Picture this: Service Ontario and a diagnostic clinic waiting room.
An alien student doing their final year thesis, “The Behaviour and Temperament of the Blue Planet Animal Self-Identifying as Human,” need only to beam down to these two places for a Cole’s Notes understanding of us and get an easy A+.
Since my licence is up to date, I find myself at the Bayview and Eglinton imaging clinic getting an ultrasound on my neck. As I stand at reception, among my fellow actors from Central Casting, a yellow-themed woman of about 75 comes out of one of the rooms. She’s wearing what look like gold leopard pajamas. Her hair, large and yellow (she is, after all, yellow-themed), looks like it would catch fire if it got too close to an incandescent light bulb. Her substantial cane has yellow caution tape unevenly wrapped up the shaft. One of its four rubber feet has a Jolly Rancher wrapper stuck to it. Her eyes, though not yellow, are unusually red and cause me to wonder if you can get an ultrasound on your eyeballs.
The receptionist calls out to her, “You’re done ma’am.”
“You’re done. Do you want the CD?”
“THE WHAT?!” the vision in yellow screeches.
“The Compact Disc – it will have your imaging on it – you have to pay $10.”
“CAN ANY DOCTOR GET THE RESULTS?” she asks.
“THEN I’M NOT PAYING $10!” as she huffs off defiantly.
“Mr. Dabid?” the receptionist calls.
“No, David. Vee, as in Victor.”
Oh dear god. “First name David, second name Crichton.”
“No, silent “ch.” Here we go again, I think. “Like Michael Crichton, the author. No relation.”
Long pause, blank stare. “Jurassic Park? With the dinosaurs?”
“I’LL BUY THAT CD AFTER ALL!” A-n-n-n-d she’s back.
“Okay, ma’am, I’ll be with….”
“YES, I’LL BUY THAT CD!”
If it’s possible to be physically pushed aside by a person’s aura, this lady is giving me a full-on invisible body check. I look down at her, all of four feet-something, and she looks at me. I admit I am smirking a bit at her feistiness. The whole not-caring-because-I’ve-earned-it-attitude. She could have been channeling my mother.
“WHAT?” she demands.
“ME, what?” I point at myself. I decide to lean into it.
“I apologize for having a conversation while you’re interrupting.”
Her lips tighten, her eyes narrow. Slowly, instinctively, I bring my hands in front of me, and pull my knees closer together. That cane looks weighty, after all. I’m pretty sure I hear her say, “Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?”
My phone goes off and I look at the screen. Oh, great, just what I need right now. And as I open my phone app, I almost say to Leopard Lady, “It’s you calling.”
“Hi Mom, I really can’t talk right now, I have to…”
“Mr. Crotchton?!” someone calls from one of the rooms.
“Mom, I gotta go, I’ll call you back….Not true. I always do, but..…Okay, I’ll call…Yeah, yeah, I promise.”
“Yes, that’s me! Coming, coming.”
My cortisol levels are off the charts at this point, as I squeeze by Leopard Lady, who doesn’t budge an inch.
Forty-five minutes later I’m exiting the building onto Eglinton when a small wave of dread hits me. There she is. And she’s locked on. The hairs on the back of my neck strain to stand on end under crusty ultrasound gel residue. Was she actually waiting for me like Robin Poletsky used to do in Grade 5? Diabolical. I give her a wide birth, well outside cane swinging range. Behind me, I hear “I’m watching you!”
I start fast-walking, heart racing. My hand is vibrating. Oh wait, it’s my phone.
My voice cracks, “Hello? Oh, thank goodness, it’s you….No, nothing’s wrong.….No, I am not sick, either.
I know, Mom. I love you, too.”
Along with being co-founder of advertising agency Grip Limited, and partner in ManleyUnderwear.com, David Crichton has won numerous awards for his writing, including a Kitchener-Waterloo Kiwanis Club Silver Trophy, in Grade 7.