June 22, 2018

excuse me, but you're out of paper towels

Statistics as a concept is toying with me today.

The day was slated for a marathon of doctors' appointments, to get absolutely everything medical done and dusted without having to take time off work.  I woke early, stretched, and brewed a fragrant cup of Brazilian coffee, in which a gnat promptly died of happiness.

It must have been happiness.  Many, many gnats seem to love doing this.  Word must get around.

Last summer, we had an outbreak of gnats that drove us to the edge of everything that has edges.  I littered the kitchen with traps made out of plastic bottles, banana chunks and soap.  They worked well, but the gnats thrived until, weeks later, we finally realized we needed to bleach some pipes to within an inch of their lives, and then suddenly the gnats packed up and disappeared.

During our stay in Gnatland, though, we observed something undeniable that we still cannot explain.  If P.J. made a cup of coffee, or had a cup she was drinking, or even left a cup of coffee sitting out for hours, forgotten, it was unmolested.  Any cup of coffee that I made, however, had a gnat in it within ten minutes of brewing.  Once, there were two gnats, though I had only turned my back to the cup for a moment.

We can posit things, things like "gnats love coffee" and "there are a lot of gnats and only so much surface area so it was bound to happen eventually", but this happened to me over and over, and it's starting again.  Never her coffee.  Always mine.  We use the same pods, the same sweetener and amount, and the same creamer and amount.  It's the same fucking coffee.

This morning, I just poured it out and made another cup.  In a travel mug with a lid on it.  That was closed.  Tightly.

I dropped Rose off at Angela's house for some social dog time.  Angela runs a doggie day care business out of her home.  Here, "out of her home" means the dogs come stay in her house, play in her back yard, and if they're staying overnight, sleep with her kids in their beds or anywhere in the house they feel like sleeping.  It's boarding combined with the world's best dog park.

The coffee had run its course by the time I reached the first doctor, the one who was going to weigh me post-Holy-Shit Diet.  This enabled me to capitalize on caffeine's diuretic effect and use the restroom there before I was called back for my appointment.  The lobby restroom there is decorated with homey items made of wicker that complement metal wall art.  I washed my hands.  They got points for having foaming soap, but the motion-sensing paper towel dispenser was empty.  I had to wipe my hands on my dress.  I hate when that happens.

I was six pounds down from my highest holy-shit weight.  Mission accomplished.  Unfortunately, my blood pressure was 90/60, so allowing caffeine in that home stretch left me unwisely dehydrated.  I did still seem to have a pulse.  And I did tell my doctor about the Holy-Shit Diet, which made her laugh, because at the end of it, I still lost six pounds, and that's all to the good.  She ordered a thyroid panel since I've started lithium and said, "See you in six months!"

The next stop was the gynecologist, everyone's favorite place to be.  I've honestly never cared much about what goes on, except for the excess of babies in the lobby.  After all these years, I still bristle a little because of my first son.  I used the lobby restroom because the coffee was continuing to squeeze all of the water from my body.  I washed my hands with the generic orange Dial soap.  They were out of paper towels.  I wiped my hands on my dress again.

My favorite GYN retired last year.  We spent four years in a row discussing his wife's Keurig machine during the examinations.  It was a running thing, picking up the conversation where we'd left off the previous year.  Before I nabbed him, I was stuck for years with a P.A. who is very conservative and anti-gay and asked me every visit if I still had the same female partner.  I finally snapped a few years ago and politely asked her if she questioned every other patient each visit as to whether she had the same husband.  Then I switched caregivers.

Today was a new guy, nice enough if a bit too talkative.  I didn't give a shit about the examination.  It's just a speculum and a cotton swab.  Meh.  What I gave a shit about was the art hanging in the exam room.  The time between donning the front-opening gown and inadequate sheet and the doctor's arrival always seems like a small eternity, so one is forced to look around at whatever informational posters and old magazines happen to be there.  But this print ... I couldn't tear my eyes away.  It seems generic and harmless until you really look at it.



They didn't have Photoshop when this was painted, but that straw hat is a fake.  It cannot possibly be touching the top of her head.  The painter plastered it there as an afterthought and did a terrible job.  All I could do was stare at the train wreck of that floating straw hat.  I'm asking for a different exam room next year.

I ate a protein bar on the way to my eye exam, full of myself for being a paragon of efficiency today.  I sat in the parking lot and made important, productive phone calls.  Then I had my eyeballs air-puffed, dilated, temporarily blinded, tested, analyzed, and declared to be almost the same eyeballs that I had last year.

The optometrist's office abuts a store that sells all manner of glasses, so I puttered in there a bit.  My prescription was only marginally different but they had a good sale going.  An employee offered to help me and I told him I wanted to pick out two pairs of frames and get glasses.  I found what I wanted in what constitutes record time for me (less than a full hour) and went over to the service table.  The employee said, "I'll be right with you, let me just take care of these folks first," and helped three people up at the main counter.  I stood and waited.  Then he scurried by and said, "Let me just help these folks real quick," and sat down at a service table with a man and his daughter who arrived after I did.  Fifteen minutes later, he was still "helping them real quick".

This kind of thing happens to me a lot.  I'm short, my hair is plain, I wear cute little dresses, and my posture and behavior cry out "don't worry about me, I won't make a fuss."  Today, I wasn't having it.  I set the frames down on his other table and walked right past him and out the door.  I didn't even need fucking glasses.

I spent that glasses-ordering time across the street at the mall instead, wearing sunglasses indoors because I still looked like Cartman with huge pupils.  Why were you at the mall, Lille?  You hate the mall, Lille.  Remember?  That would be because one of my new strappy sandals had broken during the course of the morning.  The same way that a new sandal broke in the same spot three weeks ago, while I was at work.  I want to know if this has happened to anyone else, because right now, I'm convinced Statistics is messing me around.

I bought the new pair of sneakers I needed.  They're black and silver with rainbow-colored soles and laces.  My son says they're totally gay.  I like them.  I sat on a bench in the mall outside of the shoe store and swapped my sandals out for these screaming-bright new shoes and walked proudly around the mall once, to get in steps.

I was just as proud of the shoes when I walked into my ex-monk's office.  I took a deep breath and did what I was obligated to do, which was to thank him for his gentle persistence, because the lithium is magical and I want more of it and he was right and I was wrong.  He smiled, but it wasn't smug.  It was a real smile.  I left holding a prescription bumping me up to 300 mg and stopped by the restroom.  I washed my hands.  They were out of paper towels.  My dress once again doubled as a hand towel.

Between the gnat in my coffee, the broken sandal, and what appears to be the receiving end of a national paper towel distributors' strike, I feel statistically harassed by the Universe.  We can throw in the spider web face thing, which is impossible but happens anyway.

Why are there patterns here?  That's not how Things work.  I should not be this thoroughly adept at distinguishing between a floating gnat and a floating coffee ground, and my oh-I-don't-mind little shift dress should not be damp.

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