Saturday, October 3, 2009


That was the day I was supposed to be going to someone else's house, but not Ray's.  In my line of work you have the dress the part of the day.  Working with Andrew meant old clothes because you might be cooking or painting or having banana smeared across the back of your shirt because that's just the sort of thing that happens with Andrew.  Working with Ray often meant doctors which meant putting on something professional enough so that the doctor took you seriously when you asked if dysphagia was a real possibility or if he could explain the intricacies of diverticulitis.  Today someone else was taking Ray to the doctors and I didn't concern myself with appearance.  So when my boss came up to me and asked if I could last minute take him I slightly wished I had rethought my choice of ripped jeans, black tank, zipper hoodie and flip flops, but was more than happy to jump in where needed.

I picked Ray up and it was chit chat as normal, but as we pulled into the parking lot of the doctor's office Ray was in no mood for mincing words.  He notified me with flat coolness of an IRS auditor, "You can't go in with office with me."
"You can't go in the office."
"What do you mean?  That's what I'm here for.  It'll be fine."
"You have holes in your jeans.  You can't go in like that.  It's terrible.  I can't believe you came here with holes in your jeans."
I contemplated the irony of the balding man with dentures and a lazy eye, often disheveled and unshaven critiquing my appearance.  However, I gave credit to his point.
"Ray, I wish I didn't have holes in my jeans too and if I knew I was taking you today I would have dressed differently.  I'm sorry, but believe me, the doctor doesn't care at all about what I'm wearing.  All sorts of people come to see him."
"No.  You're not coming in.  Wait in the car."
"Wait in the car?"
"Turn on the radio and wait in the car."
Wow.  He was getting specific and bossy.  It was 90 degrees outside and hotter in my all black interior/exterior Jetta when left sitting in the parking lot.
"Uh.  No.  I'm not waiting in the car with the radio on."
He threatened to leave.  I called his bluff and walked toward the entrance of the office.
He turned to me and with all the conviction of a neoconservative evangelist preacher and uttered the words,
"You are an embarrassment."
This from the man prone to loud displays of anger in public places, the man who storms out of offices, meetings, and appointments on a regular basis.  I stood frozen for a good thirty seconds as did he.  Who knew jeans with holes was his hot topic button?  I choked back laughter because this was very serious to him and to laugh now would be mocking him and to mock him would be rude and he would certainly leave without seeing the doctor and above all he needed to see the doctor.  I walked past him to the office and explained that he had arrived.
I thought I might call his bluff again and I sat there waiting for him to be called back.  When he was called I silently stood up to follow him back as if nothing happened. He swung around swiftly and (if any of you understand a family guy reference) pointed at me in the exact way that angry monkey from the closet points at Chris Griffin and says, "You CAN'T come back."  I sat down obediently, conceding my loss.  Never again would I wear jeans with holes in them to an appointment.

The door opened less than sixty seconds later.  "Okay.  You can come back now.", he said.