An Observation Concerning… Doctors and Mechanics.

“I just shook the handshake, I just sealed the deal, I’ll try not to let them, Take everything they can steal.”
-MGMT, “The Handskake”

We can go straight for the obvious comparison and conclude that both these professions fix things (so we think). By the way, if you didn’t read the title, we’re talking about doctors and mechanics here. Maybe you should go see a specialist concerning your attention span.

We could also make the other obvious comparison that both rip you off in some way, shape, or form. Mechanics: a figurative rectal exam; doctors: a literal rectal exam – and a prostate check for good measure (for men, of course – for women, the use of a speculum).

Every time I go to the mechanics I’m onto their little tricks. They load you up with free coffee and soda, maybe a stale donut or cold popcorn, and distract you with daytime television which you shouldn’t be interested in, but damn, it’s just too hard to look away from a soap opera like it’s some car accident – maybe I shouldn’t compare something to a car accident while at the mechanics because it’s bad juju – just so they can tinker with your vehicle, lifting it up, fondling it’s undercarriage, violating its private parts, and then deny the fact, tell you the car was asking for it and there’s something wrong with it, not them. I’ve seen enough Law & Order to know what’s really going on here. You molested my car, and now you’re raping me. They make up some cockamamie diagnosis that you just have to trust is true. So, I take great satisfaction in saying that I will not be replacing the air filter. Why do they have so many of those anyway?

Kind of like those little plastic cones doctors stick in your ear. I went for just a consultation once, kind of like a meet and greet because physicians change hospitals more than waitresses change restaurants and finding a new one takes months to make an appointment (or reservation), then another month to build a nice relationship (or for them to know your usual dish after a long drawn-out pathetic attempt at flirtation). What the hell are we talking about here? Anyway, the doctor stuck his thing in my ear (gross) and I didn’t want or need it to be done, but just went along with the situation, and then he charged me $50 like he was doing me a favor. My next appointment involved a recommended physical (reference above paragraph for Law & Order similarities, and also the previous sentence for charges). Unlike mechanics, doctors don’t necessarily tell you what’s wrong, but rather state that you’re fine. However, they have a specific tone when explaining precautionary measures that fill your head with curiosity, intrigue, and paranoia. Your other alternative is to check WebMd which is why you’re at the doctor’s office in the first place because the internet site always gives you the worst case scenario for your symptoms. A cough and stuffy nose? Brain aneurysm. So you agree to some tests which means you agree to fees that will eventually either be paid out of frustration or end up at a collection agency.

Two different sales tactics, but two that work, and both offer the it’s your funeral approach. A mechanic intimidates and forces you to eventually coincidently return out of spite for denying an air filter; a doctor is vague and makes you feel guilty enough about your lifestyle that the stress and worry will eventually land you back in their office and not by choice.

Where does this all stem from you may ask? Even though you didn’t I’m still going to tell you. I received two emails this past week. The first, my mechanic is convinced my car is due for service; and the second, my provider claimed my body is due for service. When did they start doing that anyway? Sounds like someone is in cahoots, and I’m not buying it.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying don’t go to the doctor or mechanic when something is wrong. Or do what you want; what do I care.

WBG

Traveling Abroad With Your Mother and Wife… What Could Go Wrong?

“[Fiddle Solo]”
-Mutefish

Surprisingly, not as much as one would think, but still, if there were no issues during the whole trip then I’m doing something wrong or simply lying. I don’t like doing things wrong, and I don’t like liars – and I don’t like hypocrites for that matter.

I know that sharing one’s journey abroad does not appeal to many; especially on a site that doesn’t truly bring in travel readers. Quite frankly, it doesn’t bring in many readers at all so we might as well add some more variety to the madness. However, we love experiences and life so there’s always a relation. However to the however, maybe there is a broad interest in going abroad, but the post can have two reactions: appreciation or jealously. Okay, there are probably other reactions, but if you want a list of those I encourage you to visit a psychology website instead or a random blog. Read this first though – or don’t, the stats have already been recorded.

As the title suggests, I just ended a vacation with my mother and wife. We went to Ireland, the Emerald Isle where drunkards and leprechauns roam free. That’s not entirely true, but certainly stereotypical. The first night was dedicated to my wife and I as we stayed in Dublin after arrival. My mother had traveled alone a few days earlier and if you ever get the chance to meet her then be sure there will be a dialogue – more like a monologue – concerning the struggles of being a 70-year-old woman traveling alone. Plus some bathroom talk. Anyway, my wife and I did not sleep on the flight over as suggested by experienced travelers and then made our way to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour after checking into our hotel. Exhaustion, hunger, and beer don’t go well together, but totally worth it. A fresh pint turned out to be the best remedy. The only downfall was that my wife ordered a Guinness beef stew for lunch because she was famished, but she does not drink beer, does not like stew, and is not obsessed with potatoes. Why did she even come, right? For many reasons!

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We walked around Dublin and appreciated the ambiance of the city, the old streets and buildings, the crowded areas and plethora of pubs before returning to our hotel for an early rest. The next day we rented a car and I am not pleased with Hertz, but that’s a personal problem. We navigated to the Kilmainham Gaol and toured the cells and execution yards before grabbing some delicious grub and heading to Adare where my mother was now situated in our cottage rental. Driving on the other side of the road (if you’re American) is not as difficult as one would think. Driving in the backcountry of Ireland though is a different story for someone not used to such tight two-lane roads that are really as wide as one, high speed limits for unknown reasons, and curves masked by trees, bushes, and stone walls.

That was the story of our trek to Ballylongford the following day. My mother’s great grandparents were both from this small town that could have been missed if we blinked. Heritage was one of the reasons for this trip, and now we have a better idea of where we come from; it’s quite the feeling to understand how roots from one tree can span so far, and how spoiled Americans are in comparison. We continued on to a lovely beach town, Ballybunion, and enjoyed the Atlantic during sunset (it’s on the west side out there you know). A wall of a castle stands on the coast as a reminder of how old the country is and how powerful the ocean waters can be. A beautiful day of discovery and perspective.

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The next day we had an earlier start and visited Bunratty Castle and the boutiques in Ennis on our way to the Cliffs of Moher. Of course, it was foggy and visibility was not guaranteed, but my wife said we’ve come this far so we might as well wait it out. God, I love her. Through the mist and dampness the gray lifted and one of the most glorious sights of my life appeared. The beauty, the immensity, the mystic atmosphere was amazing and it makes you feel like a lesser spec standing atop just a small part of the world.

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Our last day in Adare my mother and I golfed. Check that off the list. We celebrated at a pub with live music which we did every evening in the quaint and picturesque country town and rested. The following morning we were off to Dublin once again to spend our final day and night of the trip. We toured the Writer’s Museum which is wonderful and lets you appreciate the great literary talent and works that have derived from the island. Next, the Leprechaun Museum which was a great hour of entering another world and enjoying great storytelling, learning about culture and folklore. We shopped, we strolled, we listened to wonderful street music, and my last dinner in Ireland was bangers and mash, a cold pint of Guinness, and a warm shot of Jameson.

As you may have noticed, nothing really went wrong. So what’s with the title? My mother and wife move at a different pace which was difficult to maintain, it was stressful at times navigating the country with gasps of worry coming from the backseat and reminders of how there needs to be a bathroom available at any time, and there was skepticism that a bond would be more difficult to create between the two main women in my life (my sister is a close third of course). There were times where I wanted to freak out because of the stress, but I kept telling myself, “Calm down, you’re in Ireland.”

That’s the key: enjoy the positive and accept the negative. There will always be drama, there will always be pessimism, but there is also balance. Everything worked out in the end and this was an amazing trip; I highly recommended visiting this wonderful county of beautiful landscapes, rich heritage, nice people, and great fare and drink. Lastly, respect tradition, embrace your legacy, and love your family; it’s worth it no matter what. Slainte!

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WBG

P.S. For a more detailed account please feel free to contact me. Again, this isn’t a travel site, but this was just a nice recap to a meaningful life experience. Something to be appreciative and jealous toward.