I took my car in for its service the other day. Turns out I was 5000 miles over the due date (seems I had misunderstood the word annual in the guarantee) and the front brakes needed replacing (on a 3 year old car). So the free service cost me over $500. That’ll teach me not to read the small print.
This week I’ve been for tune-ups all round. Crack of dawn visits to the Radiology dept for the yearly compression of my small boobies into slabs of ham, the oral hygienist for a pick and scratch and the dentist for the final appointment in an epic root canal/crown rebuild. I rounded out these sips of joy with my absolute favourite: the Gynaecologist – who cheerfully spent 20 minutes hunting for my ‘shy cervix’ while I obliged with pornographic yoga poses.Which he felt would help with ‘uterus presentation’.
As he beavered away (hah) , he chirruped: “You’ll only feel a little discomfort”, “A tiny scratch now”, “Won’t be long”, “You’ll only feel a little pinch” ….. all immediate contenders for ‘understatement of the year’. Once we’d got that right, Happy Doc waved an internal probe at me: “Just a little pressure, so breathe out for as long as you can.” That didn’t fit properly either, so my exhalation lasted 10 minutes.
I walked funny all the way back to radiology. Swinging one leg out sideways like a Rodeo Clown. Trying to ease the “wee bit of discomfort” in my lala.
When I got there I found my mom ensconced in her robe. That’s how we Wildish women do things – no frilly spa days for us, we combine practicality with quality time. The mother/daughter mammo-date. We went our separate ways – her to the big machine, me for a gloopy wand and a double check ultrasound. We met up again in the waiting room., where we paged through Hello Magazine and discussed Rod Stewart’s love life. Our Technician appeared, chipper and beaming – “you and your mom are both fine” she announced, “No evidence of any irregularities.” Which was nice to know, there’s always that tiny frisson of dread.
As I drove my cancer-free self home, my cellphone kept pinging … the credit card medical payments hitting my bank. SA has so much corruption, our financial institutions operate like anxious parents: desperately trying to locate a past curfew teenager, out on her first date with a serial killer she met at krav maga. We’re alerted every time there is some fiscal action against our account. I did a quick calculation and discovered that the past few days cost more than I earned this month.
Instant joy kill. I was glum as I drove home.
I needed some meds for the cold I’d woken up with, so I parked up at our local Spar shop. A grimy man slid over as soon as I got out, and launched into the usual long story about a dead parent, a child with TB, the wife needing burial … and I stopped him. “Just tell me what you want, ok? I’m tired and I’ve got a cold. So no crap?” He steadied himself on my shoulder, breathed last night all over me and said: “Listen lady, what I want is a moeeersa house and a lekker car and a fris white cherrie like you. Not going to happen, izzit? But if you got twenty rand, I’ll let you buy me a drink. That will cheer you up.”
So I did. And, you know, he was right. Happy Thanksgiving.