The Tale Of A Kind Young Doctor Who Was As Lost As I Was

I HAD AN APPOINTMENT FOR MY annual checkup with an eye doctor who’s part of a group practice. I’ve gone to him for at least 15 years. His office is in a building called The Clinic that is part of a large university hospital complex.

A week before the appointment I received a letter* from his office telling me that the free parking garage nearest The Clinic was closed. The letter explained in words where I should go for free parking.

I didn’t bother to double-check the directions online because I’m familiar with the area. The directions made perfect sense to me and they were spot on.

I got to the parking garage, no problem.

• • •

WITH LETTER IN HAND I DID as it said and exited the parking garage through the green doors, putting me at the intersection of two busy streets. At this point I was told to look for a particular building, presumably made possible by the generous donation of some rich people.

Let’s call this building THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.

Standing on the corner I looked up and down the streets and I saw nothing that said THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.

I mean, nothing.

• • •

I WAS ABOUT TO GRAB MY cell phone out of my purse when a kind young doctor crossed the street toward me and walked up to me. He asked me if I needed help finding something.

[That’s how lost I looked, a random doctor offered to help me.]

Waving the letter around I said, I’m looking for THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.  

He said, the what?

I repeated myself.

We looked at each other. 

He politely asked, may I see the letter.

[I imagine he thought I was an older *confused* person.]

I said, yes and handed it to him.

He read the letter printed on official university hospital letterhead, looked up and down the streets, then said, huh.

We looked at each other. 

I shrugged.

He said, I’ve worked here 8 years and I’ve never heard of THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.  

I said, I’ve gone to this eye doctor for longer than that and I’ve never heard of THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.  

We looked at each other. 

[I’d stumped a doctor, which is kind of a memorable moment.]

• • •

BEFORE I HAD TIME TO SAY another word the kind young doctor pulled out his cell phone and started researching where the heck this building might be. This took longer than you might expect.

I waited patiently.

Eventually he looked up, smiling, and said, THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER is the original name for The Clinic.

We looked at each other.

Then we burst out laughing, turning our heads in unison toward the building directly in front of us on the other side of the street. The building we knew as The Clinic.

We looked at each other. 

• • •

I THANKED THE KIND YOUNG DOCTOR for figuring this out.

He said, your doctor is older, isn’t he?

I said, yes.

We looked at each other.

He said, I know him personally. The next time I see him I’ll suggest that for the sake of his patients, and other doctors,  he might want to NOT refer to The Clinic as THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER because no one knows it by that name anymore.   

I said, good idea. I’ll say something ** too. 

We looked at each other. 

And with a smile we went on our ways, better informed about the world around us.

~ THE END ~

* The doctor’s office had tried to email me but they had an out-of-date email address, so they sent a snail mail letter.

** I never said anything to my eye doctor because when I got to his office my mind wandered, distracted by two relaxed Federal prison inmates, in handcuffs + shackled ankles, surrounded by two stern guards. The foursome was sitting in the waiting area for appointments with some doctor in the group practice.

Pondering: If You Tell Me You’re Independent, What Does That Mean?

Something pretty to enjoy while pondering…

Shortly before the pandemic began 2 years ago this month, I was at a social function with Z-D.  It was for his work.

I was seated next to a 70-something woman, a delightfully chatty child-free extrovert, who was [and I hope still is] the wife of a man who used to work with Z-D.

Thanks to many social business events we’d endured together I knew this pleasant woman as a casual acquaintance so this was good.  From previous conversations with her I knew she was a Joiner with a capital ‘J’.

To wit, over the years she’d told me that she was in a garden club, a book club or two, a dog breed club, a bicycling group, a music guild, a Bible study group, a travel club, and she was a member of a country club.

She went on a *sisters only* cruise every year and hosted parties for her nieces who were involved in multi-level marketing schemes.  She always had a family Thanksgiving dinner at her house.  Plus at one point she had worked full-time and socialized with her workmates, seemingly every weekend.

• • •

We had a lovely time chatting, which is to say I mostly listened and she mostly talked.

As we were getting ready to leave, perhaps sensing this would be the last time we’d see each other [and it was], she leaned over to me and said in a confidential tone: “I’m independent. I need for you to know that.”

INDEPENDENT?

NEED for me TO KNOW?

SAY WHAT?

I had zero idea what she was getting at and because of the circumstances I didn’t get the opportunity to ask her any, shall we say, clarifying follow-up questions.

Over these last two years I’ve thought about that comment often and have talked with friends in real life about what it could mean.  Without context it can be interpreted in a variety of ways.  Here is what we’ve come up with:

  • I’m independent because I have money of my own.
  • I’m independent because I am free to choose which groups I join.
  • I’m independent because I don’t have children.
  • I’m independent because I’m retired and so is my husband.
  • I’m independent because I grew up as a second-wave feminist.
  • I’m independent because I haven’t declared myself to be aligned with a particular political party.
  • I’m independent because the church I go to is outside the mainstream, not part of an established protestant denomination.

So what say you, my gentle readers?  

Do you consider yourself to be independent? And if you do, what does that mean to you? Also, do you need people to know you’re independent?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  This can be an interesting conversation.

• 🌺 •

Nothing Sketchy: And Then Our Mailbox Made A Run For It

I enjoy a bit of absurdity.

It was late Friday afternoon.  Zen-Den was working from home in a guest bedroom his upstairs office that overlooks the front yard and street.

He was on a conference call, listening, bored presumably, and staring out the window at the street.

There was a gust of wind and just like that our extra large [15″x11.7″x24.8″] black metal [11.5 lbs] mailbox  [identical to this one] went flying off its post– and started scampering down the street.

Like a sneaky pet dog out on an adventure.

Never slowing down, never looking back.

Z-D, still listening to his conference call saw what had happened, found me downstairs, pointed outside, and mouthed the words “mailbox escaped.”

I looked out the window and understood.  I immediately went running out the front door to chase our mailbox, WITH OUR MAIL IN IT, down the street.

On a cold late autumn day.

Without a coat or gloves on.

The little miscreant, pushed by more gusts of wind, slide downhill in the gutter along the side of the street until it was in front of our next-door neighbor’s house where the runaway fell on its side, popping up its little red flag in surrender.

Nice touch, eh?

I was charmed in spite of the situation.

I picked him up, double-checked that our mail was still inside [it was], then started walking home with said sneaky mailbox cuddled in my arms, like you might when you capture a wiggly dog.

However unlike a warm small furry dog, a metal mailbox is cold, cold, cold to carry.  I wasn’t dressed for the elements let alone a search and rescue mission that involved carrying a large mailbox home.

Mailboxes have sharp edges.

Trust me on this.

Anyhoo, laughing at acknowledging the absurdity of this situation, I got the little fellow home, put him in the garage, and walked down the driveway to see what had happened that prompted our mailbox to make a run for it.

Come to find out, the wood on the post that forms the horizontal platform on which the mailbox sits had rotted underneath the mailbox.  The mailbox had been attached with screws to the rotting wood, but the gust of wind was powerful enough to rip them out of place, and sent our mailbox flying.

This was a first for me/us, but one that graciously provided us with the gift of a Saturday project.

Yep, we had to replace the rotting wood on the post then re-attach the mailbox, no worse for the wear btw, to the new sturdy wood plank.

So we did.

~ ~ 📪 ~ ~

The foregoing story reminds me of my favorite TikTok. It stars a dog named Bean. Do dah, do dah!

In Which A Good Friend Suggests I Am A Bad Influence, As If

Catching up with a friend. Talking about what’s new with her…

FRIEND: I got thrown out of Bible Study.

ME: Wait what? YOU were in a Bible Study group? You? WHY?!!

FRIEND: I know, it’s hard to believe. It’s not really my thing, but my older sister’s high school best friend made me join.

ME: Wait what? HOW did she make you do this?

FRIEND: Oh, she asked me to join so I did. She got credit for bringing in new members. She got thrown out of Bible Study, too. Because of me… AND YOU, really.

ME: Wait, hold the horses. How did I get you two thrown out of Bible Study? I didn’t even know you were doing it, let alone in the group.

FRIEND: You told me about Cosmopolitans.

ME: Huh? Like back when Sex and the City was on TV? Those drinks?

FRIEND: Yep… and I think you were to one who suggested seeing the movie Sideways. The one about drinking wine.

ME: How does any of this have anything to do with you getting thrown out of Bible Study?

FRIEND: My older sister’s high school best friend and I were to arrange a Saturday night Bible Study get together. It was at her house. She provided the location and I provided refreshments and a movie. It was so we all could bond, or something.

ME: Uh huh.

FRIEND: So we’d just been talking in Bible Study class about Jesus turning water into wine and I remembered the movie about the vineyards. It seemed relevant to me. Then I remembered how Carrie and her girlfriends loved their Cosmopolitans so I made those the drink of the night.

ME: Ok.

FRIEND: But the thing is that I didn’t know this get together was supposed to be alcohol-free so almost no one wanted my drinks. It was Saturday night for goodness sake. Who doesn’t drink then?

ME: This group of women apparently.

FRIEND: I think they would’ve overlooked the booze except for the movie. Well, one part of the movie. I’d forgotten there was nudity in it.

ME: There is?

FRIEND: Yep a full frontal shot of a naked man running down a street. You can see his junk and this shocked most of the girls. They left immediately.

ME: No kidding? They just left?!!

FRIEND: Yep, but those who stayed drank the Cosmopolitans and we had a good time watching the movie. They understood how it was about wine, something Jesus made. It was fine with them.

ME: So how did you find out you’d been thrown out of Bible Study?

FRIEND: An email on Monday morning told us. My older sister’s high school best friend isn’t upset. She says she’s relieved to be free from it… and them.

ME: And you? How do you feel about this?

FRIEND: Oh I’m fine with it. It was something to do for a while, but now it isn’t something to do.

ME: There’s that.

FRIEND: So tried any new drinks lately? Seen any good movies? You always know the most fun things!

ME: Uh huh.

~ The End ~

In Which The Beans Disagree Over The Value Of Texts Announcing Emails

Not seeing eye to eye, but that’s okay.

• • •

To be clear this is NOT a strong opinion tightly held situation.

It’s just that Zen-Den and I disagree over something.  Nothing large, a quiet disagreement.  In fact it might be best described as a puny opinion half-heartedly held situation, but one that does lend itself to consideration and conversation.

Never would I have thought to write about it here except that I’m reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle and in her memoir she talks about that which we disagree on, i.e., the value of texts prompting you to do something now.

In fact if you’ve read what she has written about texting you know that she says: “Texts are not the boss of me, and neither is anybody who texts me.” She is not a fan of them, in general– allowing for a few specific situations in which they are good.

• • •

Getting to our particular disagreement.

Zen-Den, Esq, finds it mildly annoying when someone texts [or worse yet phones] him to say that this someone has sent Z-D an email that they want him to read.  Z-D considers that to be a remnant of old-school business practices left over from when everyone used snail mail and wanted you to know that the document was in the mail.

It is totally unnecessary in today’s electronic world. He thinks of it as weak sauce [my term for his thoughts].

I, on the other hand, like it when someone sends me a short text [no phone calls please] to alert me to the fact that this someone has sent me an email they would like me to read soon.  I consider it a polite heads-up to Ms. Bean, a woman known for forgetting to check her email accounts regularly.

It is not necessary but a good precaution if you want me to read your email on a timely basis.  I call it an act of random kindness.

• • •

So what do you think, my gentle readers?  

Do you like to know when someone has sent you an email? OR do you prefer to find them when you find them?

When receiving a text message about an email that’s been sent to you, does the context, business or personal, influence your answer to the first question?   

Also, do you consider text messages to be bossy? OR do you consider them to be like a polite wave from a neighbor across the street?

Please discuss in the comments below.

• • •