Polite People | Contributor: Ed

Role: Community Member

“I had no credentials, no money, no connections.”

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Years ago,
I remember walking up a flight of stairs in the Mission District with hope in my heart,
That the doctor, and the doctor’s office at the top of the stairs,
Would be able to cure the pain in my right foot
That I had been suffering for years
In the deep smart part of me, though, I knew
That I would fail

I had no credentials, no money, no connections
Without these three things, you cease to exist
As a human being in the human world
But I was not going to let this fact defeat me without a fight
So I continued climbing up those stairs until I reached the top
And an overly polite receptionist took my name and told me to have a seat,
And wait for the doctor
Soon, the doctor, a young woman, invited me into her office.
And when I told her my problems, she smiled
Then she said she didn’t know what could be wrong
Then she smiled again
I explained further, and she smiled some more and said, “Well, I don’t know”
Then she left the room with a smile
We hadn’t really said goodbye, so I just sat there waiting for her to return
Of course, after a while I caught on and felt silly; she was never going to return
It was embarrassing
Plus, the woman wasn’t really a doctor;
She was a symbol
Her job, at that moment, in the universe,
Was to symbolize for me
The nice people in the world turning their back on people like me
In a very nice way
So, basically, the doctor that day for me
Symbolized my future
So, I finally caught on
I got up from where I was sitting on the examination table
And decided I had been rejected, and had better leave now
But, then I remembered that they probably expected me to pay cash on the way out from my visit
And since I was broke and really didn’t think that my being rejected was worth paying money for,
I slowly snuck down the flight of stairs and hit the street
I felt tremendous relief to be out of that office
I looked at my situation in this way:
Dealing with physical pain is far easier than being at the mercy of
Polite people, in a loveless world,
Who just want you to go away with a smile, and not bother them anymore
So, I went home alone and got drunk