I am sitting in the Opthamologist office down island. Seems I have cataracts. I am looking at the folks in the waiting room and it is filled with old people. I glance at the reflection of us all in the window. We are all old, Sally and me, too. Damn!
The next old geezer leaned over to me, “Yeah, just got me a new cane. Hip surgery, ya know.”
“Wow! You just had hip surgery?”
“Nah. Not religious, myself. Why? As soon as I get my eyes straightened out, I may have to have hip surgery, ya know? Sorry if I am yellin’. Can’t hear a thing. Didja say something? I’m 77. Had my house paid off since I was forty. Why’d you ask?”
Since I hadn’t asked, I was stuck for a reply. “Well, unh…..you know…..like, how does a guy with a bad hip get around his house……?”
“Couch? Yeah, I gotta couch. Trouble sittin’ in it, tho. Bad hip, ya know? Just got me a new cane. May need hip surgery, ya know?”
I sensed a circularity coming on. You know, a circularity, right? Like a mental whirlpool. Old people are good at ém. I had to find a way out quick or I’d be sucked into the centre of this one and I’d go down.
“Hey”, I yelled into his face, “did the nurse just call ya?”
“Huh!? Nurse call? Where?”
I screamed, “You may want to check with the receptionist. I think I heard them call your name. I’ll go do that for you.” I get up. I go to the receptionist. Look at her typing for a minute and then come back.
“Nah, wasn’t you. You’ll still have to wait.” And then I head off as if it were me who was called. I go around the corner and sit down out of his sight. Man, I have good survival instincts.
Now, if I could only see.
“David!” I am called in. The woman yells at me in simple sentences, mostly pleasantries. “How are we today, dear? You get here alright? Now just you sit here and don’t move, OK? I am just gonna do some simple tests, OK, dear? And then, we’ll wait a minute or two and then I’ll take you back to the waiting area. Dr. Smith will be right with you after a few minutes. Alright?”
She’s my age, for Gawd’s sake! She does the tests. Speaks to me a few more times like I am mental and starts adding ‘dearie’ to the sentences. I look up over her desk and there are two pictures of young women looking much like one another. Sisters, I am sure. And likely her daughters. “Those must be your daughters”, I say. “I see the family resemblance.”
“Yes, they are, dearie.” she yells. “Those are my daughters.”
The air leaves the room. There is a horrible silence. She looks at me. I can’t help myself. I am grinning from ear to ear for the first time since I walked into that hell-hole. I was thinking of elaborating on that theme but I knew my grin already looked like a leer and that was about as far as I could push it. Political correctness was hovering in the air.
She looked at me. And. And. And…………burst out laughing………..“Sorry. I tend to talk to everyone as if they are geriatric. Hahhahahahahah. Then she leers at me. Are you always so naughty?”
Not quite the same as a circularity but definitely a vortex into which I did not want to be invited. I changed the subject to lenses, cataracts and perhaps my pending hip surgery once I get my eyes straightened out and, thankfully, the moment passed.
I have a knack for getting into trouble but, thankfully, I also have a knack for survival. I really do.