, needing to leave to close the buildings on the hill before anyone returned with any of the borrowed items.

And that was a good day.

Because no one actually needed my non-existent emergency skills.

And because no one brought me a bag of vomit.

I have high standards.




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