WALKER PERCY WEDNESDAY – 34

Two things were instantly apparent to the sentient engineer, whose sole gift, after all, was the knack of divining persons and situations. One was that he had been mistaken for a member of the staff. The other was that the stranger was concerned about a patient and that he, the stranger, had spent a great deal of time in the hospital. He had the air of one long used to the corridor, and he had developed a transient, fabulous, and inexpert knowledge of one disease. It was plain too that he imputed to the hospital staff a benevolent and omniscient concern for the one patient. It amounted to a kind of happiness, as if the misfortune beyond the door must be balanced by affectionate treatment here in the corridor. In hospitals we expect strangers to love us.