adrienne and her landlord:
ll: adrienne, hi
a: hi _______, what’s up?
ll: the magazines in the hallway, you can move those?
a: we’ve discussed this 13 times now ______. i told u to toss them while i was gone. i can toss them, either way, doesn’t matter to me.
ll: oh ok, cause you know the girl across the hall is breaking her lease, she moving out.
a: (inner thought – is she taking her wack ass two-channel cable with her?) oh really? and that relates to the magazines in what way?
ll (slips into accent when her dander is up): i rill show the apartment. to otha people.
a: ok that’s cool. can my friend look at it?
ll: no, i already have someone for it.
a: but you haven’t shown it to them yet?
ll: as soon as i advertised it there were many people.
a: so can she be one of those many people to look at it?
ll: which friend is it?
a: my coworker!
ll: is this the same coworker who burned the incense that one time and almost start the fire?
a: (inner thought: yes) no i don’t think so. but we already discussed that that was a one time mistake, i don’t want to discuss that again.
ll: does your friend have a boyfriend?
ll: well, all the people in and out, you have a lot of guests already.
a: but i’m never even there?
ll: well, it is not a two-person room.
a: i agree. but the girl across the hall’s boyfriend lived there…
ll: yes, and they were dirty. i don’t know, everytime we have certain people in there…
a: but i think they were dirty cause they were dirty, not cause they were two. can my friend see the apartment?
ll: i don’t think so. i already have someone.
a: are you going to fix the bathtub?
ll: ah yes, i forgot to tell you i am coming by with the snake!
a: i don’t think the snake is sufficient, honestly. a horrific muck rises out of the drain everytime i shower. it scares me frankly, and i – why don’t i just call a plumber and then deduct the cost from my rent?
ll: no no no, i rill handle it. are those your shoes everyone is tripping over?
a: i organized my shoes. no one can trip over them now unless they are tripping directly into my house.
ll: and the door is being locked? i saw someone not lock the door…
a: since your letter on all of these matters, i have been double locking the front doors, so no one can break in and murder me in my sleep, or murder any of my housemates.
ll: thank you, because the police came by –
a: yes, i saw your note.
ll: its dangerous, i saw someone who looked very suspicious yesterday.
a: (inner thought – how much do i want to know what she means by that? can my heart handle it?) so you’re calling the plumber?
ll: i will take care of it
a: i have to go now
ll: are you back in brooklyn?
a: for a couple days. by the way, any update on the oven?
ll: no oven. no oven can be in there.
a: but remember – when i moved in? and there was an oven?
ll: yes, then we removed it and now con edison will not like one there. you don’t cook anyway, you never there.
a: i have to go, i have another call.
ll: did you get my note about the candles?
a: yes – i plan to continue burning candles and incense in the house when i am there.
ll: only when you are there tho, let your guests know.
a: no one is there when i am not there.
ll: well, let them know.
a: bye __________
ll: have a great day! very pretty today! bye!
adrienne and her chiropractor, with contributions by the chiropractor’s office assistant/babysitter , the chiropractor’s baby, and the cable guy, a naked guy and anyone else who needs to be in the retelling of this true story from earlier today.
a, running 10 minutes late and breathless and in the severe kind of back pain that builds up when you travel a lot and try to wear heels and are a freak: y’all moved!
assistant: yeah, this office is smaller. this is our first day in here. they are doing renovations.
a: there was no sign downstairs about where you went. wow, that baby got big.
assistant (fine young black sista): yeah. (bitter smile) so you were the 11:30? i should put a sign down there. (looks off in the distance letting me know the sign won’t be appearing downstairs)
a: yes, looking for y’all made me late…
assistant: no problem, just have a seat. ooh wait – it says here that your insurance hasn’t paid their part for the last, um, 6 visits? did you know that?
a: what? (math in head = super expensive visits x 6 = FUCK)(and if i had known that i definitely wouldn’t have come.)
assistant: yeah, maybe there’s some paperwork you need to sign?
a: maybe. probably. stingy healthcare companies you know…who is my provider anyway?
assistant: um, aetna?
a: times are hard – i’ll call them.
chiropractor comes running out of one of the treatment rooms and cable guy pokes head into office.
cable guy: i can throw the cable in over here (pointing right over assistant’s desk)?
chiropractor (fidgety a-type personality with a right-shifting political indignation): actually can you bring it over and string it down the door?
cable guy: through the ceiling? uh…sure no problem.
assistant, holding baby: adrienne’s here.
chiropractor: oh long time no see (she says this while not looking at me, but looking at the baby and making a goo goo face, and speaking in a goo goo voice. she takes the baby in her arms and they build for a minute, then she puts the baby down. then she walks into one of the rooms to crack a back and her daughter follows her in.)
assistant: oh shit.
chiropractor: its fine (in baby voice) she wants to watch mommy work!
random groan of pain from the naked person on the table in the room with the door open and the chiropractor using a hitachi wand vibrator on his back while her baby asks in that whiny crying baby way to be picked up and the assistant waves a badly formed toy in front of the baby and the cable guy brings in his little stepladder and smiles at me. i heart cable, so i smile back.
assistant: look we can figure out the payment thing next time or something?
chiropractor: does this hurt?
naked guy: rrrmmmmmeeeekkk.
chiropractor: that’s good for today. (she runs back past me into the other treatment room and closes the door.)
baby, catching up with mama as door slams in her little baby face: wahhhh! mommy? mommy!!! waaaah!!
assistant: ooh its time to go huh, you’re tired? hungry?
a: (inner thought: i think the baby said it wanted its mommy?) do you know when she’ll get to me?
assistant: oh just a minute
chiropractor, walks out with old woman from treatment room: thanks! (chiropractor goes into other treatment room, stepping over reaching crying baby like so many cracks in a sidewalk)
random lady who clearly stole my appt when i was late: well that feels good.
a: (bitter smile.)
assistant grabs crying baby and starts walking her around, serving only to raise the sound to ear level, and my womb recoils. the woman who was just treated looks at her for a second, and then backs into the hallway, running into the cable guys ladder and we all have a precarious moment. then she’s gone in a manner i call ‘ making a run for it’.
a moment of quiet for all, and some chuckles.
assistant, in goo goo voice: shit she didn’t pay!
assistant (cracking knuckles and getting angry): i have to cover if she doesn’t. that is just some shit right there.
a: (mindin my own business and remembering i forgot my checkbook)
assistant: let’s go get her!
assistant runs into the hallway with the baby. i don’t see her again, and as far as i know she is still chasing that patient/criminal for a beatdown.
cable guy has spent this time carefully lifting the ceiling to string the white cable across the room as asked and is finally on the other side and stapling it.
three other ladies have walked in by now, in various assortments of gloves, hats, furs, heels and snobby looks down long or short fixed noses.
chiropractor, coming out of groaning naked man’s room: that cable is big.
cable guy: yeah well, its the same size as the one in the other office.
chiropractor: yeah, its big.
cable guy cuts his eyes at me. he is tall and very normal looking and i am drawn to his predicament.
a: i wouldn’t notice it if i didn’t see you put it in.
chiropractor, looking sideways at me with the kind of glance you can only give someone who is about to trust you to crack they neck: it’s big. can you just take it out?
cable guy: excuse me, ma’am?
chiropractor: i just can’t take this right now? (both the cable guy and i are watching her realizing that she is really missing her baby but hasn’t noticed the baby is gone yet) just take it back out to the other side…
cable guy: you want me to pull the ceiling all back up and unstaple everything and put it back on the other side ma’am?
chiropractor turns to the empty treatment room: adrienne, go in there.
a: (giving cable guy super sympathetic shrug) yes ma’am.
i strip down all of my clothes and she puts heat pads on me.
a: busy today, huh?
chiropractor: well someone was late and that just messes up the whole flow-
a: i was late.
chiropractor, caring hands pausing just over my back: you were late?
the whole office seems to go silent, and i can hear the women outside the room start grinding their teeth and cursing my soul. i can also feel, slighter but more important, the cable guy’s empathy.
a: yeah, like 10 minutes, couldn’t find –
chiropractor: i’ll be right back. i have to treat these other people first cause you were late. did you work out the insurance issue?
a: (lifting onto my elbows and feeling my back protest, i soooo need this treatment) well she told me about it. i think its a high deductible. i’ll figure it out.
chiropractor: fuck. ok just – just let this heat stay on for a minute and um – are you in a hurry?
a: actually i have a call in 15 minutes.
chiropractor: well i have to treat these other people first. you really need to be on time.
a: but there was no sign…
i realize chiropractor has left room.
i lay there with the heat pads on and think this out. my insurance ain’t workin, so she ain’t gettin paid to take care of me. when she was getting paid, she tended to be a little rough with me. now she is distracted, moving, annoyed, making unreasonable demands, her baby is gone, she thinks i was late of my own volition…do i want her laying her hands and that energy on me?
chiropractor, coming back in: oh you’re dressed?
a: yeah, i don’t have time to wait for this. you moved your office, that made me late, and this is just not what i need right now.
chiropractor: well i just have a lot going on right now, with the baby…
cable guy stops. ladies look up. i hold her gaze and watch her realize her baby is gone. i cut my eyes towards the door and she’s off!
chiropractor: where did…
chiropractor runs out into hall while quickdrawing cell phone and autodialing assistant.
cable guy: crazy bitch.
ladies: twitter twitter. twit? twit twit? twitter.
a: (slipping out the door) bye chiropractic office that has served me so well over the past 5 years. i won’t be returning.
cable guy and ladies and moaning naked man: bye!
as i stand by elevator, chiropractor comes up looking nuts.
chiropractor: i’ll waive your co-pay next time!
a, smiling politely, backs into elevator: i hope you find your baby!
chiropractor literally slaps hand to forehead: right right!