I went to Erin’s house after work. Unannounced. She lives in the same neighborhood as Lisa, one of those convoluted suburban rat mazes with cookie cutter mini mansions that have built up over time as an extension of older, more modest houses. I go the long way, and I have dreamt about this neighborhood before, down the hill to the circle, which is still under development. There is a community center under construction, with a playground and swimming pool and party cabana, but it is not open yet. the surrounding 3 or 4 lots at the bottom are still dirt, and I wonder if they are going to be part of the park they are building or if they are going to be houses built. Erin’s house is one of the older ones, brick, with a tiny yard gorgeously landscaped, and an inside all hardwood and red persian rugs, slate and stainless in the kitchen, and a living room with old dirty mushroom colored carpet and a dusty dirty white entertainment center holding the game console and big screen TV. I walk in like I live there, jeans and a white t-shirt, dogs all happy to see me, Erin happy to see me, Josh playing his video game. He grunts ‘hi’ like guys do, going back to his game. Erin and I sit down talking, having a beer on the weathered deck. I walk back the hall to the bedroom, and my hubby is there, packing to go, and when we are all ready, I make one last trip to the bathroom. I can overhear Josh complaining, angry, about me just showing up, being disrespectful, how he doesn’t like me and my bad influence on his wife, and when I come out of the bathroom, he is waiting by the door to kick me out. Dogs follow me out, Erin follows me out, and she walks me to my care, apologizing But my car is parked on the street outside the entry to the neighborhood, way back at the entrance to the rat maze at the top of the hill. And we talk about work, and our husbands, all the way to the top of the hill.
The second one, I don’t remember very well.
I do recall a jungle base camp, Mark is there, and we are zip-lining to a hunting grounds deep in the forest (deciduous, go figure.) It is a group activity of some kind, a paintball-type equivalent, and there is a little fat kid there with his mommy, and of course he has allergies, and there is some type of arm injury, so she brings him to me to evaluate. But it only looks like eczema to me, and it is one of those patients where even when they point to their rashes, I can’t see what the hell they are talking about. And Helicopter Mom is getting angry with me because I think she’s crazy, and she is telling me the name of some medicine their usual doctor gives them, and I have never heard of it because it is some kind of specialty compound. But I agree to call it in, when she throws another wrinkle. It has to be a specific pharmacy, it has to be under her name, it must be billed under Work Comp, and every concession I make, I end up getting taken advantage of more and more.