Mercury Retrograde

I’m not a real big follower of astrology and horoscopes and all that. Yeah, sometimes I’ll listen to the readings of my signs (both my sun sign and my rising sign) when they’re on the radio and think, “Oh, that’s cute…”

I don’t follow the cycle of the planets and plan out my day accordingly, either. I know some people go way out and map out their days and the decisions they’ll make (or not make) because Saturn is in alignment with Mars, or whatever. But one thing that I’ll occasionally pay attention to is when Mercury goes Retrograde.

[NOTE: Simplistically, this is a phenomena one sees in the sky when looking at the movement of the planets. They tend to move in a certain direction, and at certain times of the year, the planets will appear to slow down, stop, then move in the opposite direction. This is known as “retrograde.” After a short time, they’ll slow down again, stop, then move forward again – a process that is known as “direct.” It’s an optical illusion – the planets really aren’t moving in opposite directions, it just appears that way to our eye because of the rotation of the earth along with its circling the sun with the other planets.]

That said, Mercury “goes retrograde” about 3 times every year, and last for about 3 weeks time. According to astrology beliefs, during these times, all communication breaks down (Mercury, of course, being the Messenger of the Gods) – people end up playing telephone tag, more accidents on the road, Internet going down, telephones not working, misunderstandings between people, etc.

Again, let me state for the record, I don’t plan out my life according to these movements.

However, this current state of retrograde has been a total pain in the ass for some reason. Our cable box has been on the fritz off and on over the past 2 weeks, telephone problems at work, people claiming they didn’t get the email I sent them even though everyone else on the email list got it, and people just not hearing me when I’m telling them something.

One instance was dealing with a broken tooth.

I broke off a portion of a back tooth at lunch the other Friday. I immediately called my dentist’s office (at 2:30 in the afternoon) and got their voicemail that they were closed. (Closed? At 2:30 on a Friday afternoon? I want their hours!) So I left them a message: “This is the Curious Bloke. I broke a tooth. It’s not extremely painful, except for the sharp edge that’s cutting into my tongue. I have an appointment for a cleaning in a week, but would like to get this taken care of before then. Can someone please call me to set up a time to come in and get it fixed?”

Monday late morning, I received a voicemail from their office. “This is the dentist’s office calling. I’m sorry, but we don’t have any openings. If you’d like to make an appointment, please give us a call. Thank you.”

I called them back.

Curious Bloke: I can understand that you don’t have any openings, but this is a bit of an emergency. I broke a tooth that needs to be fixed.

Brainless Wonder: Well, we’re all booked up and can’t fit you in. I see you have an appointment next week for a cleaning. When you come in for that, we can have the doctor take a look at it then after the cleaning.”

Curious Bloke: Um… No… I have a broken tooth. I would like to get that fixed before I have a cleaning.

Brainless Wonder: Well, we’re all booked up.

Curious Bloke: Well, let me put it this way: When is your next available to see the doctor?

<Long pause>

Brainless Wonder: Well, I have an opening this Friday at 10:00 am. I can have the doctor take a look at it then.

Curious Bloke: Good. Then I’ll see you this Friday at 10:00 am.

I made arrangements to go into work early that day, knowing that I would be at the dentist for about 2 hours, so I wouldn’t have to lost any time. When I got there ON TIME, I was made to wait for 20 minutes until I was taken into a room, where I sat for another 10 minutes waiting for the doctor to see me. Eventually, they took an x-ray, and then I waited another 10 minutes until the doctor walked in.

Doctor: I’m sorry. We’re just so busy. I’m sorry you had to wait. I looked at your x-ray and I can’t do anything about it today. I’m the only doctor here and have to see all these patients by myself because the other doctor is on vacation. Why don’t you schedule with me next week to fix it. I have an opening next week Wednesday.

Wait. What?

You mean I had to waste an entire hour of my day, and screw up my work schedule and those of my bosses for nothing? I was NOT pleased. I mean, if the scheduling gods saw that the other doctor was on vacation, and the schedule was full, why in the hell was I put in there in the first place? Why didn’t they just call me and say, “Look, we’re overbooked. Why don’t we re-schedule you for a time so you don’t waste your time coming in for nothing?”

This is a problem I find with a lot of those in the medical field (thankfully, most of my doctors are not like this). They feel that my time is worthless, while theirs is golden – some dentists in the past have cancelled my appointment because I was 15 minutes late getting there because I was stuck in traffic behind an accident on the highway!

But I held my tongue. This was the first time it happened with this dentist. So I made sure I was on the calendar for Wednesday at 8:30 am and showed up 5 minutes early. I was quickly ushered into the room, was seen by the doctor within about 2 minutes, and was out the door in a total of about 20 minutes with a fix.

All I could do was scratch my head and think about Mercury Retrograde.

Well played, Mercury. Well played.