Today I Met Beatrice

Earlier today, I had to go get blood drawn for a test my doctor ordered. When I arrived at the phlebotomy clinic, they had instituted a new computerized check-in system, and I was the youngest patient in the waiting room by about four decades. (Not an exaggeration.) So I helped my fellow patients with the confounded machine to get them checked in.

A woman who was a doppelgänger for June Squibb was the first to ask me for my assistance. "Young lady," she said (I have not been called "young lady" in many years), "would you mind helping me?"

"Of course I will!" I said, and hopped up to stand at her side while I walked her through the process.

She turned to me with a raised eyebrow. "I'm 80 years old — what the fuck do they expect?"

Y'all know me well enough to know how much I loved that. After I'd helped Harvey, who told me I was younger than his flip phone, Beatrice and I sat down beside each other. We chatted amiably as we waited. The computers were down, so all of us with appointments started piling up in the waiting room. Finally, I was called in. I said bye and disappeared into the back.

It was a wait there, too, and soon Beatrice had joined me. We were sitting in chairs kitty corner from one another. "I'm following you!" she laughed. "Fancy meeting you here!" I told her.

We got to talking about our dogs, as people with dogs do. She told me: "Two of my dogs and my husband all died around the same time a few years back. I miss the dogs."

Beatrice is a proper character.

I told her about another Beatrice I knew, "but she is called Betty." She said, "I'm called Bea."

"Like Bea Arthur!" I said.

"Yeah," she said, "or like BITCH! Depends on what day you catch me."

At this point, I should probably mention that I was wearing a bright purple t-shirt that says "FEMINIST: The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes." When I put it on this morning, Iain asked me, "Hey, do you happen to know what 'feminist' means?" I pointed at my shirt. He laughed. "I figure if dudes are going to stare here anyway, I might as well educate them," I said. "High-value advertising real estate," he replied.

Iain is a proper character, too.

Anyway, I told Bea the Bitch, "I get that sometimes myself." With a laugh. She laughed, too; she already knew that.

"My daughter would tell me to stop talking right now," she said.

"I think women are told to shut up way too much, so keep talking!" I told her.

She exclaimed, "YES! You and I would get along just fine!"

And so we did, until the phlebotomist came to take my blood and then Bea's. Once I was done, I went on my way with a wave and a smile. "Goodbye, Beatrice!" I told her.

"Bye now!" she chirped, then turned her attentions to giving the phlebotomist the razzmatazz.

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