the higher professions

by underswansea


Been missing the night. Saw a doctor today who was bored silly. He looked at me with disdain. To him, I was a lump of decaying flesh. He was sizing me up for a coffin.

I brought up a photo in the little-fucked-up examining room to get to know him better. Baffin Island, he said, squirming in his seat. If you want to travel in Canada, he said, that’s a wonderful place to go. I told him I only travel out of the country. It was a test to see if he could recognize a lie.

Where do you go, he said. I was amazed he asked a question, even out of rote. I told him the Palliser. He said he hadn’t heard of it. His mind was elsewhere. Nor did he give a shit. I was going to tell him it was a small independent island nation in the Pacific but it would have been wasting a lie.

That’s rugged country, referring to the Baffin Picture, I said. Do you hike the mountains around here? He said he did. Him and his young wife, the one who took the photo, he said. They were going over Goldie on the weekend, with a batch of other people. It sounded like a party I’d avoid if I saw them coming. I told him I saw ten bears yesterday. He said he was afraid of bears, a look of concern hit his forehead. I said they’re not so bad if they see you coming.

He typed into the machine. Lost his internet connection. Told me it happens at least once a day. I smiled and thought, who gives a shit, you are pecking a few lines into a note, not surfing porn! At the end he gave me a piece of paper saying I was fit to go back to full duties. For the ten minutes he saw me, and the fifteen he left me waiting, he was $100 richer, maybe more.

I needed his signature to go back to my $19 an hr job packing shit for union carpenters.

When you are young you can never imagine the hoops you will have to jump through.

It is discouraging to think I will be begging someone like him for drugs on my deathbed. By then I may not be so charming.