I had to go the lady doctor the other day, which always brings a sense of joy into my life. As the friendly nurse had me step on the scale, she told me to put my purse on the counter. At which point, one of the reception staff told me snarkily to take my purse off of the counter and put it on the floor. It was too early for me to be snarky back and so I did so. As I stepped on the scale, I could see the nurse seething with indignation. But the scale showed that I am continuing to get skinny, and with that good news I waltzed into the bathroom to complete the necessary task of a urine sample.
The nurses stationed outside of the bathroom, obviously unaware that the door was too thin not to allow for some eavesdropping, begin to talk amongst themselves about this incident. I heard the nurse who greeted me complain "I don't care if it's her birthday. That was really rude, and somebody should say something to the manager." As I came out of the bathroom I pretended that I didn't hear a word. She escorted me to the examination room and told me, rather pointedly, to please put my purse on the chair.
I thought about the reception woman. She was fat, homely, and obviously had a lot of other things going on in her life that made making other people feel like their purses are far too germy to take up the limited space on her counter that was already crowded with stuffed animals, Saints pompoms and religious paraphanelia, a perfectly normal part of her day. Perhaps this was an oversight on her part. Perhaps she was just one of those people who found it impossible to realize the effect of her words on other people. Maybe I would even pray for her at Mass, to let whatever underlying evils in her life that made her behave that way would dissipate, leaving her light as air. And somewhat less of a cunt.
For those of you who know me well, you are surely thinking that I am a changed woman.
But then I put my feet in the stirrups and started thinking. I thought about how her making me put my purse on the floor, a thing I always try to avoid as much as humanly possible, made my purse even germier and thus, even more of a threat to mankind. I thought about all the germs that were clinging to her tacky counter collection, airborne no doubt by all the diseased patients that dared step foot in her door. I thought about her job in a doctor's office, where disinfectant was readily available and could be tactfully used after the carrier of accessory borne bubonic plague had gone out of sight. And last, I remembered that I, by being a client at this office, was paying her salary. In short, the bitch had to pay. It was just a matter of figuring out just how to do that.
I looked down at my doctor fiddling with some contraption between my knees and thought how my payment of her salary trickled down to this woman - although it must be said that even a gynecologist was better at customer service. I thought of perhaps letting her in on the little scene. But no one likes a tattletale, and I certainly wasn't going to risk it with a woman who had access to a prescription pad that I might find handy one day. And, for the same reasons a talk or a letter to the "manager," would probably be just as ineffective. But still, the indignation curdled.
I was running late to work, but as I was getting ready to exit I saw the desk with a birthday balloon and the woman behind it staring vapidly into space. And I got a flash of brilliance. So, I asked one of the staff to call her over to me. And she came, with that look of dread that I often see on the face of a dog who just knows they're going to get it.
I pointedly placed my purse on the counter, and just so I'd further infect it, leaned my elbows on it as I looked at her and smiled brightly.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"Marion," she reluctantly replied.
"Well, Marion, I hear that today is your birthday. And I came over to wish you a happy birthday, Marion. Have an excellent one, Marion. See ya later!"
And I walked out enjoying her stunned expression.
For those of you who cannot follow that particular path of action, let me explain the 2 alternative purposes this served.
1. I made it clear that I knew her name. Which means that she probably went back to her chair, stared at her cheap print of "Footprints" while worriedly twiddling her thumbs wondering at what point in the next few days she would be called in for a reprimand. Maybe even she would worry about her job, and what kind of health insurance she would be able to find for her impending Type 2 Diabetes. Or even better, hopefully that was a pre-existing condition, which would make it more fun.
2. She went back to her chair, stared at her cheap print of "Footprints," and thought about what a good Christian I was, to turn the other cheek in spite of her arbitrary rudeness and this completely made her feel like shit. And hopefully saved another person's purse from suffering the same fate that mine did.
Yes, it is of course possible that neither of these things happened because she looked like the type whose skull was about 6 inches thick. But it had been a long time since I had felt the passion to call out an asshole for being one.
On my way back to my car, I couldn't stop giggling inanely.
I slept well that night.
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