The Connoisseur of Ceilings

View from my third home: the hotel I stay in when released from the hospital but not considered healthy enough to go home

I’ve recently become quite the connoisseur of ceilings. No, I have not joined the ranks of those working in the world’s oldest profession. This phase is instead directly related to the ridiculous number of medical procedures I’ve undergone in the past few months (procedures which leave me unable to pass whatever version of a physical is required to work within the world’s oldest profession). 

My extensive time on my backside has shown me that, architecturally-speaking, we could use a bit of diversity in the pasty whiteness that serves as the lid for most of our enclosures. Car designers collectively threw-in the towel in the ’90s and gave everything the lines of a used bar of soap. Present-day car design now once again embraces edges, but our ceilings remain bereft of personality, charm, or whale-fins.

The advertising industry is not known to be shy, or proud (ladies and gentlemen, the custom urinal cake). I have to think that someone, somewhere has pitched the idea of putting all this white space to good use. Perhaps my unique demographic (those who have undergone knee trauma, DVT/pulmonary embolism, removal of a cancerous kidney AND, the late addition, knee surgery) isn’t considered a building block from which to build a client base. That’s fair, as the small number of people that have survived this set of issues in less than 2.5 months is on the third mortgage of borrowed time. 

However, there’s likely a much larger group that has only experienced two, maybe three of these issues over a longer span. These comparatively healthy specimens might hang around for a while yet, and I think advertisers will be glad that they pursued the pulmonary embolism/knee surgery crowd. This group isn’t going anywhere—at least not in a hurry—but when they’re back in the hospital they’re going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out if a particular insect is going to successfully cross the span above them (until someone gives them something else to look at).

Some of the common areas in hospitals—such as Clínica Bíblica, my new second home—do try to jazz things up on the ceiling front. I, however, try to use the time my bed and I are being wheeled around in public to put on a good show. I don’t know how many more opportunities I’ll get to affect a cross-eyed look as I’m pushed through a crowd of people, but I’m going to use each and every one of them.

I find that I do some of my best work in the elevators, where those erect (standing—get your mind out of the gutter) are trapped, squeezed in around me and my bed. A good round of involuntary jerking motions with a moan chaser really gets people motivated to look the other direction, such as the ceiling. There’s also ample opportunity to practice my Spanish. I like to crane my neck so that I can see the poor guy stuck pushing my bed and ask, ”¿Crees que es contagioso?” Or, in English, “Do you think it’s contagious?”

However much fun I have in the hallways and elevators, I end up parked back in my hospital room staring at ceiling tiles. White, uninteresting ceiling tiles.

My interest in this element of interior design predates the collapse of my body, going all the way back to college where my buddy, Drew, and I used cans of brightly colored paint to send streaks, blobs and splotches in no discernible pattern all over the walls and ceiling (sure, the carpet too—but it was already old). Drew thought the chicks would dig it. They did not, though they, in general, hated it less than the landlord, who eventually made us sand it off.

Perhaps, in retrospect, Drew (or Drewbie as he was known) is not a good person to draw into the analysis as many of his ideas were questionable. For example, he rolled down flights of stairs for fun, which is an activity better suited for a ball. Speaking of which: I quit playing tennis because Drew liked to place the balls not currently in use inside his pants. He also declined to wear underwear. Ever. As our tennis matches took place under the Texas sun, I found myself rooting for Drew to get his first serve in so I didn’t have to deal with the sweaty, second one. 

I’m not sure why we ended up talking about Drew’s testicles. There’s a good chance you are equally confused on this front.

I do know that recent events suggest that, post-Monday’s knee surgery, I’ll be back in the hospital within a couple of weeks. I challenge whoever is in charge of ceilings at the hospital–or the nearby hotel I’m forced to stay at when they think I can leave the hospital but won’t survive the trip home–to use this short amount of time to dazzle me upon my return. I’m good with advertising (though urinal cakes might be tough in light of the distance, and gravity). Perhaps you can feature ads from health insurers as mine is no longer interested in paying claims. 

I leave my view in your capable hands.