Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Doctor's Visit - The Preparation

Dad and mom went to see the doctor while I checked out the breakfast places in the neighborhood. The lobby attendant was a good source for recommending one. He was complaining about a restaurant sending him the wrong food. He said it was good stuff if they could just get the phone order right. He told me where it was located. And he owed me, he asked me to watch the lobby for him while he went out for a smoke break.

I found the place. Great deal. Just $3.95 for two eggs, two strips of bacon, and two pieces of toast. An American heart attack breakfast.

I thought the waitress might be Chinese but she stared blankly when I asked in Chinese if she spoke the language. "I'm Korean." she said. Rats, and I had about four or five new Chinese sentences to try out. I was depressed through the rest of the meal. I really should have known. I couldn't understand any of her earlier conversation with the other Asians. There was an older man who looked to be her father and another younger girl that might have been her sister. The girls spoke rapidly among themselves while the old man interrupted through his foreign newspaper.

Except for the old man, who evidently was in charge, they were all working hard. I was happy to support them. I'd eat there every day if I lived in the area.

I remember another Korean restaurant I'd go to every day for lunch. It was back when we were living in Hawaii. One day it was especially crowded but I managed to find a seat in the middle of the tiny place and pulled out my reading materials and highlighter. (I can't study without a yellow highlighter because I hit key words with it and then review the chapter by paging back through the lesson reading the highlighted words.) The place was noisy. It was a full house. They were mostly Koreas. It must have been a special day of some kind. Anyway, just as soon as I pulled out my book and highlighter the place grew quiet. Subconsciously I was relieved because I was concentrating on a specifically difficult paragraph and the sudden quiet helped me to focus. But then it seems as if no one was eating. It was that quiet. Like a library, the air was still. I felt somehow uncomfortable. I looked up only to find the entire place staring blankly at me. They looked at me like I was insane. I was the only person sitting at a table alone. I was the only person NOT talking to another person. I was the only person with a highlighter in my hand instead of chopsticks for my lunch had not arrived yet.

I hung out at the cafeteria and drank a cup of Starbucks waiting still some more. Where are the parents? It was after 11:00 and they were nowhere in sight. I called and SMS'd mom and finally got a call. They'd be a while.

I spent the time typing up Chinese material for our Saturday class. And I listened to a Latino family nearby to see if I recognized any words.

In the mean time I met Richard and Trudy who came down in support driving their new car. Cadillac DeVille, loaded. Wow nice machine!

After the doctor, we took a 25 cent bus trip to Macy's to get some food. That was my idea. The Cadillacs were parked in the garage. Why pull them out for a few blocks only to look for another garage. We each fished a quarter from our pockets and walked to the nearest bus stop. Mom saying to me from behind: "See how flexible we can be? We are leaving it all on your shoulders." Yeah, thanks.

No one wanted fast food so we ate at Cias, an Italian place across the street. All the tables were prepared for Valentine's Day. Crisp white linen table cloths and red roses were set at each table. The architecture inside reminded me of pictures I've seen of the Basilica, pillars towering thirty feet up, capped with filigree capitals. The arches supporting the domed ceiling. I was IN Italy. Unfortunately we could have flown to Italy, ate, and flown back for the prices we paid for our meals.

But here's the great part of hanging out with the dad and his older brother. We laugh a lot.

One of the vertical blinds came down in Richard's room. The light from the street streamed into his room He stood dejected in his PJs, stocking hat, and slippers near the window. The sock cap was especially comical. Why is he wearing a sock hat? It wasn't cold for crying out loud. We are in L.A. It was 65 outside. The vertical blind drooped sadly in his hand.

I don't know if it was tiredness, the beer, or truly Richard's face that made me loose it.

The colder the X-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.