The hospital I work in is recently remodeled, very stylish and generally doesn't give anyone that creepy "I'm in a hospital" feeling on their skin. That said, whoever paid for the remodel, didn't think that it was important to pretty up the non-patient areas, so the ground floor (really the basement, I don't know who they think they're kidding with that G) basically looks exactly like you'd expect a hospital built in the 50s (or maybe the 70s) to look. Plain white, slightly shoddy tile on the walls, ugly linoleum and no windows. (I told you, it's a basement.) It's all together a very different environment than the cheerful "there are no sick people here!" schtick that the rest of the building has.
Adding to the creepy, institutional feel of the place is the fact that along the hallway are a series of doors with large, yellowing signs proclaiming THIS DOOR MUST BE LOCKED AT ALL TIMES and THIS DOOR IS NOT TO BE OPENED. Every time I've been down there alone, I've walked on the opposite side of the hallway to avoid something jumping out from behind these doors. What could they possibly keep in there? Is this secretly the psych ward? Zombies? The logical part of my mind knows that it's probably just trash bins or something, but it still creeps me out. Did I mention that the cafeteria is downstairs? During the day, this negates the creep factor a bit, since there are loads of people getting meals down there. Safety in numbers, you know.
Anyway, a few nights ago I had to venture down to the ATM machine in the middle of the night, and so I boarded the elevator, completely forgetting that the basement would be even creepier after hours. I walked down the hallway totally pretending that I wasn't prepared to flee at any moment, and nearly jumped out of my skin when a transporter came running, full tilt down the hall. I may or may not have let out a strangled little "eep!" Or possibly a big faah!!! Anyway, regaining my composure and trying not to think about what he possibly could have been running -from,- I made it to the "pantry" which is what they call the vending machine room where the ATM lives. I got my cash and, feeling somewhat triumphant, headed back to the elevator.
Blocking my way was one of THE DOORS. It was open, in a direct violation of the DO NOT OPEN signs. Crap, crap, crap. I let my the reasonable part of my brain (yes, I do have a reasonable part) take over and walked past the room. Not being able to resist facing my fear, I looked to my left and I found this:
That's right, folks. A single, pink, helium-balloon. There was nothing else in there. Every time I think about it, I dissolve into giggles, because it's so weird and ridiculous. Justin thinks the lonely balloon makes it even creepier, but I love, love, love it.
I'm still not going down alone at night again.