Saturday, January 29, 2011
Sooner or later we all need glasses, so in the midst of my other medical challenges, I made an appointment with an optometrist.
The office manager was trying to convince the new receptionist to spend the change from their lunches on lottery tickets, so they could all split the pot. This new hire didn't speak enough English to explain her religion forbids gambling. Her white boss pushed: "You're Catholic, just like me".
"Catholicism in El Salvador is different from Catholicism in Saugus" I said, interrupting.
"I'M FROM EVERETT!" she corrected me. Big whoop.
At first I didn't understand the sell up; I have a voucher from my health insurance good for two pair of glasses every five years. Seems good, but everyone in the office (the entire staff) was trying to convince me to "add a little" to the voucher to get designer frames. The voucher is worth about $50.00, the designer frames, $400.00. An additional $350.00 dollars was not an option for me, I'd have to glue on the rhinestones myself.
The optometrist was not amused. She was hungover.
After much negativity I demanded to be shown glasses in my price range the would fit my "unusually large head".
"It's an ethnic trait" I beamed at the boozy Korean Doctor, "Like alcoholism, big heads run in families"
She tossed a box of frames on the table so aggressively the box popped open and frames fell across the table and onto the floor. I made no attempt to catch them, or even brush the one pair off my lap. She was startled by her own self and barked a single syllable toward the waiting area and stormed away. Exam bay curtains don't give the same satisfactory SLAM a door would; but she tried God bless her, she tried.
The office manager came scurrying into the frame gallery apologizing and asking "What's all this now?" simultaneously.
I was so fat I don't think people could tell I was also swollen. Every joint swollen. Doctors call this "global inflammation". I despise this phrase.
She steadied herself on my shoulder as she bent at the knee to pick up frames from the floor and my lap. Stunned by pain, I ordered her not to touch me.
Of course, she was all blah, blah, blah. I was so over it.
I didn't want to explain. "You have no right to touch me without my permission."
But I needed to end this argument before I passed out or puked, I was seeing stars from where she had put her weight on my shoulder. Under normal circumstances, a person would just squirm away from another's unwelcome touch, but I couldn't move like that. I was momentarily paralyzed with pain, a neurologically over-loaded statue.
Except for my mouth, which still worked great.
Her mouth was working pretty well too, she wouldn't shut up.
"Are you defending you're right to touch my lap? That's a gamble. A gamble I wouldn't take."
Stunned silence, not exactly detente, but better than nothing.
I had the floor "I've gotten nothing but shit from you people since I walked in the door with my poverty health card and I don't want to hear anymore crap. Put the glasses that come in my size, and that I can afford, on the table and I will choose a pair".
There was nothing for me to try on, but she would order them. They would be ready in 4-6 weeks, or would they?
Posted by Hank Fay at 3:17 PM