By Bonnie Lurie
You’re going to be late. Your only consolation is that you don’t want to be there at all. They’ll keep you waiting no matter what time you get there, or they’ll just tell you it’s too late and you need to reschedule. It’s not the appointment you mind, it’s the form.
The door is ajar as you enter the reception area; you notice three or four people already ahead of you. They all seem vaguely uncomfortable. One is incessantly turning the pages of his newspaper, another is reading upside down, a third person is twitching his right leg and another seems to be testing out ring tones on her cell phone. You decide to get it over with; you walk directly to the reception desk and stand there, trying to act nonchalant. The receptionist doesn’t even look up, just states, “New patient or old? “
“New,” you reply.
“Fill out the first two pages of the form, return it with your insurance card,” the nurse says, then reaches up and pushes the form at you.
There was no way to avoid what is going to happen next. You always want it to turn out differently, but it hasn’t yet.
You sit down, take out your New York Times giveaway pen, and start to fill out the form. It says check one box; if it were only that simple. The problem is that the correct box is never there for you to check. You stare at the boxes, but they never change, it’s always: [ ] M – Married, [ ] S - Single, [ ] D -Divorced, [ ] S - Separated, and they never give you the option of [ ] O - Other.
So you create your own box, not a new one mind you, but an extension of one that already exists because it fits. You take the D box, add a P next to it, and check it off. You finish the rest of the form and hand it back to the receptionist.
She reads the form to make sure it was filled out properly and looks up questioningly “There seems to be a problem with the D box under marital status, did you mean to do that?”
“Yes,” you reply. It was not a mistake; a P was added to the D.”
Her brow furrowed, she quizzically asks, “what could DP possibly mean?”
“Domestic Partner,” you reply with a silent groan. You could see where this is heading. It always ends up like this.
Both the receptionist and the nurse look at you quizzically. “What’s a Domestic Partner?”
It’s been a long day, and you don’t have the strength to be controversial or explanatory. Clearly they have no concept of what the words mean. You let out a barely audible sigh and respond, “My partner and I are in the cleaning business.”
This is hopefully my fourth and final career.I was born in the Bronx, NY to a fireman who was a frustrated violinist, so I became a frustrated violinist [my first career]. After too much frustration, I finished up my PhD coursework in Organizational Psychologist and became just that. I had knee surgery and returned to work the day the WTC was bombed [on the 61st floor] and afterwards needed a knee replacement. While recouping the MD's said lots of exercise, so I started to walk a lot and fell into my 3rd career, in real estate sales, a real walking profession. However my creative juices needed an outlet & I started to write. Contact Bonnie.