Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mentally Loop the Theme to the Odd Couple While You Read this One

So I went to see a doctor the other day. I'm sitting in the waiting room, and a woman with the prerequisite lab coat and clipboard comes up to me. "Person of Consequence?" she asks. I answer, and the doctor quickly does a double take. I, in response, immediately blush. You see, this is not my first trip to the doctor in recent times; I had recently become something of a hypochondriac, checking in on every hint of a flush or sniffle. "What seems to be the problem?" she asks, clearly articulating carefully to remove the tone of skepticism from her voice.

Right then and there, I nearly bolt. It seems so stupid. "I... um... I think have a really bad cold." Even to my ears, it sounds pathetic. "But I'm not feeling it right now, so I think I'll just... go..."

The doctor puts a hand to her temple and removes it, with a weary flick of the wrist. "Nonsense." For a moment, I'm not sure if she's addressing my claim of illness or my intent to depart. "You're here now, so let's be safe and run a few tests."

"A few" quickly multiplies into a myriad. The doctor escorts me from room to room, and I immerse myself in the hospital gossip. The big story seems to be that a doctor is avoiding a nurse after an awkward one night stand. I think I even catch a glimpse of the troubled couple--doctor fleeing while trying to look like he wasn't fleeing, nurse coldly aloof--during my parade of the stations. Scintillating. My primary health provider appears to be a subsidiary of Grey's Anatomy.

Meanwhile, my own case seems to be worsening. The doctor acting as shepherd gets more somber as she studies the result of each test. There are many conversations with other labcoat-frocked individuals, conducted in low tones beyond my hearing, with concerned, darting glances in my direction. It seems to take hours, most of them spent in anxious contemplation of my mortality. Finally, the doctor tells me that the tests are finished, and asks me to sit down. "It's bad," she says, bluntly, and embarks on a longstanding voyage of obscure scientific jargon. "You'll have to stay here at least a week for observation," she includes. "In fact, I'm about to go away for a few days, so it'll probably be two weeks..."

"Two weeks?" I say, incredulous. "Because YOU can't be here? I came in with a friggin' (Note: I did not say "friggin'") cold! This is ridiculous! It's..." I trail off, suspicion dawning. "I'm perfectly fine, aren't I? You're just messing with me for wasting your time."

And that moment, the doctor, the doctors standing nearby, the nurses, and the patients all burst into laughter. Then a fellow grad student walks in, and tells me he can't find his class. And my mother follows close behind, telling us we're both going to be late.

And then I wake up.

Yeah, so there was no doctor, no repeated trips to the hospital. I'm in perfect health, relatively speaking. A story whose moral was apparently that I shouldn't waste people's time has culminated in a rather large wasting of yours. But here's what I found interesting: I've accumulated so many hours of television watching over my lifespan that I now appear to be dreaming in stock sitcom plots. It even had a sexy B plot.

Actually, I might be on to something here. I'm pretty sure this was how Larry David came up with the last season of Seinfeld.

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