Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rambling on Venice Blvd.

Venice Blvd

I drove out to Santa Monica this afternoon for my annual mammogram. I had gotten a babysitter for Sophie and turned down some plans to meet with a friend for this appointment. I wanted to get it over with, particularly since very recently one of my best friends got diagnosed with breast cancer from a routine mammogram. I know five people who've recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and at this point, we all know that lightning can strike twice, that bad things happen to even the beleaguered or women like me who have, already, a lot on their plate. Sometimes, I imagine what I'd do if I got a cancer diagnosis, and I can't come up with anything more than well, of course I do, and that's not to evoke pity or even because I'm pessimistic. I think I've just learned to expect that things can go wrong or crazy, in the snap of a finger. Anyway. I hit a bunch of traffic traveling -- it's summer, and so dang beautiful outside. I imagined all the cars were going to the beach. The imaging clinic has free valet parking. I've always been struck by the meticulous care women's clinics take for their patients. It's in stark contrast to the various neurology clinics, even pediatric ones, that I've frequented over the last two decades, where it's like one horror show over the next. I checked into the office, updated my personal history and sat in a chair to wait. A woman in scrubs came out with a clipboard in her hand and called my name. She sat down next to me and told me that the mammogram machine was down, that she was sorry but that I'd have to reschedule. I almost didn't understand what she was saying and might have said What? and then listened when she told me The mammogram machine is down and you'll have to reschedule. There's not much you can do, is there, but sigh and walk up to the receptionist and reschedule your mammogram. Do mammogram machines really go down? Is there only one mammogram machine at this very prestigious imaging clinic? The thought crossed my mind, later, when I was sitting in the godawful west to east traffic that it wouldn't surprise me if a celebrity in need of a mammogram had come in some back way and they'd closed the place down for her. Musing at a standstill in my car on Venice Blvd, the route I'd chosen over the freeway, I told myself that if that thought just sprang into my mind in that moment, apropos of nothing, it must be true. That sort of thing happens in this city, and I'm one of those people that believes if you can conceive of a soul, there must be one. Does that make sense or does it just sound crazy? It's sort of like a psychic hit -- the kind of thought you have like a bolt of lightning, completely irrelevant to the situation at hand. I have them periodically -- you know, when I suddenly know that the guy behind the counter handing me my prints at the photo shop is a pedophile, or the woman standing at my window in the carpool line is going to tell me that she's pregnant. I probably do sound crazy. I sat in traffic on Venice Boulevard at a near-standstill for a really long time, thinking about these things. I also looked out my window and tracked a woman in a blue-spangled robe and head covering. I wondered whether she was Muslim or a nun. There were the sequins, though. She walked faster than my car moved, and at one perfect second, when the car next to me moved forward and a space opened up, I took her picture. She was on her way home, had some flatbread in her bag, would tear a piece off and eat it once she got inside, wait for her son to call. At least I think so, but I'm pretty sure.


  1. A sequined nun! I love it!

    It's funny you thought of celebrities as the cause of the mammogram delay -- and of course that makes sense, living in LA as you do. I thought they'd probably just overscheduled and needed to bump someone. I think some medical practices book in more people than they can handle, reasoning that some will cancel or not show up.

    We're both so suspicious. :)

  2. sorry, but it's Ramadan, so she'd have to wait untill sunset... ;-)

  3. The machines do go down. It's the term we use with our machines as well. The hospital I work in that services a thousand people a day, at least, only has two machines. The machine needs maintenance of some sort.

    It's good that you're getting a mammo though. You should get a FIT test too. Fecal Immunochemical Test checks for blood in the stool, a symptom in colon cancer. We're that age. I gave myself a colonoscopy for my 50th birthday. Yay.

  4. My god but you can take a downed mammogram machine and turn it into the most beautifully written piece about life and where you live and out into the universe and down to the sequins on a woman's robe as she walks and eats flatbread.
    You stun me.

  5. The beauty of you and that woman, it makes me want to cry.

    I believe in your knowings. I have them too, sometimes.

  6. Oh yes Venice and Santa Monica. One of my children lives in LA and traffic is a tool for helping us with our meditation practice....! Making up stories as we sit there. And they are true in some dimension.

    XXX Beth

  7. OK so you already know I am a wacko. Some say acute powers of observation are often associated with a heightened and innate awareness of that which is hidden from our eyes. I, for one believe you do experience "psychic" thought. FYI in the spiritual realm ...your powerful reaction to the catholic church as a youngster may also be a strong indication of a previous life. (You see, you are not alone in the unusual department!)

  8. I think you're highly tuned or finely tuned in your perceptions - it's what's gotten you through (is getting you through) this labyrinth with Sophie.

  9. I love your rambling imagination. I love it a lot.

  10. There have been times in my life, when a cancelation like that would have been enough to cause me a nervous breakdown. The effort to get a sitter, for a child with a disability, that kind of thing.

    And of course it was a celebrity. Of course you are right.

  11. I love this post.

    When reading your blog I often get the urge to post an "I love you!" comment. Of course that's odd, but I think it's my brain wanting to send you a psychic high five.

    The poetry of your writing reminds me of all that is good to be human.



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