Riding in Car Services With Boys

me basicallyYesterday morning my family and I found ourselves 40 minutes deep into Brooklyn — Midwood, people! — for an appointment with an audiologist. I blame our socialist healthcare, which ironically doesn’t even go into effect until August 1st, but I didn’t know this when we got our referral. So there we were on the corner of Ocean Parkway and Avenue P, sitting in the back of a car service because we made some very impractical promise to ourselves not to take the baby on the subway until he got his two-month vaccinations.

The doctor’s office we were aiming for turned out to actually be not where we were dropped off, but a roughly 20-minute walk away (thanks, Google Maps!). Luckily we had the baby in a carseat with no stroller or carrier, and it was approximately 90 degrees. A recipe for relationship success right there. About to find out if your child is hearing impaired? Definitely recommend getting no sleep the night before then go for a 20-minute walk in the sun carrying a baby in a carseat. Then, once you get there, realize you forgot to memorize your baby’s social security number and are therefore a terrible parent. Despite this, find out your child’s insurance kicks in August 1st so you will be paying out-of-pocket to find out two weeks too soon that your kid’s hearing is perfectly fine.

Thankfully it was only (only?) $75 and we put it on our (shared!) debit card.

Anyway at the end of our first of two car trips, we unbuckled and I said the magic words:

“So how much do we owe you?”

He said something like, “What do you want to pay?”

This did not register with us, partially because his English was a little accented but mostly because we had somehow traveled outside the boundaries of capitalism as we knew it.


“What is right? What do you want to pay?”

“Excuse me?”

“How much do you think is right? What did you think it would be? 30? How is 30?”

“Oh! Oh! Yes, 30 is great. Thank you!!”

We could have said, “Well, nothing???” but we couldn’t think fast on our feet. Should we have haggled? $20 would have been great. Why did he say this? Was he asking us what we were quoted when we called to order the car? It was very baffling, especially on no sleep.

We gave him $36 and got out of the car. He drove away while we squinted at the addresses of a bunch of brick houses with little front years. We walked up to one and read out a bunch of last names next to buzzers. No doctors, no offices. My phone had no service. And by that I mean, “I DON’T KNOW! MY PHONE ISN’T WORKING! I HAVE NO SERVICE! I DON’T KNOW! YOU CALL!”

On the car ride back, our driver called in where we were going to his office and they told him to charge us $32. It was two dollars more but to be fair we were much further away from our home this time. I gave him $40, leftover from the $100 bill my grandma sent the kid. I asked Dustin if I should tell Gram we spent the $100 on a bag of diapers and two car rides to doctor’s appointments. He did not have an opinion. We agreed the trip was hell but we would pay $151 all over again to find out our child could hear in his right ear.

I mean, he could have just passed the damn test the first five times he took it, but what are you gonna do? Abandon your family and move to Paris? I have no idea why you brought that up and definitely did not fantasize about that the entire 20-minute walk to the doctor’s office.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons



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