Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Shayne's Day #68: The one with the computer nemesis

Last Tuesday was, from start to finish, a day to remember. It all started two weeks ago when I went to the doctor with a bad chest infection. When I was there, I discovered that, in order to receive free national healthcare, we needed to be registered with our local GP (for those of you lost like I was, that's a General Practitioner). So, I paid out of pocket and the receptionist, Deborah, scheduled me for an appointment to come back and get registered. I wrote down the appointment time for 10AM on the following Tuesday and she gave me an appointment card.

Ok, so flash forward to earlier this week. On Monday, I realized the appointment card said that my appointment was at 10:50AM. I called Deborah and she said that in their books my appointment was scheduled at 10:50, but in fact 10 worked better. She said she would change it and I should come the following day at 10. Perfect! I walked through the doors at 10AM on the dot, checked in, and was informed by Deborah that my appointment was not until 10:50. I took a minute to gather myself and realized that I should have seen this coming.
I said, "Well, I spoke to you yesterday and you told me to come at 10."
Deborah responded, "Oh right! Well, I must have forgotten to change it, so you will have to wait."

Not wanting to cause a fuss, I took a seat and got out my book.
Sidenote: I have learned to NEVER leave home without my book. Whether on a tube, a bus, or in a doctors office - I find myself waiting A LOT!

So, there I sat in the lobby right in front of my new friend Deborah. I read for a bit, did some people watching, read a bit more, then I noticed a computer against the wall. The screen was flashing, "Enter your name." I went back up to Deborah and asked, "Was I supposed to sign in on that computer?" She said no, that the computer was used for something else and told me to wait. An HOUR later, Deborah called me to the desk.
DRUMROLL PLEASE.....this is where it gets good!

I walked up to the desk and was told to go over to the computer against the wall, follow the prompts, and answer the questions. Mind you, this computer had sat VACANT for the entire hour I was in the lobby. I walked over, filled out my name, pushed enter, and entered the following information:
1. Male or Female?
2. Birthday
3. Height
4. Weight
5. Does cancer run in your family?
6. Does heart disease run in your family?
7. Do you have any food allergies?
8. Have you had surgery recently?
After a total of 82 seconds on the computer, I was prompted to 'submit' my responses and see the receptionist. I walked back over to my BFF, Deborah, and let her know I was done.
She said, "Oh, ok great! Now we can make an appointment for you to see the doctor."

I needed to take another second to gather myself.
I said, "I thought this WAS my appointment."
She explained, "Today was just the computer portion of your registration. We need to let them process and then you can come back next week for your actual wellness check."

Going through my mind was:
* "I just waited FOR AN HOUR to answer 8 questions on a computer that has been EMPTY since I arrived!"

But instead, I calmly asked, "Deborah, why would you have me wait for an hour to do those 8 questions?"
She responded, "Well, you needed to wait until I had a minute to push the start button."
Again....gathered oneself.
Then I asked, "Deborah, why can't I see a doctor today?"
Deborah explained that I needed to wait for the computer answers to process.
I asked how long that would take and Deborah responded with, "There is no way of knowing." Gather self...gather self...gather self!
I left the doctor's office just absolutely laughing in frustration. We are far enough into our blog for you to laugh along with me. "REALLY!?!"

After the doctor's office I needed a reminder about why I loved London. I headed over to the Tate: Britain and, sure enough, found myself in love with this city once again. This museum is a branch of the Tate Modern, but houses art from many different eras.

Here were my museum highlights:
1. Walking into the first gallery to find a wall-sized work done in pencil script. As I got closer and started reading, I realized it was the entire screenplay of 'Top Gun' (TOP GUN!!!) written in pencil. I made sure to find my top 3 favorite scenes (click on these: one, two, three) and took lots of photos. I knew that most people wouldn't believe me when I told them about this!

2. Randomly entering a gallery just as an 'art talk' was starting. It was about the piece, 'Merry-Go-Round,' by Mark Gertler. It was free, lasted 45 minutes, and was awesome!

3. Heading into an installation piece called 'Coral Reef,' by Mike Nelson. At first I thought I had made a wrong turn on my way into the exhibit because it felt more like a haunted house than fine art. I am not kidding: creaky doors, holes in the walls, and dark corridors. At one point I entered a room to find a clown mask and machete gun on a counter. I kept telling myself, "If someone was going to jump out with a chain saw, they would have HAD to tell me prior to going in."
I have only ever been inside three haunted houses. The first was when I was a kid and I BEGGED to go. I ended up convulsing in tears and threw up at the exit. The second was at Six Flags Magic Mountain with Suzanne, Chase, Eric, Joey, and Amanda. They convinced me to go in and I spent the entire time clinging to Joey with closed eyes. When I opened my eyes at the end and saw one of the gory dead guys, I peed. My last and final attempt was in the auditorium of my high school. Again, the same friends convinced me to go and I told myself that I knew all of the people inside and that the proceeds were going to a good cause. When Matt (my friend mind you) came at me with a fake chain saw at the end, I shoved him to the ground, flew out the exit and toppled face first into the street. With blood gushing from my knees, I knew that would be my last time inside of a haunted house. The closest thing I have come to going inside of another one was at Six Flags (what is it with that place!) last year with Jake and his family. His little brother wanted to go inside the haunted house and I explained that I would just wait outside. Jake said, "You can do it, I'm right here!" I explained to him that he didn't understand and that I do not do haunted houses. Out on the street just outside of the attraction (where I THOUGHT I was safe) a bloody clown with an axe approached us. I began clawing at Jake's neck, buried my face inside of shirt, and started absolutely screaming. Jake said, "Ok, well now I get it!"
So, needless to say, this art installation at the Tate: Britain was not for me. I put on my brave face, snapped some super quick photos, and got the heck out. When I was reading about the exhibit after I left, I learned that the artist was trying to convey the terrifying experience that 'forgotten people' have in prisons and POW camps. Loneliness - achieved. Fear - achieved. Suicide - considered. Artist - successful.

I came home after the museum in a hurry since I had a skype date with my mom. I got to our flat JUST in time and found myself locked out. After the doctor's computer of doom and my Rocky Horror museum adventure, this was the end to a PERFECT day :)

Lessons Learned: 1) If you need to sign up for free health care in the UK, you should take a week off of work, 2. Just because the sign says 'museum' does not mean you aren't walking into a scene from 'Night of the Living Dead,' 3. When you leave the house, bring your keys. Thank you to my knight in shining armor who came to save the day!

* Wall sized 'Top Gun' screenplay

* 'Top Gun' close up

* The haunted museum

* Cool installation with a giant chandelier that's bulbs flashed the morse code

1 comment:

  1. OK..3 thoughts...I assume that guns are not legal in London, because stateside that receptionist would probably be harmed. secondly, i am so proud of you and Jake for not harming some of these folks yourself and learning to laugh it off!! lastly who in their right mind finds anything fun about Haunted Houses...Shayne wonder where you got your fear of these stupid things!! no offense to any friend or family member that enjoys a good scare!! love ya all!!