Friday, December 30, 2005

The Last 48 Hours Have Been Really Exciting

I mean that in the way Brent Spiner says it in Independence Day, as in aliens have been destroying everything I hold dear.

I didn't go in to the office today, for a couple of reasons, the greatest of which is my embarrassing infection. I will not describe the symptoms here except to say my problem could easily be mistaken for chlamydia. If I didn't know better, I'd say I caught it off a toilet bowl. (Medical personnel have told me this is impossible. This does not change the fact that A Guy Thing is a taut, well-plotted film.) After doing some free research on the World Wide Web, which is really handy for self-diagnosing things before paying someone else to do a "urine dip," I concluded that I had to get some help. So I went to Planned Parenthood.

The good news is that I'm not pregnant. The bad news is that I am on an expensive regimen of pills. Those bastards only take Blue Cross Blue Shield. (If you are not familiar with my hilarious medical history, please search my blog for "poison oak, costly rashes and.") So I am at home listening to bluegrass, drinking a fine bottle of Sangiovese and wondering what the tests will reveal. Everyone was very kind while I was there, although they kept asking me what the problem seemed to be, which got old after having to say the same thing for the third time I'd already had to write on the form. I'd shrug and laugh it off except my birthday's coming up and it seems inevitable that I will spend it taking antibiotics to keep the fucker from spreading to my kidneys. If it were a sitcom it would be funny. But these are my privates.

So, the inside of a Planned Parenthood, for the curious, is not interesting. It is very much like any other outpatient clinic, except on my way out I heard a girl shyly say she needed a pregnancy test. She and her friend were laughing about it, in a Kafkaesque sort of way, and then I saw her rest her head on her friend's shoulder and start to fill out the form as I walked out the door. This, after overhearing a conversation between a nurse and a staffer outside my waiting room that ended in a long, huskily whispered exchange and then cackling laughter right before the nurse came in. That was not funny. (Also not funny was the cold, which I had to endure sans coat today because I rushed out the door in a hurry to catch the bus.) She said it should take a few days to find out what was wrong with me, then presented me with a bill that turned out to say "$187" in small print at the bottom when I gave it to the receptionist for inspection. If you've ever heard the sound a blimp makes as it slowly loses air and descends into a waiting fire, that was the sound I made.

To cheer myself up I bought about $70 worth of hooch on the way back to the metro, which is easier to do in D.C. than in the Commonwealth of Virginia, let me tell you. (You can't get it on Sundays! In this day and age!) I thought I should give myself an excuse to use my fancy new wine aficionado set, which has come in very handy, thank you. Ahhh, I just took another drink. And another and another.

A brief, disjointed anecdote. Last night, while suffering the effects of my diseasedness, I got off the bus and approached my street only to be spotted by a young Mexican guy, who strategically met me in my path and mumbled something unintelligible. I could tell he was drunk, and I don't know what came over me but I started spouting Spanish. See how much of this you can understand. Soy periodista, hombre. No tengo dinero. Lo siento. (No tengo dinero: the eternal complaint of the periodista.) He said another something, which made me reach for my ace in the hole, namely no habla Espanol. For some reason today this episode made me think of a story a friend told me about being in Spain and demanding to be told where she could go rockclimbing sin ropa, as in bouldering without rope, except ropa, to put it mildly, doesn't mean rope. I think all my words fit in the right order and everything, but it seemed like an appropriately hopeless swing and miss all the same. He kept asking me for money, I gathered, and I pointed to my ear and shook my head. I could swear he said "You suck" before wandering off.

So, long story short, the highlight of my day was lunch at a place called "La Madeleine" in Old Town Alexandria. I mean to share it with others. The soup is exquisite. I wrote most of an essay in my head and then had to go get my pee tested, managing to forget most of the good parts. (It was about how James Wood isn't as great as he used to be. This is an essay that needs to be written. When I am back over the weather I might get to it.) Good thing the office was bare as Ma Hubbard's cupboard today, or I might have had some explaining to do about why I went all the way to Farragut North and didn't bring back any scoops on environmentally friendly paintball strategies.

The one nice thing about having an astronomical cable bill every month is that it comes with all the movie channels you could ever want, and I have recorded Before Sunset to enjoy with my wine. All in all, if you discount the psychological damage and attendant lack of exercise, things are actually looking up.


Blogger stephanie said...

Poor dear . . . La Madeline is a chain. You have walked past it with me in Scottsdale Fashion Square more than a few times. That doesn't mean it isn't good, and I've never been so we should definitely go there.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Lapp said...

I know you, don't I? Weren't you the one I saw at the mall in a funny hat taking pictures of me a few months ago?

2:24 PM  
Blogger stephanie said...

Yes, I often wander around malls wearing a coonskin cap and dark sunglasses whilst snapping photos of dashing young men.

7:20 PM  

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