Part 2 – As the Radius Shrinks
The next places we visit are only seen from the safety of the car: Two blocks from Arby’s on the left is a prefab medical office park that used to be a cornfield. Mom points, “that’s where my doctor is,” and I nod, trying to stay awake in the overheated car. Wow, what an adventure to see the outside of some doctor’s office on a blustery winter’s day. About a half mile down the same street and on the right side of it is another indication to look and I’ll get a view of my mom’s dentist’s office in an even newer building. Oh, yippie, this afternoon is shaping up into a giant thrill-o-rama.
But the crème de la crème of the medical professionals that mom regularly visits is the place that houses loads and loads of ‘em – The Hospital. That four-story building is where mom spent several unhappy hours getting various medical ailments treated. Naturally, the hospital is in the midst of a massive remodeling/building project so more people like my mom will be able to undergo expensive procedures. “Oh, and I have another doctor back in there…a heart specialist” she nods her head to the right as if I can figure out which medical module it is as the area for several blocks is blooming with medical facilities or shiny new subdivisions. It had been farmland. I used to ride my bike down those quiet country roads in the warmer weather. She mentions something about an eye doctor but he’s actually in another region that is even closer to home…
The final stop on Mom’s Hangout Trail is the public library. I’m to meet her reference librarian friend and get my own library card. Once inside the library I’m the designated book returner and mom heads to the reference desk to discover that her friend has the day off. Disappointed, she goes to the new books section and soon complains that she can’t find anything “good” to read. A kid being wheeled in a stroller by an obese young mother captures mom’s attention while I stare in amazement at the igloo shaped parent in a red jacket that’s too small to close all the way.
Finally, she finds a couple of mysteries and a contemporary novel written by a recent college graduate looking suspiciously like chick lit, and some large type books that are deemed my responsibility to carry back to the car. She admitted that ever since resorting to wearing trifocals she prefers books with larger type. “I even read all the Harry Potter books,” she confesses.
To me, this is a depressing way to end the “jaunt” as it shows how narrow this once adventurous traveler has allowed her world to shrink. She’d traveled up the Norwegian coastline on a cruise ship and throughout most of Scandinavia. A few years later she flew down to Mazatlan, Mexico in the post Christmas season. In the 1990s she had taken the train to Denver and rented a car to see the Rockies. Now her existence was minimized to a 5-mile radius. Even the other side of town, that fancy east side, was deemed too far away.