The Wrong One

“Just stand over there and we’ll get to you in a minute.” said the clerk, his facial expression made me think of constipation.  I rolled myself in the direction he indicated and thought that he’d used an interesting choice of words. Not that I want to be confronting or anything, but I’m disabled and can’t stand. I sort of figured that the wheelchair was a dead giveaway.  But I rolled on over to the waiting room and proceeded to wait as instructed. I did that for 30 minutes.

My name was called and I rolled over to the doorway and the woman who’d called my name. She stood there holding the door open and smiled warmly at me as I rolled past her and into her little office. It was sparsely decorated with nothing hanging from the walls, but her desk was a little island of color in the midst of a fog of beige. She had a variety of stuffed animals and dolls cluttering the desk, gaily attired in bright primary colors. Protruding from a pile of fur and fabric rose a framed photograph of the woman and some guy standing in front of a car.  It’s good I brought my own chair, the only other one in the room she just placed her somewhat wide behind on. She smiled at me, I smiled back. She looked down at the papers she held in her hand, then plopped the papers into her lap and said “Oops. I’m not the person you need to speak with about this.” She tried to look embarrassed, but I thought she looked a little glad.  “If you’ll go back to the waiting room, I’ll have the right person call you soon.”

Back in the waiting room, I managed to pass another 30 minutes. The woman stepped out of her office again and looked at me. “I can see you now.”

I performed a rapid mental head shake, the kind that makes your lips go bdia-bdia-bdia as your mind makes the sound of tires skidding to a stop. “What?” I said. I’m sure I sounded confused, after all, I was.

“You’re up!” she beamed. “Come on in.” she stepped back halfway through her door, again holding it open for me. I rolled over at stopped at the door.

“I thought you said you weren’t the right person to see me?” I developed a minor eye tic.

“It’s the funniest thing. It turns out I am the right person for you to talk to.” she replied.

“What happened in a half hour that changed you from the wrong person to the right person? I don’t get it.” I said.

“Why, in that thirty minutes I found out I was the right person to talk to you, of course.” she said. The way she said it made me feel stupid for a second. Then I got annoyed.

“What. What in that 30 minutes told you this?”

“I looked it up.”

I would have replied, but, I mean, what do you say? I rolled back into the office and she passed me and took her chair by the desk. She smiled at me, then picked up a sheaf of papers and scrutinized them as if for the first time. Her phone rang and she answered it. I was two chapters further along in Lassiter, Paul Levine’s new book in a series about a Miami lawyer with a much more adventurous life than I when she hung up. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I have to go.” She stood and walked over to her door and held it open. “Go ahead and make an appointment for tomorrow and we can finish up.”

I rolled out of her office and out of the building. The mortgage company clerk called to me from behind the desk as I passed, he said “Don’t you want to make a new appointment?”

“I’m not the right person to talk to.” I said.