jeudi, avril 06, 2006

Ten Under

Much to my annoyance, every year we have to have a physical exam. I'm pretty sure this is a no-no in the US, but here, it's part of the mentality of your company and your government "taking care" of you. French people will admit that the state has a sort of "parental" role. It gives you milk money, asks you to check in when you change addresses, and monitors if you watch TV or not. (There is a TV tax. No lie. One more reason not to own one.)

My check-up was on Monday, and I knew it would be pretty routine : blood pressure check, vision test, etc. Everything went fine with the nurses, and then I had to have a brief visit with the doctor. She called me into her office. A rather stern woman with closely cropped blond hair, she asked me to sit down and asked how I was doing. Not realizing this was part of my health test, I gave the standard chirpy 'everything's fine' answer. If only I had known, I might have amused myself by making up psychoses.

"Well, everything was fine until I started to have sexual dreams about the janitor."

Or, "I often hear voices telling me, 'Shred that piece of paper! Shred everything in sight!"

Or, "Sometimes I get the overwhelming urge to re-organize my files in reverse alphabetical order."

But I'm proud to say, I resisted the temptation to mess with the company doctor.

She finished her questions and then asked me to get undressed. There is something ever so slightly incongruous about getting undressed in what looks like a normal office except for the paper-covered examing table. I tried to act like I was used to getting undressed in people's offices all the time, but maybe that wasn't the best impression to give her. Anyway, luckily, I happened to be wearing a bra and underwear that slightly matched. If you squinted, you might have even mistaken them for a set.

I stepped on the scale, having honestly no idea where it would land. I don't have a TV because it depresses me. I don't have a scale for the same reason. Plus, kilos still don't really mean all that much to me. I looked down at the number. She came over, looked, and then went back to my file.

"Two more kilos than last year!" she announced.

I shrugged and smiled dismissively. I thought if I didn't care, she wouldn't. Plus, my underwear matched.

"And you have to lose them because you're right at the limit for your height," she pronounced.

I burst out laughing.

Fuck you, and have a nice day, I thought as I left.

I came back up to my floor and went to go see my friend.

"Well guess what," I said, "I'm supposedly 'right at the limit' in weight for my height."

"No," she said, "how tall are you?"

"Shit, in meters, I don't know."

"Because the rule is you should be ten under your height," she explained.

I gave her a blank look of incomprehension.

"For example, if you're 1 meter, 60 centimeters tall, you should weigh 50 kilos. If you're 1 meter 70 centimeters tall, you should weigh 60 kilos, and so on."

So everyone goes walking around with this information in their heads? This seems too even and neat to me. Too metric.

But if I want to be in line, if I want to be within the norm, if I want to fit neatly on the graph, I have a few kilos to lose.

Eh. I'll think about it tomorrow.

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