I knew I was in trouble when the traffic came to a standstill. I’d left the house in plenty of time to make my 4 p.m. dermatology appointment but was now cutting it close.
I tried to close my eyes and repeat my TM mantra—the mantra I’ve bastardized multiple times over the years.
But the fumes from the parking lot of cars made my head spin. The last thing I could do was meditate. I was going to be late to an appointment I’d made weeks ago.
I grabbed my cell phone and, as politely as possible, asked Google for the phone number of the dermatologist’s office. Good ole’ Google. She listened like she really wanted to get this one right and managed not to botch the M-D-C I pronounced as loud and carefully as possible amid horns honking and the almost audible fumes from drivers forced to wait for the traffic to squeeze into one lane.
It was pushing 4. The office would be closing in an hour.
I dialed the number.
“MBC, may I help you?” The guy on the line tried hard to sound welcoming, but I could tell he’d done his bit multiple times since early that morning and was ready to head home.
I explained my predicament with the traffic and the cyst I had to have removed and the weeks I’d waited for the appointment. He put me on hold to check with Dr. Peters.
“If you can be here no later than 4:10, the doctor will see you.”
By the time I made it through the traffic jam and onto Lake Shore Drive, I had 12 minutes left.
I stomped on the accelerator, convinced myself that there were no cop cars sitting in blinds waiting to pull me over, and raced like I was hightailing toward a lake while being chased by a swarm of bees.
I pulled off the drive and right into more traffic. But I’d been down this road before, switched to the far left lane and managed to make half of the lights before they turned red. By the time I parallel parked in front of the office, I actually had 45 seconds to spare.
“I made it,” I announced out of breath as I approached the all-too-friendly desk assistant whose eyes were glazed with fatigue as I’d imagined.
“Just have a seat.” And then the proverbial, “The doctor will be with you shortly.”
At that point, I didn’t care if I had to wait. At least, I’d eventually have the damn cyst removed. Eventually . . .
Eventually had turned into a hour for the woman standing next to me. She was, as they say, reaming the poor guy a new (fill in the blank). And I’m wondering why the hell I had to beat my ass to the appointment when I’d clearly have to wait as well.
Eventually, I was invited into the inner sanctum with another “The doctor will see you shortly.”
I wasn’t stupid. I knew I’d be sitting in the frigid air conditioning wishing that I’d brought a sweater.
Eventually, Dr. Peters strolled into the room. A tall guy with a too-short haircut and stylish glasses, he asked me a few questions and then had a look at the cyst on the top of my scalp.
“Wow, that’s a big one.” He grabbed his measuring ruler. “This is 1.8 centimeters. Much too big for us. We only remove cysts like this that are 1 centimeter or less.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Sorry, but I’m not.
He took out a pad of paper and scribbled the name of a “very good plastic surgeon.”
Before I could beg the guy to make an exception and remove the cyst, he’d quick stepped out of the room.
I’m sure he knew I was ready to do what the disgruntled woman had done after waiting for an hour.
While I’d waited for my ill-fated session with the doctor, I’d grabbed all the free samples of dark eye cream, SPF 45 suntan lotion, scar whitening cream I could stuff into my purse. But, now, the added weight of samples in my purse weighed me down. I wanted the real thing.
So, what does a woman do to ease her frustration when she’s on the latest diet and starving, angry at an aging husband whose lost his je ne sais pa, or is told to find another doctor—and a plastic surgeon at that. The answer to the question doesn’t take a brain surgeon or a plastic surgeon, either. She goes shopping.
I didn’t have to go far.
The “real” bottles and jars of the samples I’d stuffed in my purse were poised on under lit, glass shelves directly behind check out desk.
The accounting assistant asked me if “That was all?”
Well, no, it wasn’t all. I bought the afore-mentioned whitening cream, the “most protective, natural” SPF suntan lotion, and a $70 jar of under eye cream that promised to get rid of those dark circles in a jiffy. (I hadn’t slept well the night before and figured that was cosmetic I definitely needed.)
In total, I spent over $170 plus whatever my co-pay would be once Medicare paid its share. (God, I hope my husband doesn’t read this!)
I now have enough product to open my own online business. Skip the bricks and mortar.
And I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon a week from Tuesday.