Monday, August 17, 2009

Everyday Life: Who's Doing the Thinking?

I recently had a mammogram and DEXA at a medical facility just off Seminary Road and 395 in Alexandria, VA, close to where I live. I have been going there for years. I also have an "August" car, and parking at the "professional building" is difficult, so I decided to "kill two birds with one stone" and get my vehicle inspected at a nearby gas station at the same time.
I dropped my automobile off, and walked across the "plaza" parking lot, which I might add is always close to empty, but routinely patrolled by tow trucks to eradicate the noncommercial infractors and prevent the nonexistent overflow. That inhospitable policy figured greatly in my planning, and also allowed me to get some fresh air and morning exercise while the heat and humidity were relatively low.
As I signed in, I was still multitasking, pulling my prescription and insurance card out of my purse before they were asked for. I quickly filled out the three pages of paperwork I was handed in exchange and was shortly thereafter escorted back to a waiting room. As the BEXA was first, and like a Girl Scout I had come prepared, sans bra and without any metal on my clothing, I didn't bother to put the gown on, and quite frankly, wasn't given the time. Not a complaint. But that thoroughly upset the BEXA technician, who was incredulous that I had no zippers or snaps. She kept asking if I was wearing a sports bra - I just had to be wearing something underneath my T-shirt (gasp)! Sorry, no bra, small doesn't really sag, and most of the time my motto is "what for?," although I will concede to the harness for formal or professional occasions and when my posture (neck and shoulders) needs a lift. When the bone scan was over, I apparently got up off the table a bit too hastily for her liking, and she admonished me for not staying put until the table was completely lowered. As if I would know exactly when that was. "You must wait," she scolded as I was tying my shoelaces and putting my watch back on. I abruptly let her know I was fine and assured her that I wasn't litigious. She must have seen the copy of Richard A. Posner's "What Judges Think" in my hand and correctly surmised I was an attorney. I could not wait to get away from her, far to rigid a personality for me, a "stupid rules are made to be broken" girl.
As I opened the door, the mammogram technician was waiting. Oh, but I still did not have my gown on, so she wanted to send me back to the waiting room to change. I suggested that I just do it in the mammogram room and quickly pulled off my top and donned the pink frock. What for, I don't know, not that it really stays on during "filming." But she was expeditious and personable, and door to door, I was back to my now "passed inspection" car in around half an hour.
Both of these woman were much younger than me; the second technician actually commented that I did not look my age as she confirmed my birthdate with a question mark and asked me how I stayed looking so young ("Thank you. Genes"). To varying degrees, neither could think on their feet or outside of the box. I don't consider my forethought or simple common sense solutions in the short time I was there particularly sagacious, novel, or tantamount to "brain surgery." But I am a Baby Boomer, and apparently a dying breed. I can think. If this is representative of what is "going to rule the world" in the not so distant future, at almost 55, with hopefully many years still ahead of me, I am scared.
The next day I received a computer generated mailing from the medical facility reminding me to make my yearly appointment. The very one that I had kept on the date of its postmark and had scheduled at the beginning of July! Aside from the waste of paper and postage, and a disappointing look at what some of my health care dollars were going for, this is a good example of the folly in the overdependence on technology as a substitute for human critical thinking. Twice bitten in as many days, I am scared. Very scared. You should be as well...
Back to School is just around the corner. WHAT, exactly, are we teaching?

Karen Ann DeLuca

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...