Greetings, and welcome to another installment of “Adventures of the Bear Team.” My ears are still ringing from attending the Metal Alliance tour, but before we get to that I have to tell you about an insane conversation I witnessed first hand a few days ago.
We were in a doctor’s office, waiting for a scheduled appointment, when a group of about five people entered the waiting room. The brood was led by an older woman of perhaps sixty. This lady was apparently in a bad mood already, and her mental state would not improve during her visit. I now present an unedited* transcript of her conversation which the receptionist at the front desk:
*I have altered the names of the people involved to protect the innocent (myself) from identification.
Patient: “I have an appointment to see Dr. Alvarez.”
Receptionist: “What’s your name, ma’am?”
Pat: “Dorothy Johnson.”
Rec: “Do you have your insurance card?”
Pat: “No. But I’m on Medicare.”
Rec: “Okay, I’ll call and check on your coverage.”
(Pause during phone conversation between Receptionist and Medicare Rep.)
Rec: “Ma’am, you aren’t in the system for Medicare.”
Pat: “What? Don’t tell me I’m not in the system. I’ve been in the system for ten years.”
Rec: “Your name doesn’t come up. Are you sure you don’t have a card?”
Pat: (raising her voice) “No!” I don’t need a card. I’m in the system, and I need to see the doctor.”
Rec: “I understand, but without insurance, you’ll have to pay the whole amount for the visit.
Pat: (shouting) You don’t know what you’re talking about! Tell me I’m not in the system. Dorothy Johnson! I’m on Medicare!”
Rec: “Please don’t scream at me.”
Pat: (screaming) “I’m not screaming. I’m trying to tell you something.” (Turning toward the others in her group) “She’s trippin’ telling me I’m not in the system. Telling me I’m screaming at her. Making it something it ain’t!”
Patient’s daughter: “Mama, calm down.”
Pat: “Tell me I’m not in the system. Some of these people live around here. I don’t. I come over here to see the doctor, and she’s wasting my time.”
Rec:” Please don’t scream at me.”
Pat: “I’ve been in the system for fifteen years. She’s gonna tell me I’m not in the system.”
Pat’s daugter: “Mama, calm down.”
Pat: “I need to see the doctor!”
Rec: “If you will settle down, we’ll see what we can do.”
Pat daugter: “Maybe it’s Medicaid that you have, Mama.”
Rec: “We don’t take Medicaid.
Pat daughter: “How can we switch from Medicaid to Medicare?”
Rec: “You can’t.”
Pat: “I need to see the doctor!”
Rec: “If you have Medicaid, we’ll have to charge you the full amount.”
Pat daughter: “Mama, let’s go.”
Pat: “I’m in the system. I’ve been in the system!”
Eventually, the group left, but not before making an even bigger scene. I sat and pretended to read a book while struggling mightily not to burst into laughter. I felt sorry for the receptionist who was forced to put up with such a difficult person. I couldn’t help but think that it may have been easier for her if she had treated the situation like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWRxPDhd3d0
Speaking of strange encounters, I saw a skunk the other day. Now, when I say that I saw a skunk, I don’t mean that one crossed the road in front of my car. It was a much more intimate experience than that. Here’s what happened:
I was on my way home after working a late shift. I’d parked the car on the street and was walking toward our front door. Just as I reached the steps, I noticed a furry, bushy creature in front of the next apartment, perhaps fifteen feet away. At first I thought it was a cat, but then I remembered a neighbor telling me that he had seen skunks in the area before, and I realized that it was just such an animal which I found myself facing across a brick walkway.
I stared at the skunk. The skunk glared back at me. Neither of us moved. It was one of those moments, frozen in time. Perhaps one day it will be memorialized with a painting or a statue; like George Washington crossing the Delaware, or the flag being raised at Iwo Jima. Then again, probably not. But it was quite a tense and memorable scene.
We stood there for quite some time, the skunk and I. I wasn’t sure whether to make a move for the door or not. As I pondered what to do, I detected movement from my adversary. Slowly, the skunk was raising its tail! As it moved upward, the tail seemed to grow bigger. In seconds, the skunk’s had raised its tail to a vertical position, and held it there, trembling in the darkness.
I decided that the time had come to vacate the premises. I turned and quickly ascended the steps to the door. As I fumbled my key into the lock, I glanced back over my shoulder. The skunk was watching me. I opened the door and stepped inside. The skunk gave its tail one final twitch, then turned and disappeared into the shadows. I can neither confirm nor deny that it hopped away like Pepe Le Pew. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAIdrSN1L6s.
Now that we’ve concluded the skunk portion of today’s post, onto the aforementioned Metal Alliance Tour! I learned of this glorius occurrence from a poster I saw at one of my favorite restaurants: Pokez traditional Mexican food. http://www.pokezsd.com/. I love Mexican food. The great thing about San Diego is that you can literally throw a rock in any direction and hit a place serving some of the best Mexican food you’ve ever eaten.
But back to the show. I checked out the show online. For scarcely more than you’d pay for a new iPhone (due in part to the eleven dollar per ticket “convenience charge” which Live Nation so graciously applies to your order), I purchased two tickets to the concert, which would feature Anthrax, Exodus, and three other thrash metal bands.
I spent the weeks leading up to the show listening to CD’s and rediscovering songs I hadn’t heard in years. If the reviews posted online of previous performances on the tour were any indication, it would be an awesome show. At last, the day arrived.
Our night began at Ogawashi Sushi http://www.ogawashi.com/ for a pre show meal. A recent convert to the world of sushi, I ordered the “fire fire roll,” a baked roll featuring tempura shrimp, crab, salmon, and avocado. It was delicious, as was Dena’s “spicy lobster roll.” After our meal (or should I say, last supper?) it was on to the show!
We arrived at the House of Blues just as the first band, Holy Grail, began its set of traditional heavy metal. Next up was Municipal Waste, a Suicidal Tendencies influenced band featuring “party thrash” anthems. Click here to sample one of my favorite songs in their repertoire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEe_gizkTWY.
After a set by High on Fire, Exodus took the stage. Those of you who’ve followed my ramblings over the past few months will remember Exodus as the band I played in order to stick it to my noisy neighbors downstairs during our unholy six months in El Cajon. Now here they were, in the flesh. In addition to the killer music, Exodus will go down as having some of the most insane mosh pits ever! For the unfortunate among you who aren’t familiar with this powerhouse band, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxCTVssoddo.
And then, there was one. Anthrax exploded onto the stage with “Among the Living,” and it was wall to wall thrash for the remainder of the night. From “I Am the Law,” to “Antisocial,” it was an unbelievable performance. I left the House of Blues completely exhausted, my neck aching from head banging and my arms limp from flashing the devil horns. Here is a little Anthrax for you, if you dare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzpRU347BDU.
As of this writing, I’ve finally begun to recover some of my hearing. I encourage anyone who has the chance to attend a metal show, for there is nothing quite like being a part of a audience which becomes a single, chanting, moshing entity. Metal Alliance indeed!
On to the thought for the day:
I recently passed by a store which promoted guns, jewelry, and loans. I can’t even imagine a situation where a person would need all three of these things at the same time.
As they say, all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, this statement also applies to mediocre things. As always, thanks for reading. I appreciate each and every one of you out there who takes the time to ponder over my scribblings. For all of us there at channel 4 evening news, I’m Ron Burgandy. You keep thrashing, San Diego!