Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Hot Afternoon Well Spent!

My understanding was that my insurance would pay for 10 doctor visits and 10 psychotherapy sessions, but my understanding turned out to have been deficient. I have been presented with a huge bill for my last visit with Dr. Njad, and all he did was clear my blocked left ear. So when I found myself running out of what is known generically as citalopram, I hoped I’d be able to talk Dr. Chung, at Hudson Valley Mental Health, into writing me another prescription without our conferring, but no dice, even though I assured her I would say in person what I always say — that the medication seems to be working — that is, keeping me from the edge of the abyss — and that 40 milligrams per day seems about right.

I went in in person and threw myself on the mercy of the woman in charge, pointing out that my monthly expenses far exceed my meager income, and was told that I did indeed qualify for the lowest possible payment on their sliding scale. I followed Dr. Chung into her office, told her that the medication seems to be working, and that 40 milligrams per day seems about right, and got another prescription, with which I headed to the nearest Target, across the river in Newburgh.

I’m aware that Target — which I have never been amused to pronounce as though it’s French — has contributed to the political campaigns of homophobes, but self-interest compelled me to take advantage of the fact that their pharmacy charges only $4 for a month’s worth of pharmacologically induced or abetted mental health.

After discovering that the ice cream of which I'd considered buying a wee tub was full of substances I'd have hesitated to introduce into the temple that is my body, I got myself a mocha frappuccino at the little Starbucks at the front of the store, marveled yet again at the fact that the smallest Starbucks cup is called tall, as though George Orwell was somehow reincarnated to help with their branding, and went looking for a plastic tablecloth. There is no one to help you at Target, though; you’re supposed to use one of the red telephones that are scattered throughout the store. The one I tried didn’t work, so I ambled all the way down to Customer Service for guidance, and was directed to one of the store’s corners.

En route thereto, in Housewares, I passed a girl of around 13 whining at her mother that she wanted a garishly pink something-or-other for her bedroom. Her mother, apparently sensing that Missy might well tire of garish pink, gently, almost apologetically, advised a more subtle hue, whereupon Missy, using a tone I remember too well from my own daughter’s adolescence, pronounced the proposed subtler hue disgusting. The familiar tone suggested that Mom was a pitiable cretin lacking anything resembling sense, let alone taste, and I had all I could do to keep from telling her, “Listen, you little brat, you’ll get what your mother chooses to buy for you, and be grateful for it.” But I didn’t. Nor did I advise Mom that appeasement works as well with teenagers as it did with Hitler; it only engenders fierce contempt.

I ascertained that all the tablecloths on offer were unsuitable — I’d wanted red and white check, in keeping with the 50s theme of the dining area. I toyed briefly with the idea of getting the least offensive, which had a white floral pattern on a red background, and cost only $5.99, but wound up demurring. And now I’m glad I did because when I went into the Idolatry (known to the less imaginative as Dollar Tree) after finishing at the gym this afternoon, I was pleased to discover they had plain red ones, for only a buck.

I got a do-rag at this same Idolatry a few months ago, but am not entirely sure how to wear it, and am afraid that the locals might think I’m taking the piss, as a Brit would say, if I figure it out and venture onto Main Street with it on. I shall have to consult one of my homies from the ‘hood, yo.

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