March 09, 2005

Lileks Must Be Stopped

In Today's Bleat Lileks waxes rhapsodic about mini-mall architecture and the buildings across the street from the crap coffee shop he's sitting in. One in particular that I've spent quite a bit of time visiting.

{...}Anyway, this is a first-ring burb that rose up around Southdale, the nation’s first enclosed shopping mall. The strip mall across the lot originally had that atomic-age appearance I love so much, but of course it was mauled by every subsequent decade, reformed according to whatever stunted idea infected the second-tier architectural firms of the era. Across the street, for example, there's a wretched office tower from the high point of the Age of White Shite; it has all the highlights of the genre, from the bright painted concrete, the accentuated mass on top, the big faux colonnade. It cannot be remodeled; it can only be demolished, and the site strewn with asbestos. (The architectural equivalent of sowing the land with salt.) If I could call down flaming rocks from the skies to bring it low, I would. It bothers me. It's the end of the sixties / start of the 70s incarnate. It looks like the building where Gene Rayburn would get a prostate exam. {...}

Ok, the white building he's talking about is where my wonderful dentist practices her trade.


My dentist is awesome! I love my dentist, and that's saying something, because I loathe having people put their hands in my mouth. I spent eight years in hell because the Holy Triumvirate of my hometown dentist, oral surgeon and orthodontist decreed when I was five that eight years of braces, teeth pulling and the like were needed to fix my mouth. I have a great smile now, but as you might understand, after all this, I hate going anywhere they fiddle with my teeth. But my dentist is cool. She didn't dismiss my issues. She paid attention to them and treated me accordingly. Hence I actually go to see her, instead of avoiding the task. No wonder she's recently been named one of the top 300 dentists in town. She's not only good at her job, but she's great at managing her office, as well.

Why do I make this claim? Well, we don't have dental insurance. For some reason, you can get reasonably priced health insurance if you're self-employed, but dental insurance is another story entirely. It's actually cheaper for me to pay her cash than it is to pay a premium to a dental insurer because, Ahem, she gives me a twenty-five percent discount if I write her a check when she's done cleaning my teeth. That's a better deal than what she has negotiated with the insurers she deals with. She doesn't have to bill an insurer and then have to fight the powers that be to get her money. She's getting her cold hard cash, right there and then, and she rewards me for it. What, in part, allows her to give me this generous discount? Why, the fact she's in an ugly building where the rent is most likely cheaper than in some newfangled, late to mid-90's aesthetically hellish, cookie-cutter building down the road.

Sure the building is godawful. But I go in the back, where the parking is, as do the other patients. We never see the front unless we're driving by. Hence, what the hell does it matter if the building is ugly? We get reasonably priced health-care because the building is ugly. Which is more important, my friend? Aesthetics or the fact that I'm actually going to the dentist because I can afford to go there when both the husband and I are self-employed and dental insurance isn't an option?

Get your priorities in line, James. I've about had it with your aesthetics-only judgment scale. First it was the Ipod business. Now it's this. You're about as predictable as the East German gymnastics judge at the 1976 Olympics.

Posted by Kathy at March 9, 2005 11:01 AM
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