This morning’s adventure is at a nearby zip-line facilty called Acro-branch…a place where children and some adults can attach themselves to a zip-line and fly from tree to tree. What a great way to burn energy and adrenaline. The boys jump off the platforms without much fear, while the girls tend to make sure their carabiners are well secured before taking the leap. This explains why men don’t live as long as women do. But not much can go wrong since they have to always have at least one carabiner attached to a wire or a clip otherwise the other one won’t unlock.
A quick lunch later and we’re off to a swim in the “municipal lake’ in Digne-les-bains. This is a man-made lake with a rocky shore and crisp, spring-fed water. It’s another hot day (we have yet to see rain in France) and the kids love it. I’d love it too, if I was there. Instead, I have a minor infection and I know I’ll need antibiotics before long. So I get instructions for a nearby doctor — a quick call reveals he won’t be busy this afternoon. That turns out to be an understatement.
I arrive around 4 pm to a non-descript office in a small strip mall. Inside are some chairs lining the wall and four green doors. I am alone here. The door on the far right has a business card taped to the door. Something about a nurse for hire. It’s locked. The second door from the right has a few posters on it, another business card from a psychologist. I try the handle and it too is locked. The third door says “WC” and it opens to, as expected, the wash closet. The last door on the far left has a poster showing stages of growth for children. It yields when I turn the handle and I realize I seem to have opened the door to someone’s office. A large bearded man bolts up from his seat and charges at the door yelling, in French, “What are you doing? Sir, you are in a waiting room. When in a waiting room, one must wait. Now get out of here. Now. I’ve had enough of this horrible rudeness!” and slams the door in my face.
Uhmmm. Not sure what I just witnessed, I sit back down wondering if he told me to get out of his office, or out of town. Needing the meds more than my pride, I sit. Moments pass, an elderly woman enters and sits opposite me. She obviously knows not to open the door. Eventually, the door opens and the doctor emerges. He looks at some papers first, looks at the woman and smiles, then looks at me with disdain. “You. You don’t knock before entering a room? You have no manners where you come from?” he says in a booming voice. The woman appears afraid. “Uh, ” I stammer, “Well, in Canada, we have receptionists who handle…”
He turns his back, “This isn’t Canada…” and motions me in. After several apologies for my “rudeness”, he warms a bit, asks questions, writes me an Rx then prints out a bill. Cash or cheque? When I leave I notice the woman is gone. Probably figured the doc is having a bad day.