Monday, November 30, 2009

Suburbs of Our Discontent

I’ve been trying to get my kids H1N1 shots for the last three weeks. Our pediatric practice receives the shots in random, unpredictable shipments, and there’s never enough to go around. As instructed, I've been calling the office regularly, hoping to catch them at a good time. Like when they’re ripping open a big fresh box of those things.

So far, I’ve had very little success. You can hear in the receptionist’s voice that she's fielded about one million calls from anxious parents and can no longer tolerate any human emotion related to the flu vaccine. The last time she gave me her usual “No shots. Nope. NONE!” I considered screaming hysterically. Instead, I just violently pressed the “End Call” button.

I did manage to get an appointment for one kid (the one with the "pre-existing condition”). At that visit the pediatrician told me, shaking her head in disbelief, that people were getting so crazy that they were actually yelling at the receptionists. “Oh my goodness . . . really?” I asked, all innocent.

Angry Mothers are not appealing people. I mean, there’s a reason why we didn’t include Titus Andronicus’s Bad Mommy Tamora in our What Kind of Shakespearean Mom are YOU? quiz. But sometimes it's necessary to deploy the "crazed mother" approach. It can really open doors when it comes to customer service and childcare professionals.

Tamora is scary for a lot of reasons, but she didn't start out that way, and in some ways she's not so different from the rest of us frazzled, overworked mommies. Hers is the story of an Angry Mother Gone Too Far. She's an Everymother who may have started out screaming at an innocent receptionist to protect her children, but who ended up . . . well, no need to get into the gory details. It's easy to say she's bad to the bone (conspiracy, murder, etc., etc.). But on days when I'm just trying to do what's right by my kids, I see her as a mommy who's just lost the ability to self-regulate.

Here's the most crucial takeaway from Titus Andronicus: Don't mess with an angry mother. You never know how little it takes to nudge her over the edge.

No comments:

Post a Comment