Friday, March 8, 2013

D as in "Dog"

A travel insurer sent me to Koreatown, an older area of Los Angeles, home to a mixture of Koreans and Hispanics. It’s a colorful neighborhood, and like all colorful neighborhoods, parking is a chore. I found a spot several blocks away from the apartment.

Travel insurance patients are subletting or visiting friends, so searching the directory near the locked entrance never reveals their name. Phoning her number, I heard a voicemail message. That was not bad news because insurance services pay for no-shows, but I had to make an effort. I phoned the agency to explain. The dispatcher urged me to wait while she tried to contact the client. I waited. After five minutes, a resident entered the building; I followed and knocked on apartment 1D. The lady who answered denied that anyone needed a doctor.

After another ten minutes, I decided I’d done my duty and returned to my car. My phone rang as I arrived.

The client was taking a shower, said the dispatcher. She was now ready to receive me. I recounted my experience at apartment 1D, but 1B turned out to be the correct number. In my defense, during the original call I confirmed that the patient was in 1D as in “dog.” But English was not the first language for both guest and dispatcher.

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