Dude, Take a Breath

I was running errands recently, and one of the things on the to-do list was a stop at the post office. I had pulled into the suicide lane (aka the middle lane) of a busy 4 lane highway, because I had to make a left turn to get into the parking lot. I had plenty of time to assess the situation, because there was a lot of oncoming traffic to wait for.

As I sat there, I saw a man walking up the sidewalk. When there was a gap in the traffic, I noted that he was at least 20 feet from the driveway, and moving slowly, so I decided it was safe to make my move. And then he sped up.

But by that time, I was already committed. I was crossing the oncoming lanes, and cars were coming. When I passed in front of him, he was still a good 10 feet from the driveway, so I thought nothing of it.

I parked. It took a moment to gather my belongings. That turned out to be very, very fortunate, because the next thing I knew, the guy was pounding on my window and screaming at me.

“You b**ch! You almost killed me! You didn’t even see me.”

I tried to remain calm. I said, “Of course I saw you. That’s why I didn’t kill you.”

The whole time, he’s beating on my window, and I’m praying that the glass will hold, and feeling grateful that I had remained in my car long enough to have this conversation with a bit of a barrier between us. Because the man was unhinged. His eyes were bulging out of his head from pure rage. He proceeded to shout at everyone in the parking lot, telling them what a b**ch I was, and how I’d attempted to kill him.

Because, yeah, that’s my goal in life.

Needless to say, I didn’t get out of my car. Eventually he stormed off down the street. To say I was a bit shaken by this incident is putting it mildly. I decided not to pick up the mail after all.

To this day, that parking lot gives me a frisson. I make a point of looking all around me before I step out of the car. This guy will forever haunt the post office for me.

I really don’t understand people who go from zero to outraged in 2 seconds. Especially when the situation does not merit that level of aggression. I did not harm a hair on his chinny chin chin. Why did he attempt to harm me?

If Homie hadn’t gone completely crackers on me, we could have had a reasonable discourse. I would have apologized for startling him. That certainly wasn’t my intent. I must have triggered something in him. We all come with baggage. Sometimes our reactions have more to do with the past than the present.

But one wonders what a guy like that would do in private if he’s so willing to attack a woman in public. I wouldn’t want his life, where the tiniest of things brings him to the rage place. Along with being profoundly dysfunctional, it must be exhausting and isolating.

I suspect he will be dining alone come Thanksgiving.

Rage

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Patient. Until I’m Not.

I got a unique look at myself from the outside the other day. It happened like this: I had a full-blown meltdown in public.

From the inside, it made perfect sense, because it had been building and building and building for hours. So the transition, for me, didn’t seem very abrupt. It was simply the last freakin’ straw.

But from the outside, I must have looked like I was completely and utterly unhinged. “What’s her problem? She was fine a second ago…”

I think most people would say I’m a patient, tolerant person. I take pride in those qualities. But every once in a while, you’ll go too far, and the Kraken gets unleashed.

I had a cold. A bad cold. And I had been struggling with it for three, count ‘em, three weeks. I couldn’t take it anymore. But my doctor had retried. And the new one I want to start seeing wasn’t taking new patients until February. I didn’t want to start up with a third, only to switch a month later. What a hassle. So I decided to go to an urgent care clinic. There’d be no loyalties to break there, right? They live for walk ins.

Indeed they must, because the waiting room was filled to overflowing with what looked like the walking dead. I was informed there would be an hour and a half wait. Sigh.

But what the heck. I just needed someone to prescribe me a z-pack and some cough medication, so when I finally got in, it should only take about 5 minutes. Worth it.

They gave me some “please don’t try to sue us” forms to fill out. Which I did. But even in my oversick, addled brain, I sensed that something was weird. Oh. They didn’t have me fill out anything about my medical history. Uh, don’t they care? They ought to care.

But I was so sick. I asked at the desk. They said to each other, “Oh, she’s urgent care.” The way they said “urgent” led me to believe that we, the urgent ones, actually were their lowest priorities. I was told they’d take care of that when I was called in.

So I settled back in my chair, between the man who was shouting that the birth date on his birth certificate wasn’t really when he was born, and the defeated looking woman with the five kids with green snot running out of their noses. And I think I dozed off out of sheer self-preservation.

Two hours later, I was called in. The usual stuff. Weight. Temperature. Blood pressure. Then the lady sits in front of a computer and starts asking me medical history questions. My answers never quite seemed to fit anything in her drop down menu. So she’d click “other” and have to type things in. Which was just dandy, because she couldn’t spell. I had to spell everything for her, and she kept stopping me in the middle and making me repeat it over, because she was throwing in random letters that I hadn’t said. I wanted to snatch the keyboard from her and do it my danged self. Heaven only knows what their file now says about me.

Thirty minutes later, she tells me the nurse practitioner will be in in a moment. I fell asleep again. When she finally comes in, the nurse practitioner confirms that I am, indeed, very sick. And she prescribes, as predicted, a z-pack and some cough medicine.

She also says she’ll write a doctor’s note so I can miss two days of work, which makes me want to kiss her on the lips. (In Florida, a right to work state, you practically have to be bleeding out of two of the five major orifices before a doctor will even consider writing such a note. God, I love the left coast!)

She says someone will come in and get my pharmacy info and give me the note. And then I can go. Yay!

Indeed, the same illiterate woman comes in, asks me my pharmacy info, and leaves without saying a word, and without giving me the note. I fall back asleep.

I wake up with a snort, look at my phone, and realize I’ve been in the clinic for 3 ½ hours. Seriously? I mean, what the actual F is the hold up? I open the door. I try flagging several staff people as they walk by, not meeting my eyes. I finally get someone I haven’t seen before, and I burst into tears and say, “Look, I’m supposed to have two prescriptions and a doctor’s note, and I’ve been here for 3 ½ hours, and I just want to go home!”

Much scrambling around. Turns out the prescriptions had been called in ages ago. But no one can find the note. They track down the NP, and she confirms that she wrote the note ages ago. Why had nobody printed it out and sent me off? Good freakin’ question.

The note was stuck in the printing queue. The staff had somehow forgotten I was there, and apparently, even though the place was overcrowded, they didn’t find it at all odd that some random woman was snoring in one of their exam rooms.

Finally, the note is printed out and handed to me, but in my sick fog, I can’t find the exit. The woman offers to show me out. Tears are running down my face. She stops. Says I look hungry and thirsty. Offers me a bottle of water and a granola bar.

I look at her. I screech, “I. Just. Want. To go. HOME!!!!!!!!”

All activity around me stops. I’m shown the door.

And I realize that from the inside, what appeared like a well-deserved, slow-building, epic last stand, from the outside probably looked like an abrupt and unexpected temper tantrum. Because I really am a patient person. Until I’m not.

When I got home, I finally read the note, and it only gives me one day off work instead of the promised two. Sigh. Whatever.

puu_oo_cropped

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