Most of us gravitate to the familiar. We stick with a favourite route to work or the store. If we find a doctor, hairdresser, shoe shop, or dentist we like we keep going back until they miss a diagnosis, take too much off the top, sell us stilettos, or yank out the wrong tooth. Most of us hang in there with ’the devil we know’ rather than risk change. Change translates into uncertainty. Uncertainty begets fear. Most of us will do almost anything to avoid those things we fear.
Other times, life forces us back to (or into) the things we’d rather avoid if we could.
Checking into what was causing my heel and ankle pain led to the miserable diagnosis of heel spurs. That led me back to a physiotherapist for help. Since the months of treatment following rotator cuff surgery in 2006, I hadn’t darkened the doorway of a therapy department. I forgot the apparent chaos of each therapist having multiple patients on the go at the same time. I forgot the privacy shattering reality of curtained cubicles. I forgot that the whole world sees everyone else’s appendages, braces, splints, limps, and wretched movement. I forgot the power and the evil of an ice pack, the comfort and warmth of a hot pack. I forgot about the invisible benefits of ultrasound and TENS. I forgot about the therapist’s insistence that the patient be part of the solution through faithful and regular adherence to the tortuous exercises shared on handouts. I did not need any of this.
Then I decided to upgrade from my crank-start laptop (slight sarcasm) to something faster. The buying and the installing is never fun but I have to say I’ve gotten better over the years. No meltdown. No calls to children or tech support. Short-term pain until the next update.
Another less than pleasant experience was going new car shopping with Hilary. She’s ready to part with her 2005 Honda Civic and make the move to an SUV. She and her brother did one day of test drives. Then, with rain stopping the harvest before it could get started, we spent last Sunday hitting three more dealers with her. She’s settled on an Acura RDX but hasn’t done the deal yet. That’s usually the sickening part: the make me an offer, I’ll take it to my manager song and dance. What I was shocked by at every dealership was the lack of product knowledge. The young bucks couldn’t answer basic questions about features. Finally I said I thought all young men loved cars and knew all the specs. Well, there are a lot of cars, one guy said. Wow. If my livelihood depended on knowing more than the customer I’d be cramming and asking questions during all the downtime between customers. But that’s me.
In the meantime I’ll revert to my routine of writing grant applications and reports, running a combine, and dreaming of a winter getaway, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.