Half a Doctor

“Good afternoon, I have an appointment with Dr Geller.”

“Oh.., Sorry Ma’am his OPD is backlogged since the morning, there was an emergency case, he’s in the surgery as we speak. Should be out soon.  But you’ll have to wait.”

“Oh..ok…”

I resign to my fate and the ticking clock behind her. So today’s officially a bad day…I have a blog post to write, a  photo character sketch, due by 7 on the Editor’s desk and well in simple words no inspiration. I might as well use the time to try to get some headway on it here, I survey the room to make a beeline for the quietest corner seat among the other waiting patients.

“But Ma’am… his Junior is in, you can see him now.”

“But I regularly see Mr Geller only, you know that Gene”, I remind the receptionist.

Anyways I’m thinking he’s a junior doctor…what is that? At best half a doctor..

“But he’s real good ,” she goes on,”a part of Dr Geller’s team,take a consult,he can give you an initial diagnosis, no special charge, you can see Geller as soon as he’s out of surgery.”

Now I don’t change my doctor unless I really have to…I mean once I feel confident and comfortable with him…it’s all about vibes. But what’s the harm I reckon it’s a free consult…at the least he can help me figure out these test results…which are adding to my already jangled nerves not good either for my health or my writing today.

‘Ok’,I tell her.

….

‘The Doctor will see you now’, the assistant announces and opens the door.

‘Please come in,What’s the trouble?How can I help you?’

I settle in the chair and look across the table…

….

-a nice crop of hair, dark brooding eyes, wisdom on his brows

-hands clasped together on the table

-a man about business, image, detail, order and precision

-a clean and crisp air about him

– timeless -ageless…well age is just a number till you’re a senior citizen..

-the suave, quiet, smoldering intellectual

-a repository of knowledge, competent and skilled

-intelligent, professional and sexy without even trying

-a lethal combination of serious and naughty

-eyes which have seen both pain and pleasure in equal measure

-a mischievous smile lurking somewhere behind well..has to keep it in wraps after all it might be too fatal,

– internally engaged in some puzzle or conundrum

-the air of soulful mystery

-Hmm..Far more to the man than meets the eye

– Why doesn’t he smile more?….Ah.. there’s the risk of every patient being smitten..

….

I hear my mental typewriter inking and printing…

“Miss..! Hello…Are you ok? Do you need a glass of water?”,he asks with concern, breaking me out of my reverie.

(Haha), “No, I need a paper and a pen,”I blurt out, a smile creeping out upon my face for the first time in the day.

“Hunh? What’s the problem?”

“Well, yes, umm…coming to that…”

(Yeah…I’m feeling better already! The clouds are clearing..It might not be such a bad day after all!)

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Race Against Time

RACE AGAINST TIME

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 “Steve! I’m leaving,” she shouts above the din preceded by a loud honk, “Sure you’re not coming? Father Phillip was asking about you.”

“Next time,” I reply after turning the volume of the radio down a notch momentarily. Bryan Adam’s Summer of 69’s playing on the station.

“Ok. But you keep saying that. I’m holding you to it next time,” she adds sportingly.

“Love you,Bye!”

I hear as she backs the car out of the driveway and into the street. Off to Sunday mass at the church. Truth be told he found it difficult to sit all quiet and still while the hour long sermon was on. He felt fidgety all over, couldn’t concentrate on or understand even a bit of what the priest rambled on and on about. His relationship with God was neither hate nor love. He just didn’t know what to think of it all.

 I look at the clock .It’s 9.Ok I’ve got three hours tops before she’s back. Chop -chop, no time for dilly dally. I’ve been up since the crack of dawn- cleaning, servicing and polishing Her. I work faster running against time. Final buffing complete, I stop to admire her. My racing car –‘Devil’s Mistress’, the press had nicknamed her alright. She gleamed and glistened with pride from bonnet to trunk.

I look out the garage window. Yeah it’s gonna be a warm and sunny day .Not at all conducive to what I plan to wear. Full sleeved red and white jumpsuit ‘Dream Catchers’  winged printed at the back and front, laced high rise sneakers and helmet -my full racing gear .I head back in,  hurriedly shower and dress. I stand in front of the mirror helmet in hand, shoulders back, chest out, feet astride, in a winner’s stance and take it all in. Not bad, for a 45 year old man. Except for the long greying hairs on my head and chin I look as dashing as I did  so many years back when I stood garlanded and medalled on the podium.

Of course I had told Barbara then that I’m growing out my hair to better suit my new profession of gym instructor. But really I didn’t want people to recognize me, even though the possibility was scarce in this remote part of America.

My mind flashbacks. Zooms in to the stadium stage. Taking the chequered flag. The euphoria of winning the world championship tournament. The happiest time in my life. Achieving fame and fortune in double time. I can almost hear the national anthem playing as the flag is raised for the winner’s country. And then the loud roar of applause from the screaming fans…

Which quickly changed to loud booing  and name calling the next day .He recalled the newspaper headlines ‘Steve faces lifetime ban from professional car racing’, ‘Tournament title taken back’ ,‘Banned substance found in medical  tests’, ‘Using performance enhancing drugs’…He remembered putting up a brave face at  the press conference and afterwards crying in the bathroom stall.

“It’s just a health booster, a little kick to the system,” his coach had advised and later beat a hasty retreat. He should have known better to check upon and research into his claim but he hadn’t. Things went downhill pretty fast after that. One day fed up with everything, he quit the rat race, sold everything that remained after all the court battles, packed his bags and booked a Wellness camp holiday in Texas to reboot his system. That’s where he met Barbara. And she’s why he had such a speedy recovery.

She knew that he’d been a sportsman but had never asked for the details. She’s a teacher at the local school. She has no interest in sports, racing or the media and yet she had raced into his heart. Maybe that’s what attracted him the most, that she was far removed from his past. He loved her for her simplicity and  zest for fully living in the present moment only. Her calmness had rubbed off on him.

 Yes, he’d left that part of his life far behind. But once in a while, when abstinence from speed and thrill became too much to bear, when no one was at home, he would dress up in his sports gear and take his ‘Mistress’ out for a spin on the racing tracks, breathe in the asphalt from the black and white tarmacs, relish the adrenaline rush in his veins as the world whizzed past at breakneck speed and for a few hours relive his glory days. This was his only guilty pleasure. A brief pit stop on his life’s course. A surge now and then in a smooth flowing stream.

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Some thoughts to ponder:

“Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary… that’s what gets you.”
― Jeremy Clarkson

“Because memory is time folding back on itself. To remember is to disengage from the present. In order to reach any kind of success in automobile racing, a driver must never remember.”
― Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing.

If you can still hear your fears, shift a gear.

Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere; and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” Mario Andretti

“To achieve anything, you must be willing to dabble on the boundary of disaster.” Sir Sterling Moss

It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece…but to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out and defiantly shouting “Wow, What a ride! ”

Do not look back, you’re not going that way…

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What’s behind you doesn’t matter. – Enzo Ferrari

Character Sketch

Ready to write your own character sketch. Let your character speak. Write a 150 word piece of writing where your character introduces themselves. Consider the following as you write character name, accent or dialect, background, your characters personality and outlook, how other people view your character.

You could include any of the details you made a note of and may also include the points mentioned above.

CACTUS

“Which one do you want?” asks the gardener.

“I just said I want to look around first” I snap.

“We need some time… we’ll call you once we decide.” My mother pacifies him. We are shopping for plants at the nursery as she insists they would make my place look more hospitable.

As I walk around surveying the plants, she runs her hand through my hair.

“Look how shabby you’ve become. If only you would get a nice haircut and shave that long, shaggy beard. And I wish you wouldn’t drink so much .Whenever I call, you are watching a game on TV. You need to go out more. How will you meet a nice girl? And would it hurt you to not wear sneakers and a tracksuit on a date? Just the other day, Christine saw your photo in my purse and said you looked really handsome. She couldn’t even tell you had a limp…”

She goes on and on. I switch off.

“Are you even listening?”

“Yes, Mom, I am .And tell him I want this one.”

“What? Cactus? Who keeps cactus in the house? It’s all spiky and ugly. And it does not look the least bit romantic.”

“So? Why not?” I insist I’ve made my choice.

Finally after much quarreling, we leave with two cacti and one homely green.

Later I google the meaning of cactus. I learn that cactus stands for endurance, standing up to the test of time and the elements, extremely determined, representative of the ability to adapt to situations and environments.

Not bad company I’d say.

*****

The photo portrait I have based my character on was of a guy, perhaps European sitting on a chair in front of a TV (an old TV black box). He looks young and handsome, has a long face, a long beard and looks in need of a haircut. He has a can of beer in his hand .He is wearing a sports T-shirt, shorts and sneakers. The TV is placed on an old marble top table. He is flanked by tall cacti plants and in one corner there is a leafy plant. The floor is basic and there is full wall screen landscape painting behind him. The rest is my imagination.

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