Nelson Mandela was a very inspiring figure of the twentieth and early twenty-first century. I remember that as a kid, I watched him walk out of jail in South Africa. It was a tall signpost marking the path to a better version of humanity, one that we still walk on today. When he died earlier this year, it was a time to be sad but also to reflect on his greatness. Anyone who saw Mandela walk from jail with his fist raised in triumph knows that Mandela endured when he was alive and his memory will endure now that he is dead. I’ll teach my kid about him.

In the past year I’ve had dental insurance coverage, something that I haven’t had for many years.  I’ve taken advantage of it to the tune of three fillings and two deep cleanings.  In November, I’ll go back for more.  Now that I’m covered, I’ve signed up to be hurt on a semi-annual basis.

After an appointment, I was paying at the front desk when I saw, taped on the wall behind the receptionist, a photo of the waiting room done up for a party.  A middle aged woman in a beige outfit stood underneath a sign that said, “We Will Miss You Mandela”.  I understood totally- the death of Mandela brought back many memories for me, of my family and of my young self learning how to be a man with a strong moral compass to help me know right from wrong.  I told the receptionist that Mandela was important to me, too.  I was impressed that they had honored him in this way.  She gave me a funny look.  She turned around and when she saw the photo, burst out laughing.  She told me that it was the going away party for the dental assistant who had worked there for many years, Manuela.


Scheduling a medical appointment

Scheduling medical appointments is difficult.
If you get one detail wrong you are likely to get everything screwed up.
You can be on the phone with them and say, Hello, my name is John I’ve talked to you every day since last Friday, this is Rudy right? I’m still trying to get that appointment for next Monday the 30th at the office in San Francisco. Excuse me, I misspoke, the 30th is a Tuesday.
Okay, no problem, Rudy says, I can schedule you now.
Great you say, I’ve been calling you about this appointment since last week, great, I am glad to get this taken care of.
No problem, I’m scheduling you for your appointment Tuesday the 30th in Egypt.
In Egypt?? you say.
Yes, in Cairo– Oh, I’m sorry I thought you said Monday, Rudy says.
You’ll have to call back tomorrow.

Headlamp headlight change

Last night I go out in the garage looking for Nami. She’s in the driveway, under the hood of her car, wearing the headlamp that I use for night bbqing.
“What’s up?” I said.
“I’m changing my headlight,” she says. Fiddling with the back of the light, trying to get it off. “Who knows the last time it was changed,” she says, fiddling more.
“Can I help you?” I said.  Inching closer.  I’m like a politician, I come for the groundbreaking and then again for the ribbon cutting.
She looked up at me. With the lamp, it was blinding.  She had a look on her face.
“You can go inside because you are bothering me,” she said.
I squinted, glad to be relieved.  A few minutes later she came back inside, job done.