Waiting Room

Sitting in the beige waiting room of a doctor’s office.

Through the small sliding glass window, I see people with lab coats, doctors I suspect, pass people in operating room scrubs, nurses and technicians. They sometimes stop and speak, sometimes speak while moving, sometimes ignore each other completely.

The bing-bong chime of the phone answered in a near-whisper by the receptionist. The hum of the air conditioning. A businessman rustling the pages of an improbably upscale travel magazine. He hardly looks down at the pages, much less reads their content.  Trying to distract himself, I imagine, from what’s to come, or maybe, what’s already come.

A nurse sticks her head out of the plain, white door. “Miss Hunter. Laura.” The attractive young lady in yoga pants rises and walks over. They disappear inside and the door swings closed.

Sitting and waiting.

Someone has given conscious thought to the lights in this room. They aren’t the long, industrial fluorescent tubes that make everyone look sick or, worse, dead. Table lamps and recessed ceiling lights provide a living room ambience. But the furniture is all wrong. Clusters of hard-backed chairs line the walls and form inhospitable angles. And the books in the shelves. Medical texts and drug guides. Xeroxed paper signs. IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL PATIENTS. NOTICE TO CONSUMERS. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM USING YOUR CELL PHONE.

No. This is no one’s living room.

Waiting in this place for my mom. Just maybe a little measure of karmic payback for the many times she sat in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, waiting for me. And, believe me, there were many.

Not an emergency for her today, but perhaps a rehearsal for one day, when it will be.

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