Ain’t That America


First, most of you know that I don’t get up before noon and it takes me awhile before I’ve accomplished my “morning chores” and I am ready to go outside.

I was leaving the house to run a few quick errands. I went to get my cell phone (AKA my life) and it was not on the charger. That’s bad news. When I find the phone, the battery is on it’s last legs. Hey, no big deal. I’m just gonna run the quick errands. I’ll be back in like, 30 minutes, and the phone will be charged. Cool.

First errand – UPS. I’ve never shipped anything via UPS but I know there is a big UPS warehouse near where I live. I go into their office with my question…”Do you package and ship things here?” “Oh, no, sir. You have to go to a UPS store for that.” OK…slight delay no big deal. She tells me where the UPS store is and, lucky for me, it’s only about 1 mile away. It took awhile but I found out that the cost for what I wanted from them would be prohibitive. OK…I didn’t like the outcome but mission accomplished.

On to the next errand….the doctor’s office. I have the greatest Doctor in the world. He’s friendly, casual, funny and seems to generally like seeing me. He usually wears a sweatshirt instead of one of those stuffy white coats and, from past conversations with him, I KNOW he likes a good laugh. His eyes and face always seem like they are ready to laugh. He seems like a guy I’d like to have a few beers with at a quiet bar. Don’t be fooled by the countenance, though. Once we start talking about medical things, he gets real serious, he knows what he is talking about and he is the ultimate professional. His staff…? Not so much. My doctor shares the staff of whatever they are called…….nurses, billing specialists, secretaries….. with 2 or 3 other doctors. They are all real nice ladies and, as far as I can tell, there is a daily contest among them to see which one can do the most laughing while at the same time being the least capable of helping a customer. Now, I have a physical exam coming up on Tuesday, 3/17, and Lisa, the assistant that scheduled the appointment with me, told to come in a few minutes before the 3PM scheduled appointment since there would be some paperwork to fill out since I hadn’t had a physical exam in some time and I also changed insurance companies. Now, folks that know me will agree that I have trouble getting to places on time, much less early. I also hate wasting time since I am getting older and I don’t know how much time I have left. I DEFINITELY don’t want to get to the office 30 minutes early and find out the paperwork only took 5 minutes. I actually did have a few minutes to spare on this day and THAT is why I was going to the doctor’s office on Friday….3 days ahead of my appointment….to fill out the paperwork. I get to the office and I tell the nice, young lady behind the glass door the purpose for my visit that day. The first thing she asks is if I’ve gotten my blood work done yet. “Ummm….blood work?” “Yes, whoever you scheduled the appointment with should have told you to come in and get a prescription for blood work so the doctor would have the results when he performs your exam.” ( The last time I had a physical, you saw the doc first, he poked, prodded and listened and then sent you for blood tests and about a week later you went back and had a conversation with him about all of the results of everything.) So I tell the nice , young lady “No one told me anything about getting blood work done, In fact, someone called my house yesterday to remind me of my appointment coming up on Tuesday and they didn’t mention blood work, either.”  Nice, young lady says, “Oh, that was me. I call and do the reminders and it’s not up to me. The blood work information is given by the scheduler.” My turn…..”OK, I didn’t get told about the blood work. What do we do?” ( I think I see where this is headed and I don’t want to re-schedule because my exam is scheduled for Tuesday which is St. Patrick’s Day and I’m half Irish and I think it might be good luck for me to have my physical on that day)  “I have not had anything to eat or drink today. Can I get a prescription now and go get the blood work done? Would that work?” The nice lady tells me “Yes, that would work. The doctor is with a patient right now and we’ll get him to sign a script as soon as he is done. Labcorp is right downstairs so you can go get the work done straightaway.” I tell her “Well, there is a problem. Two insurance companies ago, we were supposed to use Labcorp because they were in-network but one insurance company ago we were not allowed to use Labcorp. Now, with my current insurance company, I don’t know where we are allowed to go.” Nice says “You could call them.” I tell her that I don’t have my cell phone with me. (see ….you were wondering why I told you about leaving without my cell phone) I ask Nice if I can borrow a cell phone and she says no but tells me I can come into the nurses station, if you will, and use their phone. So there I am, in the exact center of the room at a desk, on the phone in “the belly of the beast.” I’m calling an insurance company so you know that after their computer telling me for 10 minutes how I can do my own surgery if I just go to their website, I got to the point where they say “Fine ! Then you are gonna wait until we are good and ready to answer your call.” I started and finished the paper work which took all of 2 minutes while I was holding. So, I’m holding and watching the fascinating machinery that is my doctor’s staff. The one over there is shouting across the room to that one and they are both laughing their asses off. Nice announces that she wants Cheetos. Another one says they actually have Cheetos in the snack machine on the first floor. Nice gets all excited but then realizes she doesn’t have any cash on her and one of the other zanies tells her that she will lend her 50 cents. Nice is headed for the door when I stop her and remind her to tell the cast of this comedy play that if the doctor appears (like that’s really gonna happen) that somebody should tackle him and get what I need. She does and off she goes. She comes back in a few minutes with her prized Cheetos. In the meantime, the aura must have been right because my insurance company actually answered my call and I caught a break. I am SUPPOSED to use Labcorp for blood work….right downstairs. So I leave the stage and go back to the official waiting room. I caught a glimpse of my doctor and ran to the glass window to remind Nice to get the doctor in a choke hold and make him sign the blood work order. She does, he does, and I’m on my way. It took me 90 seconds to get to Labcorp and sign in. There were, I’d say, 5 or 6 people ahead of me and I’m thinking I SO HOPE that there is more than one employee here today. I believe I was thinking this way because, as you’ll recall, I had nothing to eat or drink today. I started chewing on a magazine to pass the time but I remembered not to swallow. I rubbed my face and it seemed like I needed a shave but I had shaved before I left the house. It took FOREVER for it to be my turn. The nice guy that was, indeed, the only Labcorp employee there that day apologized for the delay but said he was the only one there and he just got “swamped” with customers. So I finally got my blood work done and I’m on my way.

Errand 3 was the grocery store where the fish that they had advertised in their circular for $4.99 per pound was really $5.99 per pound. I just didn’t have any energy left so I paid the extra dollar. Also, I want to make some crab cakes this week and the brand of crab meat that they advertised was not available. It wasn’t out of stock or anything, the circular just advertised the wrong brand so I got what I wanted at the price I wanted but it was just a different brand. Does anyone in America know what they are doing ? I DID notice a can of wild-caught, jumbo, lump crabmeat which sounded great but was…..ready? $42.99 per 1 pound can. I asked the fish guy. Yep….that’s the correct price. Me: “Sell a lot of that , do you?”    Him: “No.”

Errand 4 was the drug store where I had no problems at all. Everything that I wanted was on sale, as advertised and in stock. I got what I wanted there and headed home.

And that, my friends, is how you turn 30 minutes into two hours and forty five minutes without really trying.


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