I live next door to a bungalow that houses a doctor’s office. I work at home mostly, so I see all manner of patients coming and going — young and old, short, tall, some with one eye blanketed in gauze, others leaning on a cane or walker. But one patient in particular tugs at my heart.
He’s at least 80 and trembles with each halting step. He is always wearing the same thing: black cap, red flannel long sleeve shirt and long pants (even on the hottest days). He also wears huge sunglasses to protect the surgery he’s had on one cataract. These sunglasses are quite something. Judging from the “bling” at the temples (I counted 12 sequins), either he’s channeling his inner glamorpuss, or he got them for free.
This man doesn’t hear well enough to use the phone (and doesn’t seem to have anyone to call for him), so to make an appointment, he arrives in person by bus. The reason I know all this is because his timing is terrible. He always just misses the doc and receptionist or comes when they’re on holiday, as he did today.
When I saw him coming up the walkway today, I intercepted him, as I usually do, and tried to explain as clearly as I could that the office was closed for two weeks. I ended up writing the information down for him and he thanked me.
As I watched him make his way to the corner, an elaborately pierced teenager wearing a miniskirt, arms covered tattoos, approached him. What’s she up to, I wondered.
When she gently took his arm and helped him cross the street, I realized my good-deed horizons need to be expanded to include “not judging tattooed books by their covers.”