Friday, November 12, 2010

Me vs. the needles

As I mentioned Wednesday, while I was at the allergy clinic giving them extortion money so I could keep taking allergy shots getting my annual check-up, the woman at the front desk who had processed my paperwork moments earlier called my house and asked if I could come in to pick up my allergy serum. So, yesterday, I returned to do just that.

The appointment started off perfectly when this same receptionist greeted me by saying, "Hi, Mr. Van Name. Weren't you just in here yesterday?"

I'm very proud to say that I did not yell at her, dive through the open window and beat her head against the desk while screaming, "Yes, you idiot, because you made me come back when you could have just given me my serum then," or even point out that she had made the trip necessary. Instead, I forced a smile, admittedly the kind of thin-lipped, angry smile you make right before inserting the shiv between two ribs, and then I sat and waited.

My Asian nemesis scouted me from behind the receptionist for a few seconds before opening the door and waving me in. No words: we are past the time for niceties, he and I.

Before I could sit in the chair, he showed me the two vials of serum and grunted. No words; just a grunt.

I said what I always say: "Yes, that's my name. My address, though, is still wrong."

He grunted again and smiled.

Damn! I fell for it. Score one for my nemesis.

He came to my right arm, but I shook my head and instead pulled my left from my long-sleeved shirt. Not a whole point, but a quarter of one.

Unfortunately, he countered that small gain by wiggling each needle unnecessarily once it was in my arm. I showed no reaction, however, so he got no more than that quarter point.

He pointed to the door, and out I went. We both know the drill.

He greeted the next person with a pleasant smile and a "Would you like to come back now?" invitation.

Ten minutes later, he emerged to check to see whether I had reacted excessively to the serum. As always, he was carrying my serum and a tube of cream, in case I had reacted.

I showed him my arm.

He didn't bother to measure. He just said, "You pass."

I stared at the tube in his hand.

He opened it, squeezed some cream onto his index finger...and I put my arm back in my sleeve.

Got him!

He glared, knowing we had tied, then left, his finger aloft until he could wipe it clean.

Not a victory, but after my earlier error, I was happy to have the draw.

As I was walking up to my car door, I noticed a woman sitting in the passenger seat of the car next to mine, a late-model Elantra. She was leaning all the way back, almost horizontal. Her toes, sporting the chipped red paint of an abandoned barn, tapped quietly on the dash. She was talking into a cell phone.

As I drew closer, she smiled, pointed at the phone, and kept on talking. "Yeah, baby, stroke it. You can do it for me. That's right, I want it. Oh, you know I do."

I got in my car and drove off.

Just another trip to the allergy clinic.


steveburnett said...

Her toes, sporting the chipped red paint of an abandoned barn...

I love that line.

Mark said...

Thanks, Steve.

J. Griffin Barber said...

Thrilling, your life!

Mark said...

Nothing but.


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