As I get older there are a few things I’ve started to notice. One that really stands out is the amount of time I spend in waiting rooms. In my particular situation, I have an 85-year-old father, a wife, a fifteen-year-old son, four house cats, goats, horses, dogs, a few other relatives, and assorted other animals that turn up from time to time.
My father, who has been a widower for several years, has a variety of ailments. Primary among these ailments are boredom and loneliness. When a person gets to his age all he can think about is “what hurts, how bad, if it hurts real bad will I wake up on the right side of the grass, and who will notice if I don’t.” With each of these pains he thinks, “maybe I should see the doctor, I know he cares what side of the grass I wake up on, and he will alert my uncaring family to the gravity of the situation.” Well, being almost blind he needs a driver. You can guess who that might be; it’s me, his uncaring son. So we go to the doctor, he gets my attention, and the doctors. I get stimulating conversation about hemorrhoids, in the waiting room.
As I mentioned in the beginning, I also have my own oblivious 15-year-old son. Any of you privileged enough to have your own teenager will know that they think they can leap over a reasonably large building, and not get hurt. He’s bullet proof, just ask him. However, the other day Mr. Bulletproof decided to open a package of hot dogs with a foot long butcher knife. “Slice, and heigh-ho, heigh-ho, off to the waiting room we go.”
There is also in my life, my wife. Well, as far as that goes, I should leave it there. She just may read this sometime, and in case she is, “you know your never any trouble honey, and I am sure that accident was my fault.” In fact, “I’m happy to wait for you in the waiting room.”
Then there are the animals. Just the sound of that last sentence, brings certain fears to my mind. An example of why occurred this summer. I was mowing hay, and low and behold what should appear out of the corner of my eye, but the dog. This dog had a mission and it started on the other side of the sickle bar mower. “Snip, yelp, yelp.” So you can see once again I was on my way to the vet’s waiting room. Did I mention that I have to drive 40 miles to almost any waiting room worth visiting?
I suppose you’re wondering what the benefit of all this experience is. Well, it has helped me to develop a certain inner creativity. For example, I am the author of a rather extensive list of waiting room do’s and don’ts. The first thing is, to show up prepared with a well thought out battle plan, (I was also in the Navy). If the receptionist says, “It will be just a few minutes.” you can plan for an extended stay. In this event you should have a full backpack. In it might be some lunch, or one half days of food, utensils and disinfectant. Because you never know how long it will be until your next meal, and where you will eat it.
Reading material is also important particularly if you are male. Personally I really don’t care who’s having an affair with whom in Hollywood, or what I should paint my nails with. A good novel is an excellent choice. Preferably a really juicy one that will keep your attention away from the screaming kids, flowing blood, and all of the chunks of things floating in the air that are not visible, but can do nasty things to your state of mind.
Homework probably isn’t a good idea, “why?” you ask. Because there is too much action going on. It’s hard to concentrate on what monkey’s were doing five million years ago, when the guy next to you is sneezing stuff all over your book. By the way, this is also another reason to pack your disinfectant. I prefer Lysol, it’s light with a fruity lemon fragrance.
Sleeping is not an option unless you’re the only one there, and the chance of that is slimmer than the receptionist not charging you because you waited longer than ten minutes.
I’ve tried other entertainment options, but I had to give them up. They did funny things to my head, and I’m weird enough without them. The only original pastime I have come up with is, dirty-spot-on-the-wall watching. I stare at a dirty spot on the wall and visit places Mr. Spock hasn’t been yet, and hope Scottie will beam me out of this situation.
I have a wealth of other activities one can participate in, but there is a limit to how much I should write for this assignment. So, I’m saving the rest for my waiting room self-help book. If you have any ideas that I can add to my book or my battle plan, please share them. Then we could all spend more quality time in, the waiting room.