Monday, February 19, 2007

people say the darndest things

So I was at the hospital today visiting the mate, and talking about her current nurse. This one had moderate experience, a heavy accent, an authoritarian attitude, and a Romanian last name. Somehow they all seemed to go together.... Well, anyway, the nurse came in and the mate said, "Oh, so you're from Romania." Nurse got all delighted that someone recognized the type of name and actually had a clue about Romania's location on this planet. A layer peeled off and she became a little bit chatty.

Naturally, any discussion of Romania requires a mention of vampires, perhaps tongue in cheek, perhaps not. Nurse was dismissive of Bram Stoker's dramatic flair, saying he severely embellished stories about Vlad Drakula, aka Vlad the Impaler. "But Vlad would put people's heads on stakes," the mate said.

"Yes, but he only did this to thieves." Nurse then explained that when Vlad was in power, there was peace and order. You could leave a pot of gold on the street, and no one would steal it. It was the golden age of Romania. Certainly, he killed a lot of thieves, but Vlad did not, she emphasized, drink people's blood. That was just silly.
I am, as Dave Barry would say, not making this up.

My head is spinning over how this perfectly nice nurse, who's living in 2007 in one of the more cosmopolitan places on earth, can lovingly reminisce about a man who killed people for stealing, and decorated the roads with their heads...

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