Friday, November 30, 2007

Is this a Blog I see before me??

I had to go to the eye doctor today. The optometrist’s assistant had the flu. She sounded really sick and was coughing and wheezing throughout the exam. Keep in mind, this is an eye exam, the sort of exam that pops even the tiniest of personal space bubbles. She said she had a high fever and was leaving work as soon as more help arrived. In the meantime, she was spitting microbes all over me as she telling me all about her husband’s recent illness and her uncle that recently got into a car accident, etc. etc. She seemed to be a human drama magnet. I felt bad for her, but all I could keep thinking was that I wish I had worn a different outfit to the appointment. Something more like this…

I always love hearing people’s stories, but I wanted to practice “safe empathy”.

The optometrist told me my vision has gotten “significantly worse”. The tone he used, I felt like he was accusing me of something… but I wasn’t sure of what so I didn’t know how to defend myself. So I just said “YOUR eyes have gotten significantly worse.” That seemed to work.

Then he spent a good 10 minutes asking me why I changed my name when I got married. I said it was a no-brainer, I always knew I would. I guess he had to really twist his wife’s arm to get her to change her last name and he wondered why. I’m not sure why he thought I’d have any sort of insight into his wife’s thought process. It’s not like she has ever called me on the phone and told me her secrets. I told him not to worry – that nowadays a lot of women don’t take their husbands last name or they choose to hyphenate.

It was an interesting conversation and you could tell he had been trying to justify his wife’s reluctance in his own mind for a long time. The truth was probably much less complicated than he had reasoned it out to be. Discovering the truth is also probably much less complicated than he made it out to be. He should simply directly ask his wife what her reasons were rather than trying to figure out her reasoning by asking his patients. It would be like me asking Cow what Tim wants for Christmas. (I'm sure Tim will love the box of crumped paper I bought for him on eBay.) It’s better to just go directly to the source. When that doesn’t work, go to Google.

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