I was such a biddable child! Always affable! Willing to please! Yes, Uncle Augie! I'm delighted to hold these two fresh-kill pheasant carcasses up by their feet for a photo op! Let me just park my convertible under this tree over here and then I'll pose! Smile Pretty!!!!
I think my early childhood programming has snapped like a brittle twig and is no longer in effect. Or at least it's bent like a stalk of limp celery soaked in gin. I still perceive that others have expectations of me they would like me to fill, but the will to comply is missing.
Yesterday, I had yet another social security medical review, this time I got to take the same arithmetic tests I took before. All over again. And answer problematical questions such as:
You are in a movie theatre and you are the first one to notice smoke and fire. What do you do?
My answer did not please the psychologist: " I would get the hell out of there!"
She frowned at me, No! "You are in a crowded movie theatre. You are the FIRST one to notice smoke and fire. What do you do?"
I tried and tried to figure out what she wanted me to say. Did she want me to say I'd stay and be trampled by a crowd? Or perhaps duck and cover? Or lay low and crawl to the nearest exit? Or was I supposed to sit there and die of smoke inhalation while waiting to be rescued?
"I would get the hell out of the theatre. That's what I'd do. Final Answer."
Later, I realized she wanted me to say I'd yell FIRE! Oops. Thousands of burning women and children with cell phones will perish now because I wasn't quick enough to do the altruistic thing! I just chose to save myself! Sorry, humanity! Can I get a refund on my movie ticket?
The next question was even tougher: You are stranded in the Denver Airport with only one dollar. What do you do?
I told her there would be nothing I could do. Nothing. She didn't like THAT answer, either. So I told her, "Look. What would I be doing in Denver anyway? I don't know anybody there. There would be nobody to call. Do I have a plane ticket? If I do, I'll just wait for my connecting flight and board it. " I was so frustrated. She didn't give me any back-story. Was I on my way to Paris, perhaps?Did I have a good book with me? Was it winter or summer? Because if it was winter in Denver, I'd probably freeze to death in the airport lobby right away and that would be the end of my need to problem solve. Can we change the airport? Couldn't I be stranded in the Mexico City Airport instead? Because in Mexico that dollar could be converted to pesos and I could buy a 3rd class bus ticket to Oaxaca and still have money left over for a hot chocolate in the zocolo.
Later, I realized she wanted me to say I'd use the dollar to make a phone call. As If! Is that supposed to be a test of my common sense? Because frankly, a person hanging out for too long at the Denver Airport is going to have more to worry about than only having a dollar in her pocket. After a few hours, she'd have all kinds of airport and Homeland Security all over her ass! She'd probably spend the night in an FBI detention Facility and be shipped to Guantanamo Bay where she would receive free medical, dental and therapy and probably horseback riding lessons as well.
(And yes, I saw Sicko and I loved it! It was BRILLIANT!)
Then, she showed me a picture of a door on a blank wall and asked me what was missing. I told her some pictures on the wall, maybe a shelf and some quilted wall-hangings. She interrupted me and said, NO! Look at the picture and tell me what's missing!
Really, there was no pleasing this woman! She wants my answers, but all my answers are wrong! So why have me there at all? If she wanted the correct answers she could have just filled them in herself and I could have stayed home in bed. It turns out the door was missing a doorknob. I would have spotted it eventually, but who notices a doorknob when there is a WALL, a completely blank WALL in need of some clutter and chatchkes and geegaw's?
Well, if she thought I did badly on the common sense interpretive skills, she was really sorry when she started giving me math tests and sequences of numbers to repeat back to her. I couldn't do math even before my stroke, so forget about it, now! I told her, "I guess you won't be hiring me to balance your checkbook."
Finally, she gave me pairs of words and told me how they were similar. I did okay with pen/pencil because they are writing implements. And banana/apple because they are both fruit. But she stumped me with mosquito/tree. I told her I couldn't see any similarity at all. Of course, she didn't like that answer. I finally told her they are from the earth. THE EARTH? She practically YELLED at me.
"Well, one is a BUG and the other is a VEGETATIONAL LIFE FORM, so the only thing they have in common is they are both LIVING ON THIS EARTH" Really, that woman was so stupid, didn't she see the connection? What other connection could there be?
Then, as if that was not enough torture for one day, I had my 1 month exam for my post-surgery cataract eye. I was fully expecting to be given the go-ahead to get a contact lens so I could SEE again! But NOooooo!
After the girl did all the tests, the opthamalogist came into the room looking at my chart and saying, "hhhmmmmm." I asked him, "Are you hmmmmming at me?" He said, "Yes, it appears your eyes have taken an odd turn. When before you were nearsighted with astigmatism, now you are FARSIGHTED. I wasn't expecting this! But, this will correct itself in about a month, but it means your eyesight isn't stable enough to bother fitting you with a lens right now."
Okay. Still Blind. And stuck in the Denver Airport. With a tree, a bug, and all the wrong answers. But at least I'm not on fire.
Happy 10th Birthday, Mackie Manns!