What happened to Thank You?


Posted on February 19th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

I woke up in a good mood today. I actually wake up in a good mood most days lately. It’s kind of sickening, but hey, the boys’ in love. What can I say?

I knew the temperature was going to be around 40, so I was excited for my first Wednesday Walk-about in weeks. I had two early doctors appointments, and after that I was free to roam for hours. I headed to the subway with an extra pep in my step.

As I headed down the stairs, I noticed a young woman making her way down, struggling with an over-sized stroller under one arm and a two year old girl holding her other hand. Three or four people passed her without giving her so much as a second glance. The train was roaring into the station, so I offered to carry the stroller down the stairs for her. She decline my assistance, so I continued on my way.

The train was in the station now, the doors open, a free-flow of passengers entering and exiting. I really had no choice but to hold the door for her. The train conductor tried to close the doors, but my massive frame prevented that from happening.  The conductor barked down the platform, but I held up a finger. Rather than pick up the child and hustle to the waiting train, she allowed the child to take one step at a time. The passengers on the fairly crowded train started to grumble behind me. I could feel their eyes on me. The woman and her daughter finally made it to the platform and hustled into the train as I allowed the doors to shut behind me.

She didn’t even say “thank you.”

So much for my good mood.

I silently seethed for a moment, wishing that I could turn back time a leave her blonde ass standing on the platform as the train rolled away, but I knew I wouldn’t have been able to do that regardless. Mama always said, “you don’t do the right thing for the reward, you do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

Rather than stand there and give the woman dirty looks, I moved to a different part of the car.

I made it to my first appointment, which happened to be the office of the surgeon who fixed my nose. We talked about the progress that had been made and how I was breathing better and my sense of smell had become acute and all that good stuff, and I also mentioned how I was still having problems breathing at night. He suggested another surgery that would open up the turbines and allow the flux capacitator to flow better and blah, blah, blah… I really was terribly interested in hearing about more surgery. I had good results with the first one, and I’m happy with that. Let’s move on. But like my family doctor always said, “I never met a surgeon that didn’t like to cut.”

After my visit I met with the receptionist who informed me that I now had a $750 dollar deductible and that I owed them $365 bucks for today’s visit and had a balance of $60 bucks from the last time. Despite my shock and dismay, I was polite and asked her to bill me since I didn’t have my credit cards with me.

I lied.

She smiled and agreed. Then she informed me that there was a $40 dollar co-pay for the visit. “On top of the $365?” My voice was shrill at this point. I think I scared the lady in the waiting room. I wanted to spit on the Berber carpet. I gritted my teeth and reached into my pocket looking for cash, knowing full well that I had already lied about not having my credit cards.

I pulled out $41 dollars. I gave her the 40 and slid the single back into my pocket. She was a nice lady. It wasn’t her fault, so I returned her smile with one of my own and headed out onto Park Avenue. It was raining now; pretty hard actually. It I hadn’t known by the drops hitting me on the head, surely my waterlogged left foot would have informed me. When I left the house, rather than wear my spanking new Nike’s, and have them get ruined in the muck and mire of the melting slush, I threw on an old pair, not knowing there was a hole where the leather met the rubber.

I know now.

So much for my walk-about.

I quickly made it to my second appointment and then headed back to the subway, my left foot squishing the entire time.  At 28th street, a woman with a 4-wheeled walker got on. She was in pretty bad shape. She began to drone on about how she was homeless and her husband had died 9 months ago of un-diagnosed AIDS, and although her two sons were spared, she and her daughter were both HIV positive. It was a good speech. She had obviously given it many times.

At 14th street I got up to switch trains. She was making her way down the car, asking for food or donations. I gave her what was literally my last dollar. Not that it really mattered. I was headed to an ATM that contained my vast, four-figured fortune.

At least she said “thank you.”





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