It’s that time of year. Time for my annual gynecologist appointment! I don’t know about all women, but my allegiance to my very personal doctor is strong. I’ve gone to my gynecologist ever since I moved to Milford. I may only see him once a year, but he sees more of me than even Billy sees. But when I went to call him for my checkup, I saw that his name was no longer announced by the office in which he ordinarily worked. I figured he’d gone and opened a private practice, so I called my old coworker, who also visited the same guy, and asked her where he was and how I could get in touch with him.
“You didn’t hear?” She said.
I immediately worried. Sex scandal? Sued by a patient like Annabella Sciorra's character in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle for touching her inappropriately? Disbarred (if they do that to doctors)? Stripped of his license? Gone crazy? What? “No,” I replied hesitantly, unsure that I wanted the answer. “I didn’t hear anything.”
“He’s gone,” she began, her smile audible in her voice. “He’s working for NASA now. He’s going to – get this – become an astrophysicist.”
To say I was surprised would be a drastic understatement. “An astrophysicist?”
“Yeah. He’s a working as a doctor for NASA now while he goes to school so that he can do, you know, whatever an astrophysicist does.”
How random is that? My gynecologist got so sick of seeing vaginas on a daily basis that he’s going to NASA. And he now hopes to study outer-space. I could make a very off-color joke about black holes and ASStrophysics, but I’ll spare you the gross humor.
On another, completely unrelated, note, this is week is, apparently, National Slow Driver week. I mean, there’s nothing on my calendar that says that, and I haven’t heard it on the news or anything, but I’m pretty sure it is. Because that’s the only explanation for the fact that every goddamn time I’ve driven anywhere since Monday, I get stuck behind someone going at least ten miles under the already-too-slow speed limit.
I may have mentioned this before, but I’ll spare myself the look through the archives and just explain it again – just in case. My drive to work is roughly 23 minutes, on a long, winding road that is referred to not as a highway or street, but a Route. At any rate, it’s long and stretches between my house and my place of employment, flanked by forests and state land on either side. A long, solid, foreboding yellow Do Not Pass line snakes through the center of the road, save for only two hopelessly short sections of dashed line that tell you it’s okay to scoot around the asshole in front of you. Literally, these sections are about five car-lengths long; Whatever the bare-minimum is for a passing zone: That’s what these sections are. They come toward the end of my ride, too, when I’m less than two miles away from work. So when I turn onto the Route I take to work, and see that I’ve unfortunately landed behind some dump truck/construction vehicle/school bus/old person, I know I’m fucked. And that’s what’s happened, EVERY DAY, TO AND FROM WORK, this week. I kid you not. And, Tuesday, as I eyeballed the handicapped New Jersey plate that belonged to the two old geezers that just HAD to pull out in front of me on my way home (even though there were no cars behind me at the time), I noticed that an SUV was coming up behind me, full-throttle. When the driver of the Mercedes got close enough to my car so that he could smell my perfume, s/he began to weave around, sort of attempting to nuzzle my bumper with his own, in an effort, I guess, to see if I was the reason for the big hold up. Because that meant he could hate me. And I did not want to be held accountable for our snail’s pace. I even sort of drifted to the shoulder to show him “hey, not it, buddy. Look, it’s them, not me. I want to go fast, too. I'm like you. Don’t blame me for the fact that we’re doing 40 in a 55.” And saying we were doing 40 was being generous. That’s the top speed we reached when coasting down a hill, before Ma & Pa Kettle ahead of me hit their brakes to harness the out-of-control momentum of their speeding Buick. They were the sort of drivers who, even given their ridiculously slow driving, chose to brake around turns and slow almost to a stop when encountering a cross-road of any kind. You know, just in case. Cleary, Mr. or Mrs. Mercedes behind me had had enough of this, because, out of nowhere, the Mercedes was suddenly beside me. In a no-passing zone. On a curve. And a hill. Now, PA has a law, for some ridiculous reason, that says you can pass in a no-passing-zone, so long as there isn’t a sign there that says “No Passing.” So, really, the yellow lines that we’re all taught mean “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT PASSING HERE” really mean absolutely nothing. It’s the teeny tiny sideways-triangle sign that says “No passing” to which we really must pay attention. But I don’t risk it, ever. Because my SUV is only powered by 4-Cylinders, which means it doesn’t have a whole lotta get-up-and-go, if you know what I mean, especially up hills and the like. Besides, you never know how fast someone is barreling around the next corner. And because that whole sign thing is very vague. If you see that sign that tells you to obey the lines, how long until the sign’s like, “Okay. It’s alright. You can ignore the yellow line now. I’m tired of policing you people”? I mean, where does the sign’s authority run out? I don’t know. So I don’t do it until I see those friendly little dashes.
So, anyway. Mercedes beside me, solid yellow line, around a curve on a hill. And I, for the record, am very close to the geezer in front of me. Because, obviously, the closer I get to his ass, the more time I save. Duh. Anyway. The three of us are driving along, (uncomfortably, I might add) and I look ahead of the geezers. CARS! Coming toward us! The Mercedes punches his accelerator only to realize there’s no way he’s going to get ahead of both of us without slamming head-first into the angry dump truck that's looking right at him. So what does he do? He nearly removes my front bumper and squeezes between me & the geezer. So now, he’s still going slow, but at least he's not the last in line. And I guess his near head-on collision scared Mr. Mercedes, because that’s where he stayed for the remainder of the drive home. Going not a mile faster than he was originally. Yet an exponentially bigger asshole. Good move.
On yet another, marginally related, note, I love my Sirius satellite radio. I mean, really. I LOVE it. Like, I'd marry it and have its little computerized babies if I could. But I can't, so I'll just say that I love it so much that I would never give it up. Ever. In all seriousness, I can never go back to regular radio in my car. Ever. I’m forced to listen to regular radio in the house, and it drives me nuts. Because, in the half-hour or so that I spend getting ready, I hear probably twenty minutes of commercials, one song, and maybe five minutes of entertaining talk. I hate it. Plus, everything’s so censored. All the talk is so vanilla and they're forced to double-entendre their way through jokes, instead of being able to reference things outright. I hate that I can’t hear a rapper say “ass” in a song. Because, really, what is rap without references to supple rear ends? So, yeah, I love my satellite. Because, not only do I live completely without commercials in my music, but I can hear the word “fuck.” And there’s just something comforting about that.
But, there’s a problem. A big problem. And it only happens in summer. It's the leaves on the towering trees that surround the winding country roads that I have to take to get ANYWHERE: They block out my signal. Not constantly or anything, just randomly. So listening to talk radio, I hear: “Eh….ra….mmm……………n….li….” and so on, for at least a minute. Then it snaps into full reception. But around any turn, under any tree, I run the risk of losing it again. Which is possibly the most frustrating thing that can happen on my morning commute. My reaction to this is very visceral, because I almost always lose the signal right at the punchline of a joke, or some very important celebrity gossip, or during my favorite part of any given song. So this anger sort of swells in my chest, making me feel tight all over. And I grip the steering wheel and glare at my Sirius receiver and yell, "OH, COME ON!" in my meanest voice. As if that will bring back the reception. I'll intimidate it into working. Because that always works, due to my severe badassness. Anyway, this rarely works anyway, and really only occurs if I'm in a bad mood. Which is bound to happen if I’m stuck behind someone slow.
In an effort by the universe to make all of my most irritating factors bombard me on ONE day, today, the heavens opened as I drove into work. The rain was slamming into my windshield and I drove - 20 miles per hour below the speed limit - behind a “Caution: Construction Vehicle” signed dump truck while my radio’s signal came and went. Despite the fact that I left for work early, I still managed to be late. Upon getting here, I made an appointment with a new gynecologist, who I’ve never met. But this time, it’s a woman. “You’ll like her,” said the referring ex-coworker, the same one who told me about the other OB/GYN’s move into astrophysics. “She’s Croatian or Serbian. Something like that. One of your country-men!” But what she may not know is that it's important to know where exactly she's from. Because some Serbs and Croats hate each other. Vehemently. I’m not one of them, because I was born and raised here. But she may be, because she was born over there. So I need to know which part she's from. And I know I'll want to ask her about it, and then I'll want to relate to her by saying "My family's from the former Yugoslavia, too!" Then she'd ask which part, and I'd say Serbia, and she'd be all "Oh really? I'm from Croatia," in a clipped tone and then push me down to start my exam. And then, I may have the most scathing pap smear of my life. And I almost wanted to ask over the phone, when I made my appointment, what her nationality was. Just in case. But I didn't. So now I have that to look forward to. Then I realized that the little lift on the bottom of my high heel fell off somewhere between my house and work. Which means the metal stake that makes up my stiletto and supports nearly all of my weight with every step I take, is sticking out of the bottom of my shoe. Not only does it really look tacky, but it makes this horrible nails-on-a-chalkboard type screech everytime I walk across the tiled floor here at work. This is the worst thing that can happen to a shoe lover like me. Because now I have to take these, my favorite pair of shoes, to the Cobbler to get them fixed, but he's only open a few days a week. Which means I'll have to go without these shoes for at least three days. This is very sad to me. Very sad, indeed.
It's like all the planets aligned to make me as uncomfortable as possible today. I'm just waiting for today to be over.