Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How About Gout?

Gout:  a disease in which defective metabolism of uric acid causes arthritis, esp. in the smaller bones 
           of the feet, deposition of chalkstones, and episodes of acute pain (Google).

I went to the doctor, yesterday.

Nothing major; just a follow-up appointment.

The bad news is that I gained two pounds.

The good news is that I am still eight pounds down from where I was
     six months ago.

When I made myself comfortable on the paper covered "bed",
     the nurse sat down at the computer to update my records.

Nurse:  It says here you have seasonal allergies, asthma . . . and gout.

Me:  Um, NO on the "gout".

Nurse:  Huh (fingers, typing on the keyboard).

Nurse:  And it says here your are on . . .
                 (some sort of medication I've never heard of).

Me:  No.

Nurse:  Oh.  That medication is for gout. 

Nurse: (fingers, typing on the keyboard)

Nurse:  Are you sure you don't have gout?

The voice in my head:  It sounds really tempting.  I mean,
                                          I have never had gout,
                                         but it sounds like something I wish I could have.
                                         Even the sound of the word, itself - GOUT,
                                           is so pleasant,
                                                                  but . . .

Me:  "NO", I do not have gout.

Nurse: Huh (fingers, typing on the keyboard).

The voice in my head
     (with a smile on my face):  If you'd like, you can provide me
                                                   with a checklist
                                                   of cool sounding illnesses,
                                                   and I can check off which ones I think
                                                    I would like to have.  

The nurse looked at me, and smiled back.

Monday, September 23, 2013

To Be a Guest

Guest (noun): a person who is invited to visit the home of or take part in a function
                                   organized by another.    

 “Be our GUEST, be our GUEST, put our SER-vice to the test . . .”

You know the tune.  
     guests do not get PAID to visit. 

(Well, maybe SOME of you PAY your guests, but that’s an entirely different story . . . )

I have been invited to be a guest writer for this 
     and ALL AROUND AWESOME website.

While I do NOT get paid, I DO get incentives if I receive the most views and "likes". 

So, I wouldn't mind at all, NOT AT ALL (is there an echo?)
     if you would view and “like” my stories,


Well, no, you shouldn't do that.  
That wouldn't be right.  


Did I say that?

Ignorance (and an Hour at the Nail Salon)

I stared down at my toenails. 

They were beginning to resemble chipped paint, from an old, rusty automobile,
only, one might describe that as “vintage” or “classic”, or even . . . “charming”.

It was a Friday afternoon, and I had an hour to spare – time for an overhaul. 

I went to my “regular” place, where the nail technicians speak very little English.
BUT, I am not there to have a discussion about world politics,
     and small talk bores me, so that suits me just fine.

I, once, read an online review by a customer who could speak Vietnamese. 
She indicated that the nail technicians were all taking trash about the customers.
I asked myself if that bothered me. 

     “NO,” was my response.

As long as they do a good job, I don’t care what they have to say about my
     “charming” toenails (or, any other part of my body, for that matter).
I just stick my feet in the warm, bubbly, non-judgmental water, press the “seat recline” button on the remote control, close my eyes, and tune everything out.

Sometimes, I do get caught up in the sound of the language.
And, sometimes, I am AMAZED at how MUCH these ladies can talk!
I am not a big talker (in ANY language), but what could they possibly be talking about?  For THAT long??! 

     I wonder . . .

Then, I laugh to myself. 

They are talking about my “charming” feet.

That may be so, I think, but this calf massage feels REALLY good. 

Sometimes, I look at the other customers,
     and try to imagine what the nail technicians might be saying about THEM.

OH, I can have a good time with that . . .

 And, wouldn’t it be great if I COULD speak Vietnamese???
I could spontaneously chime-in on their conversation.
Can you imagine the looks on their faces?
I wonder how you say “Oh, shit!” in Vietnamese??!

Language, in general, fascinates me. 
I always wonder what American English sounds like to foreigners.
I, once, asked a Dutch speaking friend what he thought.

     (Now, DUTCH is a funny sounding language).

With one eyebrow raised, and a semi-frown, he tilted his hand side-to-side,
     and said, “Nothing special,”
which is exactly what I would have guessed. 
After my nails were painted (the color of the day),

     and I sat with my feet under the “toenail dryer” for ten minutes,
I went to the counter to pay my bill.

With a smile and a tip, I said “thank-you” to my nail technician, Aya.
And, maybe she did talk trash about my “charming” toes,
  but when she smiled back at me, I chose to believe that it was sincere,
for ignorance (and an hour at the nail salon)
                                                               . . . is bliss. 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

"A Tree is NEVER Just a Tree"

The tree arborist came out to confirm its death.
I knew it was dead, but . . .  still, I needed to hear the words.
     "What do you think caused it?" I asked, as he stood and stared at the tree.

He looked up at its brittle, lifeless branches.
He rubbed his hands across its smooth bark with its rough edges.    
He placed his foot upon its roots, still grounded.     

Taking a step back, he paused, as if waiting for an answer.

     "For the life of me," he said, finally, shaking his head,
          "I have no idea. Must be something underground that we can't see."

The following week, the tree was gone.

     A few months later . . . . . .

I received a notice on my door from the Department of Utilities.
The reading on my meter indicated that there was a possible water leak.
The next day, I noticed that there was water leaking from my front yard,
     spilling onto the sidewalk.
The day after that, a plumbing company came out to look at the problem.

Diagnosis:  a crack (somewhere) in the underground pipes,
                         probably due to age.

Then, I thought about the tree.

Could the removal of the tree have caused the crack in the pipe? 

     "Highly doubtful," said the plumber.   

I thought about the tree, again.

The water had most likely been leaking from the pipe
     well before there were visual signs.

I remembered the words of the tree arborist:

"Must be something underground that we can't see."  

     It was a slow leak.

A slow, undetectable leak . . .  that, most likely, killed the tree.

A slow, undetectable leak.
A friend of mine made a comment that "a tree is never JUST a tree."
He has no idea how true those words really are.

A tree is NEVER just a tree.