The entire morning consisted of class instruction, a great deal of hand-out materials, and questions and answers. By the mid-day hour, things shifted to hands-on training, and that’s when the instructor brought out George, the resuscitation dummy. All class members were expected to demonstrate their understanding of mouth to mouth and chest compression techniques. She had read the materials, and had paid attention while the instructor showed them the proper procedure. Then she watched them all present their skills in varying degrees of precision. Mostly, demonstrating the lack thereof, she thought.
Her hubris was challenged when the instructor called on her. “India? Would you like to take your turn, now?”
All she could think about was the fact that so many mouths had been on that dummy. How many possible strains of flu and colds and herpes might currently exist on those rubbery, lifeless lips? She’d watched the instructor sanitize it after each use, but she neither trusted the process, nor cared to put her mouth on that male representation of the human body, whether it was in dire need of her assistance or not.
“India? Is there a problem?”
“I’m just concerned about…how sanitary that thing is.”
Chuckles from the class.
“Everyone else did it.”
“I don’t do things because everyone else does it.”
She could just barely hear the few muttered comments about what she would do, instead. She ignored them.
The instructor gave her a tolerant smile. “Nonetheless, it’s a necessary part of passing the course. If you like, you can opt to do the demonstration on a member of the class.”
India scanned the participants and got wiggly eyebrows, kissy noises, and one guy, Danny, who laid down in the floor and mimicked the dead mouth of the dummy.
“I don’t like the sound of that either,” India said.
“Yeah, I don’t think my lips are the right gender,” Danny muttered, to the laughter of his cohorts.
The instructor continued. “Well, are you going to be thinking about that when you’re trying to save someone’s life?”
“You bet I am.”
More laughter, now. India wondered if this could be construed as them laughing with her, or laughing at her. Maybe it was just that they were laughing near her.
The instructor seemed to have reached the limit of her patience. “Be that as it may, either you demonstrate your understanding of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or you don’t get your certificate.”
Oh my god. No certificate? How will I live with myself? India sighed. “Fine.” She tried not to make a face of disgust as she dropped to her knees, pinched the nose of the dummy and showed them all how it was done.
The instructor smiled. “Very good, India.”
And with that, class was dismissed for the day.
“Impressive,” Danny said, applauding her.
“I’m so glad you’re pleased, Danny.”
“Yeah, but you really should go home and practice some more on your roommate,” he said smartly.
“Oh grow up, skippy-pants. Women sometimes love women. Didn’t your parents have that talk with you?”
“Not that talk,” he cracked.
She rolled her eyes. “Well maybe you ought to take a class in that.”
As she left the room, she heard Danny’s friends laughing and their voices swelling with “Oooooooooo…”