|Carlos and Karlen...Sittin' in a Tree|
I received an early morning call telling me Mom had fallen. (Fortunately, she could get up, thanks to someone being there, but it wasn't without ramifications.) They were monitoring her for a concussion and she bruised the heck out of her back side. I was heading to her second, but first I had a doctor's appointment to deal with an unruly knee that is not healing properly. (That's not counting the pain; no doubt, standing up is the last thing I need to be doing right now, but it's kinda hard to be of use to anybody, much less 29 goats, 5 dogs and myself while lying flat with knee at heart-level, which is absolutely driving me bonkers and I am failing at miserably, so go ahead and heap on the guilt because yes, I blame myself for my knee still being swollen like a son of a gun.)
Mom was stable so I kept my appointment, only to find out my new insurance (having been booted off Blue Cross, thank you very much BC/BS) was screwed up...(something about referrals, which I literally watched my primary care doctor's office DO-- it just got lost in the system).
Normally, when a cyclone of "nothing's-working-out" is swirling about me, I don't leave the house. I hole up. I cancel things. I do whatever I can to stop the contagion, having learned that once your day starts off sideways, you'd be wise to minimize the damages to others and not heap coals upon the burning, downward spiral. But in this case...facing a holiday weekend with a bum knee that was hurting like heck and a mother whose situation was uncertain and about to get worse as they'd stuck her in a room that portended a roommate soon (no offense to said unknown roommate, but my mom doesn't want visitors right now and she REALLY doesn't want strangers living along side her) I was in no mood for one more challenge.
the funniest thing happened.
(I say funny because it is downright IMPOSSIBLE to stay in this mindset with a monkey in your midst.) I turn around from talking on a phone through a plexiglass window to a person who was, to her credit, trying to help navigate the new insurance people (Think: Karlen's an extra in Shawshank Redemption) I turn... to spot ....a monkey sporting a pamper. I think to myself: My God, it's a monkey...wearing a pamper! (This is normally where I pinch myself to make sure I hadn't shifted to some alternative universe.)
I don't think I can paint the picture with words this time. I mean...who owns a monkey these days? And who takes one to a doctor's office? (Answer: Thank God, somebody.) In a 180, zero to 60 moment, my entire mood shifts.
"Awww....What's his name?" (I have no idea why I assumed he'd be a guy... turns out my gut instincts were spot on. Must be all those dating years kicking in...)
"Carlos. But don't worry. He won't bite. He has no teeth and he can barely see, but he WILL need to sniff you, just to make sure you're OK."
I had noticed the girl while waiting for my insurance people to cooperate with the nice lady behind the plexiglass. This girl looked like Tracy; a grown up version of my best friend from first grade. Sadly it couldn't be Tracy because Tracy died in an car crash when we were 16, but I'd been watching this girl since I took my seat in the waiting room. She was waiting for (what I now assumed was) her grandmother. The waiting alone prompted a flood of emotions as I closed my eyes and thought about Tracy and how much I missed her and how this could've been her and what it would've felt like bumping into her in a doctor's office after all these years...if only she hadn't died.
Suffice it to say my whole day had been lived like this: at the brink of tears. (Note to self: remove damn magnet from refrigerator door; pretty sure this wasn't what it meant.) But no time to think about that now. There was a monkey amonkst us.
Conscious of the myriad of smells that might set a monkey off, I resisted at first (not that I didn't want to shake hands with Carlos. To the contrary, I wanted to pick the monkey up and hug him to smithereens. Who sees a monkey in a doctor's office?)
"Probably best I don't." I offered. "I live with a bunch of goats and some really big dogs. I'm sure I'm toting their smells. "
"Oh, he'll LOVE you. We have goats too" says this Tracy doppleganger.
There's a bond that comes when someone says they have goats. It's a goat-herder to goat-herder thing I guess, but goat lovers ~ we are who we are, so I smiled as I cut this Tracy-looking girl a knowing look.
And with that I stuck my hand down and Carlos shook it. And then he kissed it. And then he reached up with both arms and whatever crap was happening in my day went down the drain, after all, I had won the approval and heart of a monkey.
And Carlos, in this instant, won my heart right back and changed the entire mood and outlook of my day.
I know we are to look for God is in every living thing. But that God can show up as a monkey in a doctor's office in just the right moment...Well, may I just say ...much as I love my little red bird, a monkey in the moment ... is even better!