Tuesday, June 21, 2011

`Not Even His Own Homelessness Was at Home'

A morning in the company of “health-care professionals.” At 7 a.m., to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup. The hygienist is chatty and wants to know about Houston. “Don’t they have hurricanes there?” My mouth is full of polishers, spritzers, suction tubes and those metal hooks useful dissecting walnuts. I’m not chatty.

Then to the doctor for the annual physical and its indignities, and prescription renewals. The doctor is new to me, the only male in the practice, and suffers from CHD (chronic humor deficit). Prognosis: hopeless.

My G.P. in Houston for four years has retired. He was elderly, precisely the reason I liked him. He was also chatty – “voluble” is a better word, but interestingly so, with tales of Texas and medical horror stories. His nephew has taken over the practice but he’s too young, almost my age. I find myself sympathizing with Will Barrett, the title character of the novel I was rereading in the waiting room –Walker Percy’s The Last Gentleman:

“The old itch for omniscience came upon him—lost as he was in his own potentiality, having come home to the South only to discover that not even his own homelessness was at home here.”

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