In my quest to assign stories for the magazine after next, I have been trying to get in touch with a doctor in
And his email kept bouncing.
So this morning I got up extra early, dialed up the PR department of the university where he’s a lecturer, and explained my problem. The very solicitous (I don’t think non-solicitous people are permitted to answer the phone in
Yes, it was only 5:15 a.m.—but still, that was the best line I’d heard all day.
Probably I’ll have to put her on speed-dial, so the next time I:
- sprain my ankle
- damage my personal property through general clumsiness
- lose my checkbook
- get frustrated with my finalfinalREALLYfinal re-write of my MG fantasy
- fill in the blank
I can phone her up and tell her how much joy I am not having.
Actually, I would have liked to call her the other day—the day I got the doctor’s name in the first place. A researcher I had always thought of as kind and easy to work with happened to be in the office for the week, and I told him on Monday that I needed to speak with him about the magazine.
Thursday I spotted him in the hallway and hurried over, hovering discreetly—discreetly, I say—while he was finishing a conversation with someone else. When he glanced at me I smiled brilliantly (like those Orbit gum commercials. I’m pretty sure someone tinged a triangle as I did it). And he backed away—backed away—from me and said, “All week, it’s been like having a red-headed vulture hanging around. Just waiting.”
I had a lot of counterarguments to that one.
- While I am so, so not a vegetarian, I have never once lingered around a sick person (or other life form) waiting for it to keel over so I could dig in. Which, if “The Jungle Book” teaches us anything, is exactly what vultures do.
- I enjoy singing, but almost certainly do not have the harmonic experience necessary to do barbershop successfully (“Jungle Book” again).
- I bear virtually no resemblance to any avian, perhaps particularly vultures, given my proportionately-sized nose and lack of wings. Or claws. Or non-airplane-related flying ability.
- In all honesty, I had spent not one single second “hanging around” this guy. I greeted him in the hallway a couple of times. I just don’t think that qualifies.
- How can a sterling quality like persistence be compared to such an unpopular animal as a vulture? What about “hanging around like a trapeze artist?” Or “hanging around like a silky pashmina draped across the back of a wicker chair?” I mean, there are a lot of different directions he could have taken that simile. And pretty much any one of them would have been much more complimentary.
- But he is not British, and so perhaps I should cut him some slack in the Solicitousness Dept.
- I definitely had no joy of being the object of such a comparison. But hey—if this Scottish doctor takes on the assignment… I may just forgive that goofy researcher. (But not forget. That’s what blogs are for: keep the memory alive, baby!)