The Shortest Month

Carl pudding

Because I'm middle-aged, I now must have mammograms. Why breast cancer would only strike once you hit 40 is beyond me. It's not something I've ever given any thought to. Heart disease and diabetes are practically a given in my family, but I can't think of a single relative, even distant ones (but then, how would I know?) who've had breast cancer.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm aged or sedentary or increasingly house-bound, but I fear that I'm becoming forgetful and scatter-brained. I managed to get the time and date right (I rarely write down appointments or use online calendars despite now having both an iPhone and iPad and am well-versed in Outlook scheduling for work-related matters. Ok, I just had to call my primary care physician because I knew I had an appointment tomorrow–and no, I normally don't go to the doctor this often [there's also a dental cleaning next week, which I'm not sure about because I just had enough tooth trauma–and did I mention I was billed $879 from Woodhull?]–but couldn't remember what time. I've also never been able to get into using bookmarks, which has finally worked out for me now that I read nearly all books on devices where pagination doesn't matter) and looked up the address at the last minute. It was on 17th St., just three sloshy blocks from Eighth Ave. L station.

And yet, I walked to 230 W. 15th instead and couldn't figure out why what should be a medical office looked residential. My mistake was quickly rectified and when I got to the right building I was faced with an elevator before a reception desk. A sign near the button said mammograms were on the third floor so I pushed, then waited. But another sign said for x-rays you need to check in at the front desk. Isn't a mammogram an x-ray? Meanwhile, two people had walked in and gotten ahead of me at the desk. I wait my turn, mildly annoyed because I was there first, and guess what mammograms aren't x-rays, so back to the elevator for the third floor.

There is also a sign in the elevator saying cell phones are prohibited, which is ridiculous in the antiquated way that airlines operate. I'm not even a mobile fanatic, but checking my email is not going to crash a plane or mess-up someone's ultrasound.

On the antiquated note, I was asked for my "scrip," which I did not have because why would I need a small piece of paper for a procedure? Apparently, I was told this on the voicemail I half-listened to last week. So, I had to call my gynocologist (whose name I couldn't remember for two minutes) for them to fax it over. In 2014, could there not be some sort of shared online database where offices could see and note referrals and prescriptions? My primary care doctor that I'm seeing tomorrow recently moved offices from Union Square to the West Village and I had to hand fill-out all of the paper forms that I had originally over a decade ago as if everything on the former computers ceased to exist. And you're asked for your physical insurance card on every single visit and the receptionist photocopies it when it would just as easily be scanned and saved for the next visit? Why aren't there any makers and doers disrupting the medical records industry?

So, I forgot my piece of paper and then I was later threatened by the technologist when she didn't see it in my folder that the doctor wouldn't read my results until they received the fax.

But first, I was told to put on a smock top in a dressing room and lock up my belongings. I was smart enough to wear pants even though I only wear them like 5% of the time because I assumed they only wanted nakedness from the waist up. I locked up my stuff and went back and sat in the dressing room for an eternity and despite saying I don't have a phone addiction, started getting antsy and that maybe I would pop back out and get it. The receptionist knocked on my door to hand back my photo ID and insurance card and told me that I was supposed to be sitting in a side waiting room (though I don't recall anyone ever telling me that because I'm no longer capable of paying attention) a different one with copies of New York and The New Yorker instead of Sports Illustrated, Golf and ESPN like the first one I filled forms out in. I was called back again before I could even get past the fourth paragraph of this article about Saudi women being allowed to work in retail that's not fully availble online. I did use my phone in the original waiting room (was trying to remember my gynecologist's name) and was able to see the Barneys wifi signal.

The procedure was no big deal. I don't see how or why anyone would be bothered by it. You're not supposed to wear deodorant and I did not because I do actually remember that from the voicemail message. Also, not a big deal considering this weather is nearly sweat-proof.

My clothes and purse would not unlock from the locker using the key I'd stashed in my pocket. The first aide couldn't get it open either, so it wasn't just me. A second got sucked into the situation and managed to jimmy it open.

Thankfully, nothing so off-putting or dead-ending has happened since noon, but that's only because I haven't left my couch.

I usually write January off and attempt to start fresh with February (hence, all the doctor/dentist appointments) but I'm hitting a wall already. I thought your 40s was when you became invisible to men–and maybe just younger people, in general–but my issue is more that I can't seem to get anyone in varying positions of power to pay attention to my ideas, which I happen to think are really great ideas. I'm not even being told no; I'm mostly being ignored. The successful always love telling tales of rejection so I am probably only getting stronger. Yes, that must be it. Or I could be delusional, especially since I'm no longer capable of following directions or remembering names and numbers. There's certainly a glut of ideas in the world. Also, I  feel like the internet is no longer a place for personal obsessions. Of course, you can put them there yourself, but it's not as if anyone is going to care about them.

And if I can't have anyone take my ideas seriously, then I can at least use the internet for fun. Or I thought so, except that the world has also become oppressively sensitive and outrage-filled. I was chided–or should I say "shamed," in current parlance–on Facebook for calling Benedict Cumberbatch "fetal." Apparently, you can't talk about famous peoples' faces on social media. There was a Twitter spat that I jumped into later on Facebook about white people who were bothered by a Mexican-owned Williamsburg Cafe called Beaner Bar. Apparently, minorities are no longer allowed to make fun of themselves or stereotypes. But as I said on Facebook already, I'm only half-beaner so I'm probably not entitled to a full opinion.

Courtney Love used "retard" in court, as she would. "I’m sort of a computer retard," were her exact words.

Sandra Bernhard, yes, old-schooling, also had some good words or thoughts on words. 

There is something to be said for just staying off social media. I'm more of the mind that in the present day you can only say anything unguarded or naturally flowing in-person among true friends. 

Last night a fellow 1972'er, a non-snarky and earnest friend that I've not previously mentioned, said "retarded." I don't recall the exact context but we were talking about apartments. High rents is what also prompted a friend of a friend to say retarded on two different occasions.

Can I say that Carl on Walking Dead is a douche, but now that he's becoming a bratty teen he's kind of hot? Or will the literal-minded internet patrols report me to whatever authority takes complaints about grown women calling 14-year-old boys (his dad did declare him "a man" last night, for what it's worth–never mind his eating 112 ounces of canned chocolate pudding on a roof earlier) on TV attractive?


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