Well, dammed if I didn’t have a big day ahead of me at Messieurs Kaiser. And just to be clear, I refer to the Western American healthcare provider, fully named Kaiser Permanente in honor of a German despot who promised to forever rule Mexico in the mid-nineteenth century. Either that, or it was named for Henry Kaiser, World War II shipbuilding magnate, who discovered that his workers needed healthcare and liked the name of Permanente Creek running by his cement plant in Cupertino, California.
And, yes, I digress, but do I? Thing is, I’m quite delighted with Kaiser. Even more after today. So let me cut to the chase and explain that I had to accomplish several things today at the Kaiser health care tower on the eastern side of the newest bit of San Francisco. Which is all modern towers with parks and plazas in between. First off, I had a chest x-ray. Routine in my case. Though nothing is routine at age 72. Including breathing, mine being under study these days at my own request. Just thought someone should have a look at my long-paralyzed quadriplegic chest. And someone did. Mind you, getting x-rays of anyone who is mostly in a wheelchair and stands only in certain positions, not necessarily clinically photogenic ones…well, it is fraught. The x-ray technician and I improvised our way around all this. And then I was out the door and onto mission number two: new glasses.
I collected them, got them adjusted, then hurtled onto mission three: flu shot. Followed by even a fourth, picking up a prescription hayfever remedy at Kaiser’s pharmacy. Note that I kept track of all four events as though they were, well, events. This is what passes for activity in the life of a retired old guy. And the point? All this got done in about 45 minutes.
My wait for the 55 Muni bus? Approximately 45 seconds. You get the picture, this was a high-efficiency day. However, I was beginning to flag by the time I got to Mission Street, a major juncture in my transit journey. As I was waiting to board the Muni 14R a guy holding a small dog said hello. Hi, I said, recognizing him. He was one of the people I saw just last week at the homeless center a few streets away. The man turned to his friend and said “he volunteers at St. John’s.” See you soon, I told him as the Muni bus lift descended. An excellent experience all around. Urban life normalized. The impoverished greeted with hello. The masses massing for mass transit. Democracy.