So I'm heading to Planned Parenthood for my meeting with the doctor regarding hormones and I'm in the elvevator and I see that the button panel has five buttons, and I think, that's weird, I thought this place had four floors. So like a dumbass I push the button for the fifth floor, and I get out of the elevator and the hall has one of those fluorescent track lights that's dying, you know, the ones that flicker just in the right way to give you a headache. So I turn around and the elevator is in the process of disappearing, like right that instant the drywall is growing over the space where the elevator was, and I swear the thing laughs at me robotically as I push the down button.
I give up and turn around, hoping that there's something helpful through the one door on the entire floor, and when I open the door I see a waiting room absolutely full of people. Women with their friends, their boyfriends, their girlfriends, their mothers, but nobody's saying anything, and nobody's getting called. The place is lit by one flickering track light. Out the windows the sky is full of dark clouds and lightning.
The receptionist has a scowl on her face, and she beckons me over. Asks my name and insurance information. I tell her I'm on Medicare. They don't accept Medicare. What kind of Planned Parenthood doesn't accept Medicare? This one, I guess. Looks like I'm paying for this one out of pocket. I'm here for hormone consultation but who knows what I'm actually getting out of this visit. but whatever I get out of it, it better be good, because the receptionist makes me pay entirely in quarters.
I'm planning to chill a bit in the waiting room, chat with the poor folks stuck there for probably hours, maybe give them some words of cheer, when the door immediately bangs open and they call my name. Jeezits, this place doesn't cut me any slack. The doctor hustles me in before I can protest and steers me into a room with one hanging incandescent bulb swinging slowly. So, says the doctor, from the shadows. You're here because you think you're a -- and I cut him off and say look, doc, all I can tell you is that I'm an experience, and I came around here hoping you'd just give me the warnings and let me sign off on them, and then give me my damn hormones, but it sounds like you want to be difficult. You're being difficult to all those people waiting for you. What's up with that? And the doctor says that he's the only doctor because the state cut the funding for Planned Parenthood to nothing, and the hormones he wants to give me have nothing to do with what I came here for; he wants me to become a giant green monster that will raze the capitol building and eat all the state senators. And I say, fine, but if I don't get to be female giant green monster then I'm going to eat you first. And the doctor says fair enough. And I tell him that unless he treats a couple of the folks who came in before me then the deal's off. And he says he's got these other hormones that will turn me into a competent OB/GYN. And I ask him, why didn't you take them. And he says he did, which is the only reason this place is still running.
So it's us two for a while, slowly making our way through everyone in the waiting room, and yet there are always more people coming in, with this yeast infection or that birth control complication, and I ask doc, why are there so many of these people, I've never seen a Planned Parenthood this busy, and he says, this place is literally the only Planned Parenthood still operating in the state after the government cut the budget.
And so we beat on, us against the troubles of the world, until I'm dead on my feet, and then slowly sinking to the floor. I have no idea what time it is; the power went out for a few minutes a while back and ruined all the digital clocks and nobody's bothered to reset them, and anyway the storm has never let up. At a certain point I find mysef sitting in a chair putting my head on the table.
And when I awake, I am in the waiting room of Planned Parenthood, with few people around me, and sunlight streams through the windows.
On the table in front of me is a newspaper with the headline "State senate may force Planned Parenthood to close."
And the bottle of green pills is in my hand.