Waiting Rooms

Mood: Heavy eyelids
Drinking: Not enough water, I’m sure of it

No matter where I’m going or what I’m doing, I make it a habit to always, always, carry about some sort of writing utensil and something to write on. Sometimes I’m all organized and business-like and have my wicked little laptop along for the ride. Most of the time it’s the miniature comp book that hides in my bag. But sometimes, when I’m desperate, it’s the back of a bank envelope or napkin. Because I’ve realized that it’s disastrous to be caught unarmed. You never know when inspiration will come calling and you’ll need to take notes.

That’s how the previous post came about…I was stranded in one of those mandatory meetings that often happens when you collect your paycheck from some version of The Man. But I was prepared with paper and pen and began making a list of things I was waiting for.

And that reminded me of a silly little thing I wrote another time that I was stranded, waiting. This time it was in a doctor’s office. And I had my laptop along (that was back when it was all shiny and new and I took it absolutely everywhere). So I captured the whole experience as it so painstakingly unfolded.

So here’s a little Waiting Room for your viewing pleasure…

It’s a competition here
so we don’t look at one another
except to glare when someone
gets too close or stares too long
at your game of
solitaire.
The more people walk in the door to the left,
the more fierce the competition
to get in the door to the right.
We wordlessly jostle for the pole position.
We know who has been waiting the longest
and who is in the biggest hurry (that’s me)
and who can boast of the ugliest ailment.
The winner will be the first to get through that inner door.

A tall blonde walks in
but she is not one of the tempting ones.
She wears white ankle socks
and drags a dog behind–
an entirely unremarkable black colored lab
in a blue service jacket.
One of those special dogs that
supposedly opens doorknobs
and lets you know when Jimmy
has fallen down the well.
But this dog doesn’t do anything
except stand in the way and stare
and refuse to sit or lay or
do anything Anklesocks tells it to do.
And she explains to us all (we didn’t ask)
that the dog flunked out of seeing eye school
on the very first day and
I am not surprised.

But now everyone suddenly feels the need
to bond, to talk about it in those simpering
baby voices that people use
to talk to dogs and children and the very, very old.
The condescending googoo voices
that make you want to punch someone.

And I am in a punching mood.
Such a punching mood.

The room smells of sweat and
unwashed t-shirts
and the fat boy across the room
keeps on babbling to the reject guide dog
until even Anklesocks is annoyed and tries to
change the subject.

I’ve just decided that the fat boy and
the sour smell definitely go together when
he catches me staring.
He points across the room and squeals,
“Hey, a computer! Those things are good to have!”
I give him the look that I reserve for
special occasions, but he appears to be impervious.

I’ve been waiting here now for 30 minutes
and I’m not going to wait 30 more.
I’ve spent most of my life avoiding rooms like this one.
Pale and stale with uncomfortable chairs
and too many clammy bodies and hands.
I don’t have to be here. I could just get up and leave.

Except the nurse suddenly appears and is calling my name.

-Lo, who really has a good shot at being crowned Miss Anthrope of the USA.

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