IMR: 2000: May: 08 — Monday, 10:01 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

My weird day, in tangled fragments.

Leaving the apartment today, I ended up waiting forever for our small building's single elevator. When it finally came, I realized the delay was because the groundskeeper was going from floor to floor to water the sickly houseplants in each dim foyer. I made the mistake of stepping in anyway, whereupon I noticed every button between our level and the lobby was already lit.

Of course I got trapped in meaningless small-talk, and ended up stuck with him the whole way down, all the while kicking myself for not taking the stairs.

As I rolled onto the freeway at Lunalilo Street, I nearly lost the left half of my hood when I was cut off by a monstrous Bigfoot-esque Ford truck, whose driver made the common assumption that I was merging right, rather than continuing in the onramp lane straight onto the Vineyard offramp.

Then, driving into town, I quickly found myself stuck in another pocket of traffic insanity. Cars were backed up along narrow, one-way Merchant Street for more than a block.

Why? A big city tanker truck was inching down the road tree by tree, of all things, watering every plant along the way.

Damn Arboreal Americans getting all the breaks...

I wasn't at work for 90 minutes before Jen called, hacking and weak, convinced that she'd caught the stomach bug I was now successfully battling.

So I headed home, realizing along the way that the pills I'd made a special effort to bring to the office this morning were still there. I picked up a few gallons of Gatorade, and raced up to the apartment.

After getting Jen hydrated and Katie dressed, we then drove back to the magical clinic I had just visited two days before. While Jen met with the doctor, a restless Katie and I wandered around outside. We walked back into the parking lot just in time to watch the big Chevy truck parked next to my car pull out of its stall...

...turning too tight to the right and grinding into the front left corner of my car.

The older couple inside got out, and I walked up, shaking my head. They were very apologetic, and frindly, and quickly offered to pay for any repairs, and to leave our insurance companies out of it. We traded business cards, home phone numbers, and "stupid accident" stories.

Fortunately, this accident sounded much, much worse than it actually was. The only part of their truck to touch my car was its oversized wheels. And the only part to get really bent on my car was the bumper. A tug here and a whack there, and I figured I'd put everything back into place.

"Just let us know if you want to get it fixed and how much," they said, getting back into their truck.

"I will, but really, I don't even know where I'd take it," I said. "It was just in the shop for three weeks waiting for some part, and it'd be just my luck the only available bumper for an '84 Nissan is in Mexico or something."

Jen eventually came out, empty handed. Apparently, before giving out this particular antibiotic, standard operating procedures call for a pregnancy test&#nbsp;— however unlikely. Jen would have to wait for the results.

The mere mention of the 'P' word seemed to have its own healing effect, though. Jen seemed remarkably more alert as we left.

With most of the day left to waste and Jen getting a second wind, we decided to make a quick stop at the Ala Moana Lenscrafters to get the broken nosepad on her glasses fixed. Repairs are free and fast, ten minutes tops, I figured.


Turns out the tiny piece Jen broke is the one piece they can't fix, requiring the purchase of a whole new pair. And to do that, we had to work our way through the convoluted Lenscrafters machine, losing several minutes just trying to get her prescription from the on-site optometrist and finding an under-$50 frame that didn't look like it belonged on a Muppet.

Having already made this committment to hassle, I figured I'd look into their "$99 complete pair prescription sunglasses" promotion. I returned to the optometrist cave in back to get my prescription.

"Your prescription is expired," the beak-nosed clerk snorted at me.


"Expired," she repeated. "You got your last prescription last February, and they expire after a year."

"That prescription is the one for these glasses I'm wearing now, and it's fine," I said. "Can't I just get new glasses made using the same one?"

"No," she said. "You need to get a new checkup. Would you like to schedule one? We have openings this afternoon."

Ah. So that's the way this works.

"You know what," I said, "I really don't think that's neccessary. Can I get a copy of my prescription to get glasses made somewhere else?"

"I'm sorry, we can't do that," she said, as if she'd been through this drill a thousand times before.

"So you're saying I have to pay for an exam to get a prescription that'll probably be the same as the one you have now," I deadpanned, "And I also can't have a copy of my own vision records, because that would allow me to take my business elsewhere?"

The girls behind the counter fidgeted nervously. They were clearly expecting a long arguement. One that they'd eventually win, of course, one way or another.

So I just smirked and walked away.

An expensive lesson to learn, but a good one. Of course I should know better than to trust a company that somehow seems to make a profitable retail business in a medical field.

After all, if they can afford the overhead to operate in a mall, they've gotta be fleecing you somewhere. No wonder, as I discovered in the fine print in their literature, most states don't allow the store to colocate with an optometrist's practice.

All the markings of a scam. And they've got my eyes' numbers in there somewhere. Grr.

And as if I wasn't in a sour enough mood...

While we were wandering the mall, waiting "about an hour" for Jen's new glasses, we walked past The Body Shop. As we passed the door, a little blonde girl perhaps six years old bounded out and stopped just short of crashing into me.

And at the same instant I realized she was there, she spit on me.

Just like that. No warning, no clear reason. Just step step step stop ptui! Like the spray of saliva was a long time coming and I just happened to get in the way.

"Did she just spit on me?"

"Yes," Jen said, turning back to give the brat a piece of her mind.

"Never mind," I said, pulling her away. "She'll probably just spit on you too."

Desperate to be productive, I ran one last errand before settling down at home. I took my slightly dented, dust-covered Nissan down to the car wash.

And wouldn't you know it, as dry and hot as it was all day, when I drove back up into Makiki I somehow found myself under the single mutant rain cloud within 150 miles.

In fact, I don't know why I'm still up. I'm just asking for it.

My take-home final in Trask's class is due on Thursday. Racism, human rights, sovereignty models.

Now for the mid-term, breaking from tradition, I actually got started on it well in advance, and had it finished the preceding weekend. No lost sleep, no headaches, no stress. It felt great.

Not great enough to repeat, though.

I'm feeling distinctly uninspired, and suspect I'll just be cranking it out at some ungodly hour of the morning... just like old times.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 08 May 2000 · Last Modified: 08 May 2000