Tuesday, September 04, 2007
You Can Never Be Too Careful
"With your coloring, you should be an actress," the doctor said, standing behind the counter at the urgent care after hours clinic I found myself in for a raging sinus infection that had been laying me low for weeks. "Let her in first," he said. I felt terrible; there was a huge lobby of ill people who had managed to get there before me, and I am many things, but I am not a cutter in line! But I felt so weak and sick, I smiled and took my seat for a few minutes before being called into a small examination room decorated with a ragged Santa figurine and a fake breast that you could palpate to learn how to check yourself for lumps. Cold and tired, I kept my coat on and fell asleep, butcher paper crinkling beneath me. Two hours later, the doctor entered the room, asking if I regularly checked my breasts for lumps (I didn't) and handing me the fake one as a learning experience. He then started bitching about how much he hated working all the time to pay off his student loans and how exhausted he was. I didn't know what to do with the breast so I pretended to study it for all those cancers that hid deep in its center. "You can never be too careful," he said, taking it out of my hand. Then he gave me a bunch of free samples for my infection as I had no health benefits as an adjunct professor. "You deserve a lot more than these. Come back if you ever want to visit." The whole thing, I had to say, was mighty odd, even for me.
I drove home late into the night. Almost Christmas, I tried to appreciate the beauty of the lights and decorations as I drove the long distance (work consisted of going far afield in those days to whatever campus I was assigned), fearing my car would die. As fate would have it, this would be my last semester as an adjunct. In desperate need of money, I took over a class of hooligans, kids so bad that two other teachers had fled and an armed guard was placed at the door. Teaching way too many classes at odd hours took its toll. Almost always sick, almost always tired, I never saw my then boyfriend and my social life consisted of eating dinner alone and watching rerums of Beverly Hills 90210. Trapped in the heart of Detroit winter, I envied their problems that always got resolved by the end of the hour. Mine dragged on and on, like the infection that wouldn't go away, no matter how many free samples I took. I acted like everything was fine, of course. The doctor had been right in his own way about my calling.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. Yes, yes, it's the most comical thing in the world." Samuel Beckett
Drinking novel suggestion: Goodnight Texas William J. Cobb
Benedictions and Maledictions