It is the unfortunate state of my being that a doctor’s appointment is a reason to get all gussied up – to shave, to shampoo, to lather, rinse and repeat. To wear nice underwear. I remember when getting gussied up meant cocktails and a good time that didn’t involve a speculum.
Nonetheless. I gussied for the good doctor and enjoyed a 45-minute Wiggles-free drive across the yonder reaches of the metroplex.
As I pulled up to the parking garage gate, I rolled down my window to get a ticket. To my left I saw a young man pulling a cart that was precariously laden with canned soft drinks. I held my breath and waited as he slowly lugged and coaxed the top-heavy cart in front of my car. It teetered, it groaned, it rocked. I breathed a sigh of relief when he finally cleared the gate. I impatiently pushed the big green button, the machine made one of those “Aaaaaant! You lose!” sounds and then spit a ticket at me. The gate went up and I grabbed my ticket anxious to get to my appointment on time.
Just then, soda boy decided that the laws of physics didn’t apply to him. With both hands on the handle, he bent his knees, put his butt into it and jerked the cart in an attempt to hoist the caravan of cokes up and over the curb. The load wavered back and forth in slow motion as though in an earthquake. I knew what was about to happen. I prayed for a different outcome. Then an avalanche of soft drinks tumbled off the cart, onto my car, under my car, into the parking garage and everywhere else. Of course.
What to do? I looked in my rearview mirror. Backing up was not an option. I already had my ticket and there were several cars behind me. The gate was up, but unless I wanted to run over soda boy, his cart and the mother lode of cola, I wasn’t going anywhere soon. Yet I considered it.
Had I a lick of sense, I would have just sat in the car and waited. But no. I did not have a lick of sense. Or a slurp or even a taste. I got my gussied up self out of the car and started hunting cans of soda like they were Easter eggs. And then in some spiteful combination of bad karma and physics, some of the cans started exploding.
Later that same day.
As I was sitting on the table in the doctor’s office wearing a paper gown and scraping dried Dr. Pepper off my ankles with my fingernail, I tried to explain to the nurse why my legs were sticky. She closed her eyes and held up one hand in the universal gesture that means “Shut. Up. Now.” She really didn’t want to know. “No need to explain,” she said. “We’ve seen it all.”
I wanted to explain. I needed to tell her that I don’t normally go out with sticky legs.
“But – but – but I gussied,” I stammered, “I showered! I shaved! I wore nice underwear!”
“I’m sure you did. The doctor will be with you shortly.” And with that she left the room.
Unless he’s serving cocktails next year, I’m not going to bother to gussy. I’ll just spritz a little Dr. Pepper on my legs and be done with it.