Yesterday, a woman from the cardiologist's office called to remind me that I have an appointment next Tuesday -- a fact I had already written down on the calendar but had largely ignored or perhaps blocked out. It wasn't the 'mortality' thing that caused the blockage -- I'm pretty much in tune with the doctor component of getting old -- but rather the fact that I don't much like or trust the doctor I see and I have avoided the effort and diplomacy necessary to finding a different guy.
My problem with the current man is his expertise. He is -- or I sense that he thinks he is -- an expert. As Shunryu Suzuki once observed more or less, in the beginner's mind, the possibilities are endless; in the expert's mind the possibilities are few. There is a difference between being an expert and knowing you are an expert. This guy knows -- or acts as if he knows -- he is an expert. He reminds me of the 18th century French doctor who, in the age of reason, dissected a corpse and announced to the world with an expert's delight that he had not found anything resembling a soul. In an age reacting to a credulous past, I can sympathize with the announcement and delight. But there is something to be said for getting past our own expert abilities.
Not that expert abilities aren't wonderful. I would hate to go to a car mechanic and ask him to tend to my heart or any other organ. But for an expert of all people, the imperative to move on -- to get wider and more open -- strikes me as, well, imperative. How else can you BE an expert?
Oh well, perhaps on Tuesday I can ask for future visits to be with someone who does not know so much and therefore knows more. Just because you can't find a soul doesn't necessarily mean it's not there.