Friday, September 17, 2004

Better Late Than Never

Maybe I should let you be the judge, huh.

It’s been one exciting morning let me tell you. Tanya had her Lasik. I tried to get them to throw in some bionic legs. But they said they didn’t do that kind of thing. Too bad really. I always said that I wanted a woman who had better than perfect vision, who was faster than a locomotive and easier than Gwyneth Paltrow.

I guess I’ll just have to settle for two out of three.

Quit it. I’m kidding. Besides, she can’t read this, she’s not supposed to open her eyes for at least three hours.

Anyway, Lasik is a very exciting process. Let me walk through my experience with it. First, you need to sign in (like every other medical center). Then you sit in the waiting area with baited breath. Then some deranged Viennese scientists grafts the head of a one-month-old puppy onto the neck of a perfectly healthy adult dog while trying to reanimate the brains of decapitated guillotine victims…

Sorry, that was the book I was reading. A book that I almost finished! I was in that waiting room for over 2 hours! Tanya was hurried off to the “relaxation suite” almost instantly. The rest of us, we get to endure the “aggravation suite.” It wouldn’t be bad if I could have just enjoyed my book in peace. I don’t read a lot. I’ve got other things to do. Watch TV for one. But the soft jazz and the “dream fountain” (both of which were on this time!) are very conducive to book reading. And rarely do I get so much reading time. I mean, without the imminent threat of hemorrhoids.

But the “aggravation suite” was in full force again this morning. Happily, this time it wasn’t the fault of the Lasik spa. Just the Lasik spa clientele. I got to tell you, a spa is no place for a crying baby.

But see, the baby I could forgive. After all, it’s a baby! But there is one thing I can’t. I’m sitting there, minding my business, reading about “beating heart cadavers” and in comes the most annoying, albeit pretty, 20-somethings that I’ve ever seen. You know the kind, the ones who try to convince everyone, through their obnoxious behavior, that they’ve just graduated high school.

One of them is getting the surgery, the other is her sister, there for moral support and, I can only assume, in case of trouble, to combine with her sis to form one hideously upbeat eardrum-splitting super 20-something.

They were louder than the baby. It’s like they were competing with it. I’d wager, jealous of the baby’s sophistication. This I can handle. But what happened next is something that no self-respecting spa or clinic should ever tolerate. They brought with them…omelets.

And not just omletes. Omelets drenched in Tabasco sauce. I tell you there’s nothing more off-putting than the smell of sterile cleaning chemicals mixed with eggs and pepper sauce. It’s a big waiting area, but I guess that they thought the couch right next to mine was the perfect ground zero for their gas warfare.

Eventually the energy twins went back into the labyrinth of labs (turns out, the girl ‘not getting the surgery’ is actually a medical assistant. I wonder if she went to Bryman College?). And the baby went home. It was alright for a while. Uneventful even. But I do have one question for you Spanish speaking readers. Why is Spanish so loud? I mean it’s even louder than American English. Just a question. Is there a certain Db level that maximizes the nuance or something? I’m just asking. Just know this; even though I don’t understand what you’re saying, it still really distracts me from reading. And when it comes to reading, I need all the help I can get.

Finally the scrubs lady came into the waiting area and took me back to the lab in order to witness Tanya’s surgery. It was also uneventful. They pried open her eyeballs, cut a small hole, pulled back the flap, zapped the eye with a laser and put the flap back as if nothing had ever happened.

After 2 ½ hours of excruciating lobby seats, 4 minutes and it was over.

Then I went back to the “aggravation suite” while Tanya got to sit in very comfortable – I know they’re comfortable because I’ve sat in ones just like them, you can buy them at Costco – leather recliners. Although the ones at Costco didn’t have doilies on them. Weird.

They gave Tanya some “super hip” old-school style sunglasses and we went home.

Here we are. Tanya’s sleeping with ski goggles on. Lets all have a good laugh before she wakes up.

Fun Fact: Some friends of mine went through this same thing a little while ago, Jared and Tosha. Well, Tosha went through what Tanya did. But Jared, being a little…pushier…than myself, got better treatment than me.

But that’s not my point.

As I was sitting in the waiting room, trying to imagine what Tanya was doing in the back rooms, I kept thinking about Jared and Tosha’s stories of the experience.

When someone describes a place that you’ve never been to, they never get it right. It’s not their fault. It’s just human nature. As describers we take some things for granted. After all, we were there and we just assume that the person we’re describing to will be able to fill in the mundane details.

And as we struggle to completely understand their story we do fill in the mundane details. Sometimes in a little too much detail. I mean, while I listened to Jared and Tosha’s story my brain formed a pretty complete mental picture of the Lasik place of which I had yet to go. In my mind, the “Lasik spa” they went to looked more like a Vietnamese run manicure salon. Go figure.

But, they went to the exact same Lasik place. Tosha had the same doctor; it was the same waiting room with the same randomly dimming lights. And yet, when I brought up memories of their stories, I still had the same mental picture of the Lasik spa as I did weeks ago.

I was sitting in the Lasik spa! I saw the doctor. I saw the dream fountain and the randomly dimming lights. I did not see Vietnamese women or shelves filled with nail colors. But my brain wouldn’t let the two images mix.

It’s bizarre how the images that our brains create are stronger than “real” images.

(I’ve used quotes around the word ‘real’ in order to open debate about the state of being. Enjoy.)

And the new TAM Cartoon is finally up!

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