Thursday, January 26, 2006

I came back from the doctor's office with a clean bill of health yesterday. I'm not a viral spawn of destruction and there's no Spanish moss growing in my lungs. The doctor just said that my cough is a leftover throat condition from my cold two weeks ago. She prescribed an over-the-counter cough medicine for the daytime and a narcotic cough suppressant for the night, but I ended up getting neither. I reason that if my only course of action is to wait for the cough to go away, then one medicine is just as good as the next: I'm already using an over-the-counter drug during the day, and if the prescription drug is just to help me sleep better, I can get the same effect with Nyquil. Just in case though, I'm going to be working at home until the cough goes away, since Annoying Coughing Officeman is only slightly lower on the Office Etiquette Chart as Guy Who Makes All His Calls on Speakerphone.

I reaffirmed my dislike of doing new things yesterday, not because new things aren't exciting, but because of the fear that people will make fun of you when you are doing something they have done for years. Enroute to the examination room, there's always a little pagan ritual you go through with the nurse, turning this way, standing on that scale, turning around to get measured and so forth. The nurse, who goes through it twenty times in a day just expects you to know what to do and where to face. The second time through, I'm always fine, but the first time is always anxiety-causing for me. It's just like going to the grocery store and getting an incredulous look from the tomato stacker when you don't know that bacon bits are sold in the spices aisle and not the salad dressing aisle. It's much easier to just give up on looking for them and go without bacon bits for a week or four.

I'm just as guilty when it comes to things in my own comfort zone -- I often call people colourful names on the Toll Road when they suddenly have to merge into or out of the Smart Tag lanes or when they come to a complete halt in the middle of the toll plaza while they search for the full service line. Since I know what goes through my head in those situations, I also know what people were thinking the first time I went to a "leave your tray on the table" fast food joint and wandered around looking for a trash can.

This "everyone should automatically how stuff works" phenomenon applies to tools and gadgets as well. Do you know what all the things in your manicure kit do, or what every contraption on the Swiss Army knife is for? I have toolboxes with eighty billion bits and bolts inside, and the only way I'll ever know when to use one is to look at the job at hand and think, "This looks like it might fit in there".

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