Tag Archives: Relationships

Scenes From A Doctor’s Office

I am seated comfortably on the couch waiting for my appointment. I pull out my new Kindle, feeling very smug that I remembered to bring it because 1) the only magazines available are parenting magazines, and 2) it just looks really cool to be sitting around reading on your Kindle. I feel very calm and organized and well-read. (By the way, I’m reading The Weird Sisters and it’s fantastic so far. So good that I am wishing I had a physical book so I can underline all of the good sentences. The highlight thing doesn’t really do it for me. But the dictionary function is all kinds of awesome.)

The door opens and two women enter. They are both short and squat, so they look as tall as they are wide. Kind of like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. I only mean this physically, I don’t know about intellectually. One is very pregnant, the other is not. Although there is an entire empty couch across from me and various chairs, the pregnant lady (I’ll call her “Dee”) beelines for the other end of the couch I’m sitting on. Well, she doesn’t beeline because let’s face it, none of us can move that fast while carrying a human being in our gut. But she does move with great purpose. The not pregnant lady (I’ll call her “Dum”) rushes to position the pillow behind Dee before she sits down. Apparently, this is Dee’s favorite spot and she likes her pillow just so.

I smile nicely at the pair of them, even though I generally like my personal space. But it’s 3 o’clock on a Monday afternoon, I just quit my job and have nowhere to be, and I’ve got my Kindle and my new I-phone and I’m pretty zen these days.

In my book, Bean is hulling the strawberries. I use my nifty dictionary function to look up that word and then look up calyx and then corona and corolla and so on. This dictionary function is addictive. I am so engrossed that I miss the beginning of the Tweedles conversation, but when Dum makes a sudden shaking movement that sends me up into the air on my end of the couch, I am forced to look up and eavesdrop.

The sudden motion was Dum ripping the band out of her hair and shaking her head vigorously. She then very daintily places her fingers on her forehead and begins to gingerly push around on her head.

Dee is on her mobile device. It’s not an I phone or an Android but some inbetween version as far as I can tell. Bigger than a cell phone. Not as big as an I Pad. Dee pushes a few buttons and stares intently at the screen.

Dum suddenly stops her hands as if she’s receiving a message. “Here,” she says. “My head hurts here.”

“Is that where you hit your head?” asks Dee.

“No,” says Dum. “I hit the back of my head. But my head hurts in the front, like when I get my headaches.”

I wait for Dee to ask if this is one of her normal headaches, but she doesn’t. Apparently, Dee is neither a doctor nor a lawyer nor a logical one.

Dee squints. “Well, it says here it could be a concussion. Or a tumor. Are you seeing black spots?”

Dum is still softly pulling at different parts of her head. She is a large woman, but she moves very gracefully, sort of like a fat ballerina. She seems to point her fingers, if that’s even possible.

“Hmmm, only when I stare at the sun. Does that count?” Dum answers.

Dee doesn’t answer immediately. Is this something she has to think about? My wonderful book has long been forgotten. I had no idea you could diagnose brain injuries via your cell phone. What did we do before Web MD?

I am waiting with bated breath to find out if Dum does indeed have a brain injury or if she’s just slightly stupid (does Web MD diagnose stupidity?) when Dee interrupts her own diagnosing to answer her phone. The ringtone is a quacking duck.

“TONY? IS EVERYTHING OK?” Dee yells into the phone. “It’s Tony, at Sammy’s school,” she loud whispers to Dum. Yes, Dee, we all know who it is.

Dum giggles. “You’re yelling,” she says sweetly, as if it’s a cute quirk of Dee’s personality. Dee shrugs.

“WHO GOT BIT? SAMMY GOT BIT OR SAMMY BIT SOMEONE?” Dee yells. “Someone bit Sammy,” she says to Dum. She apparently is going to give Dum a play by play of her own phone call, even though everyone in the waiting room can hear her.


Dum opens her mouth wide, like she is shocked. “Is Sammy ok?” she whispers to Dee. Dee holds up her finger, as if to say wait for it. Dum grabs her hand to hold it, showing her support. Now I’m thinking that Dum has quite the crush on our girl Dee.

Dee gets off the phone and puts in her purse, the brain injury apparently forgotten. She makes a big show of closing her purse, sighing loudly, folding her free head over her forehead.

“He’s okay,” she finally tells Dum.

Dum exhales loudly. “Thank God,” she says. “Sammy is just a sweet, sweet boy.”

“He is,” Dee agrees. “You know, there’s a biter at his school, but it’s not Sammy. I know who it is, but I’m not supposed to know.”

Dum then tries to guess various potential suspects at Sammy’s school. Dee finally gives up the information. Some kid named Jordan. Boy? Girl? Who knows.

Dum again tells Dee how sweet and precious Sammy is. “You got really lucky,” she tells Dee. “He’s really so much sweeter than all the other kids.”

Dee nods. “He never bites at school. He bites me at home, but I just pinch him back on his arm, as hard as he’s biting me and he usually stops.”

Dum laughs. “That Sammy. Such a trouble-maker. So precious. He reminds me of Mom.”

Ah. They are sisters! The similar squatness, the hand holding, the closeness, the pillow puffing, now all seems sweet rather than the creepy Single White Female crazy vibe I was getting.

Unfortunately, my name is called at this moment and I am whisked away, never to know whether Dum does indeed have a brain injury, or if Dee has other genius parenting tips that I can take note of.

Morale of this story? Besides, don’t be so loud in a public place that you become the unwitting fodder for a bored writer’s blog post? It’s that people always surprise you. And are never what they seem. Which is what keeps life interesting.

Thank you ladies, for thoroughly entertaining me.


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What Kind of Bachelor Girl Would You Be?

I’m fascinated by The Bachelor. Even for smart, well-read girls who know better, there is something captivating about this show. Part cat fight, part romantic comedy, part train wreck, it’s ridiculous, but it’s never boring.

I admit I mostly watch it for the stupidity. The things these girls and guys say are GENIUS. And crazy. Reading the re-caps the next day is often even better than the actual show. I have forced myself to suffer through many a terrible episode, simply because I want to be able to laugh through the recap.  (My favorite recap here– speaking of which, how does one get THAT job? Being paid to watch crap TV and then write a snarky post about it? Sign me up.)

But of course, there is a part of me that wants it to work out, that wants the guy to pick the RIGHT girl or the girl to pick the RIGHT guy. Even though I know better, it’s still a tv show, and I do like a happy ending.

So I was watching the most recent version. And the girls were all crying, except for Michelle, the crazy one. And I got to thinking. What kind of Bachelor Girl would I be? Because this is a TV show, which means the writers and producers make you a type. And you have to have a “character” on the show. And in this particular show, you have to either be a total psycho or totally comfortable and willing to a) fight for a guy with twenty other women, and b) make out in front of tons of people. For those reasons alone, I don’t think I would even get on the show.

But let’s say you make it on the show. And you know all of this. You know half those girls have watched previous seasons and think “Oh, I’d never act like that.” But they all do. Does the house itself make the girls crazy? Do they put something in their drinks? Are they hypnotized upon arrival, to suddenly be crazy in love with some dud of a guy? Because really? Brad? Get a group of ten of my best girlfriends together, meet this guy at a bar, and I promise you, none of us would be crying and chasing after him and begging him to make babies with us.

And it’s clear that there are girls who don’t, in fact, feel a “connection” with the Bachelor. There are girls who would go on a date with him and think, he’s a nice guy, but maybe he has too many muscles and just isn’t for me. And she would either politely decline his next invite or ignore his phone calls. But what she wouldn’t do is keep dating him even though she didn’t like him. And she certainly wouldn’t hang in there just to see if he might propose. You know, for fun. I watch the show and every season I think, this will be the year that ONE of these girls stands up and says, you know, living in a fantasy house with twenty other crying women sure has been fun and all, but both you and I know that we aren’t meant to be and let’s just call it what it is. Then maybe she could pull him aside and tell him the real scoop on all the crazies left in the house. Then she’d skip out of the house, conduct her “exit interview” with laughter and grace and go home to meet someone she really might fall in love with. Or probably get her own reality show. But that never happens. Never.

Is it the competition? Now that I might understand. In fact, I participated in my own version of The Bachelor. It was summer camp, circa 1989. All the girls in my cabin decided that “Michael” was THE guy. So we all liked Michael. We all tried to make eyes at him over our punch at afternoon refreshment time, to make a “connection”.  We all tried to stand out and get him to notice us, even though the boys camp and girls camp were separate and we only saw the boys in passing at meals and nightly campfire. Which meant none of us had ever talked to Michael. One girl knew him from back home and said he was “fine” and “cool”, which was enough. So the last week of camp, the big dance arrived and we were all posing on one side of the tennis court. We all stood around, hoping Michael had noticed the way we had jauntily carried our tray of sloppy joes, or maybe the adorable way we sang “One Tin Soldier” at campfire. And like most boys at the age of 14 or so, he stayed on his side of the tennis court. Until the last song of the evening, “Stairway to Heaven” when Michael walked over… to me! He picked me! We DID have a connection. We slow-danced to Stairway To Heaven. While everyone watched and the other girls in my cabin cried, because they thought they had a connection. And then he kissed me. In front of everyone. And I like, didn’t care, because he picked ME. Also I was 14 and had no ability to be embarrassed. And then we left camp and Michael called me and we talked on the phone for like, hours. A whole weekend, in fact. I realized that though Michael was indeed, “fine” and “tall”, he was quite boring and we had nothing in common. And that was the end of that.

So maybe I do understand the Bachelor. It’s really a psychological study about girl-think and how girls can get so wrapped up in the idea of something that they don’t ever ask themselves if this is something they really want. Because at the end of the day, those girls spend way more time with each other than the Bachelor. And after the fake emotional high of not getting picked fades (like in the limo ride home), I wonder how many of them wish they’d spent more time making friends instead of fighting. Because who else will understand the totally hype-induced drama that you just went through? Who else won’t judge you because you went on a reality tv show and tried to win a husband? Who else can you call when some real life guy says he’d really like to date you, but he can’t because he watched you make out with some doofus on national television?

So I keep watching. For the fauxmance and the crying, sure, but also I keep watching, and waiting, for that girl to stand up and say enough is enough. Cause THAT’s the Bachelor girl I hope I would be. But maybe I’d wait till after the fabulous vacation part. I’ve never been to New Zealand, after all.


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Tell Me What You Think, What You Really Really Think

Does anyone ever just say what they mean? Like no-holds-barred, tell it like it is, kick-you-in-the-crotch and spit-on-your-neck honest?

I find myself having to resist this urge lately. I find myself in a few (very few) relationships lately with people who I think need a pretty severe reality slap. People whose expectations and outlooks are seriously out of whack with reality and possibility. I tend to be neutral, to let these people vent or get out their feelings, without really telling them what I think. I’m a relatively honest person in that I don’t lie very well and don’t feel the need to lie, especially about how I feel about things in my life. But I’m not confrontational and I won’t be completely honest about how I feel about YOU and your behavior.

I am starting to reconsider this approach. Is it doing anyone any good? I try to put myself in their shoes. Would I want someone to take my hand and gently, but firmly, tell me to get a grip? I think yes. I would, I do appreciate when someone points out my (ridiculous) behavior and suggests perhaps I should look at it from another point of view.

Why do we shy away from the hard talk? We seem to respect it in our characters in television, movies and books. Gregory House and Elizabeth Bennett are a few that come to mind. Everyone knows that the only opinion on American Idol that counted was Simon Cowell’s because he wasn’t afraid to say what he really thought.

What about in real life? I think I respect someone who would not be afraid to be honest with me, who would not hesitate to lay it on the line. But would I? Or would I just think, man he’s rude? Or wow, what a bitch?

In my writing classes, I find myself going overboard to be effusive about others’ work. Is this really helpful? I do it because 1) I want to be “nice”, I want people to like me; and 2) because I know how hard it is to put your work out there and I really want to encourage other writers. I remember needing the praise (and still do). But. Isn’t there a way to encourage without falsity? In my own critiques, I dismiss people who are effusive. I listen to the ones that offer me real insight and tell me what’s wrong. Because it makes me better.

I am thinking of trying an experiment. Of spending a whole week in honesty. Of gently, but firmly, putting the truth out there and seeing what happens. Of not flinching from the consequences, of not worrying about what others think of me, of not being concerned with whether I am liked or not.

Now, I’m not talking about the nuances and dances that are necessary in relationships. I am not going to walk around and spout out honesty at people like a weapon. And I’m not talking about going overboard. I have an acquaintance who is unreasonably rude and unyielding. She uses honesty as her excuse. She says “I’m not being rude, I’m just being honest.” No, she’s being rude. Being rude is not what I’m going for.

But if you ask me what I think? I’m going to try honesty. Consider this your notice and your warning.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Eek.

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