Kvetch in the City - On a Scale of One to Ten


Last year, as in many years prior, I made a concerted effort to start the secular New Year off with at least an attempt at resolutions. There’s always the required resolution of losing weight. Last year, I believe I actually made a resolution to not complain so much. What was I thinking? Jokes on me for that one.

This year I decided, why even bother trying to stop complaining, there’s just been way too much to complain about.

Speaking of which…

I began to notice with every doctor visit this past year, and there seemed to be way too many, the first thing they seem to ask when I came in with my physical complaint, was, “On a scale of one to ten, what is your pain level?” No matter what the ailment, I noticed my answer was always, not too high, around 3 or 4. Upon examination, the doctor would usually reply, “You must have a high tolerance for pain.” I heard that so many times in the past year, it made me stop and think, “Am I numb to pain? Do I not feel pain?”

Somewhere along the way, it occurred to me, I think they’ve been asking me the wrong question. It’s not that I don’t feel pain. It’s just that what others may categorize as pain I tend to think of as annoyance. Therefore, I think the question best suited for me to answer would be, “On a scale of one to ten, how annoyed are you right now?”

That my friend, I can answer with a straight 10 almost every time! Let me start off by stating the fact that I’m annoyed to be in the doctors office in the first place. That is so annoying. Having something…or make that…anything wrong with me, is extremely annoying.

And then there’s that question itself. Why do they even have to begin the question with…”On a scale…” How annoying is that? First of all, the word scale is triggering for me. I have never once in my life been happy with the word scale, the number on an actual scale. or having to even step on a scale in the first place. Well, maybe once in my life, after my divorce when I lost 16 pounds without actually trying. Divorce turned out to be a good diet. At least something good came out of it. Less I digress, what woman, does not have some sort of trepidation and/or repulsiveness about stepping on a scale?

The first, terribly annoying thing the doctor’s nurse makes you do the minute they take you back from the waiting room is to ask you to step on a scale, with your coat and shoes on no less. Nope. Not happening. I flat out tell them no. I tell them my weight from my last Weight Watchers meeting minus the 2 lb allotment for clothes and shoes. Not one nurse has ever challenged me on that. I think my screaming No! may scare them. All that to say, inevitably, too add insult to actual injury, the minute I walk into the doctor’s office, I’m annoyed.

Basically, I’m annoyed at almost everything anyway, if I’m going to be honest. I hate to admit it, however, more often than not, most people annoy me, the fact that I’m getting old really annoys me (and please don’t say, sure beats the alternative…that annoys me too.) Politics completely annoys me, the state of the world, well that scares me, so I’ll leave that one alone for now. The way most people dress, that annoys me. Calling any service complaint to Comcast and diving into that Matrix is off the richter scale as far as getting annoyed and wanting to throw the phone against the wall. I can go on and on about life’s daily annoyances, I think you get the idea.

The funny thing is though, I’m not miserable. There are actually multiple people I like, several I love, and I enjoy being alive almost all the time. Apparently I have discovered, as my therapist might say, there is room to hold both things at the same time.

So while it may appear, to my doctors and many others who have told me I seem to have a high threshold for pain, I would argue, they are mistaking pain for annoyance, for which I apparently have no threshold.

So this year, if anyone dares to ask me what my New Year’s resolution is, I may retort, just for the fun of it, “On a scale of one to ten, how annoyed would you be if I choose not to answer that question this year?”



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