Saturday, June 26, 2010

Arguments with the Intern

         Yesterday I was at the doctor's office, sitting on the examination table for quite a long time when I heard voices of two men outside the door. The older man sounded upset, and I realized it was my doctor arguing with one of the interns. Their voices were pretty loud, enough for me to hear every word, which was weird because I was on the opposite side of the wall, in a room with the door closed. The doctor was obviously on his way in to see me. He told the younger man, practically yelled actually, that he had no right to embarrass him in front of his patients. 
"How dare you ask if I'd like to speak to the girls' mother. Her 15-year-old daughter just got out of surgery and you really think I'd rather make dinner plans than speak to her mom?"
I moved on my table to face my ear to the door, feeling slightly guilty about being able to hear their whole conversation, but also relieved to get outside of my own mind and listen to someone else's issues for a while. 
"I saw a private number on my cell phone," the older doctor continued, his voice rising. "Do you have any idea how many attorneys and athletes call me every day? Do you? That call could have been anyone--how was I supposed to know it was a personal call?"
The other doctor mumbled something about not trying to imply anything--that he just knew the mother was worried. The older doctor didn't like this response one bit.
"You really think I don't care, don't you? I looked for her in the waiting room, I went to the cafeteria, I called her on her cell and she didn't pick up. I couldn't find her."
At this point the younger doctor said something about patient complaints and the older doctor simply flipped a shit. I sat in the room staring at my shoes, rotating my ankles, and drawing the alphabet with my toes, still a little embarrassed, but also intrigued. I never think of doctors having fights or even problems for that matter. I'm sure they have a lot of issues to contend with, way more than the average person in fact, and yet seeing them in their clean, white coats with their "Dr." pins on their chests, it's like they're perfect angels, drifting along in a sea of hand sanitizer. 
The doctors continued their arguing, and like a real self-involved person I started outlining the review I would write on Yelp if I was so inclined to go home and type it. Something along the lines of "very nice secretaries, top-notch facility, treated famous athletes, but left me in the exam room for twenty god damn minutes to argue with an intern about dinner reservations."
Suddenly the door clicked open and there stood my doctor--his white jacket, his clean pants, his "Dr." pin, and part of me wanted to say something along the lines of, "I guess I'll forgive you." But instead I stood up and with his hands on my hips, bent over to touch my toes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mountain Shrug

I take a walk down the road to get some fresh air and keep my blood flowing. All this sitting makes me mad—my youthful legs want to stretch and grow, my muscles ache for movement. I decide to head out to the trees and steal some of their oxygen, so I shrug down the driveway and slip into the redwoods.
            The trees are giants, gods towering over me, grouped together in threes and fours, their trunks too big to wrap my body around. In all honestly they’re too big to wrap my mind around either. Along the side of the dirt road a couple sits in their black pick-up truck. I don’t notice them for a while, but when I do I become suddenly aware of myself and my abrasive presence in this place—my Nike tennis shoes, my bright green track shorts. We stare at each other. The man wears a wife beater and has slicked back, greasy hair like a Big Boy’s Burger doll. He nods, and the girl next to him looks down at her legs.
            As I keep going I come upon an old RV set into the side of the hill. A white woman in her mid-40s walks by, dread-locks hanging down her tanned back, and her pit bull barks at me from the driveway. I try to remember how best to react to aggressive dogs. Do I turn and look it in the eye or just keep walking? The dog’s growl tingles down my back, so I keep walking.
            Sun streams through the long, straight branches, and water burbles down the creek, and in a pocket of granite where I stop and stretch I feel suddenly lost in another world. On my way back to the house the woman with dreads stands a the edge of the drive with one arm on her hip, staring me down just like the pit bull at her side, guarding their territory. Can I blame them? Who am I in this place? A disruption. Despite the trees by my side, and the moss at my feet, in this mountain there are not friendly people, and I am not in Eden.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ten Steps to Turning in Your Student Loan Decision

1.     Receive financial aid package in mail. Be amused by the small section labeled “gift aid,” and try not to hyperventilate at the sight of the rest.

2.     a. Call financial aid advisor and ask her a multitude of questions.

b. Email financial aid advisor with other remaining questions.

c. Call a few days later with a few other questions that “just popped up.”

d. Apologize to financial aid advisor for calling her six times in one day.

      3. Decide to accept less than the school gave you as far as loans, and expend a huge sigh of relief.

      4. Quit your job.

      5. Realize you need more money than you thought.

      6. Cry into the sink.

      7. Go to church and listen to a message about making wise financial decisions.

      8. Jot down the part about Faustus and throw away the paper you typed out earlier that week entitled “My Deal with the Devil.”

      9. Memorize Luke 6:38—“Give and it will be given to you. Pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

     10. Buy your aunt a new corkscrew and drink lots and lots of good red wine.