Earlier this week I had a doctor’s appointment. No big deal—just a regular checkup so I could get some prescriptions refilled. I have to see the doctor in person because at least one is a “controlled substance” and I asked him if there really was a black market for it and, if so, what was the street value? He laughed and said he didn’t know, then added, “Anyway, before I refill your testosterone, why don’t you go hang out in the beanbag corner and listen to my demo tape of Pink Floyd covers?” But that’s another story.
He also said he wanted to draw some blood and I said, “So that’s why you’ve got a red pen,” and he told me to watch it or he’d make me listen to his receptionist’s Bauhaus cover band. Then I went to the lab and while the nurse, a really cool guy with tattoos covering both arms, was getting everything ready he and I started talking about butterflies.
“They’re amazing creatures,” he said, “and people really just don’t appreciate caterpillars, you know?”
Yes, I knew exactly what he meant, and I agreed with him. Caterpillars can do damage to plants, but they’re also fascinating, and fun to watch, and everybody loves butterflies—which are also important pollinators.
“I’m just amazed by what goes on inside the chrysalis,” I said.
“Yeah!” He got really excited, but then calmed down enough that I barely felt it when he stuck a needle in my arm—a true professional.
I hated to leave but we both had work to get to. Then on my way home I passed what looked like an abandoned trailer. One side was rusting, but this was the other side:
It’s in a neighborhood that’s been steadily gentrifying for over a decade. What was once a rundown apartment building is now a climbing gym, and an abandoned factory has become a cluster of hip restaurants. It’s good and bad—sort of like the caterpillars and the butterflies, although, so far, most of the older businesses and older residents have been able to stay. The new businesses are taking up spaces that were empty.
It just surprised me, after the discussion of butterflies, to see something that was so metaphorically on the mark.
It might have been the drugs kicking in.
I am glad you get so much out of your visit to the doctor, Chris. And, yes, the transformation is something to see.
Steve Allen said that comedians aren’t people to whom funny things happen but people who see the world in a funny way. Well, I like to think I’m a bit of both and that’s why I get so much out of visits to the doctor.
I adore butterflies and moths too. There’s a vendor where I work who sells tons of dead butterflies in frames (she imports them from overseas where they raise them just to kill them), and I hate running them through the till–makes me so sad.
That really is sad. At least by the time they reach the butterfly stage they’re usually at the end of their lives and have laid their eggs of, if they’re male, contributed their half of the equation. But still butterflies alive and well are so much nicer than dead ones.
Everybody loves Chris and chrysalises and I can’t blame that comment on the drugs.
I feel more than a bit high after that comment.