Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Beauty, Grace and Charm

Doctor's offices are a bizarre microcosm of society. Only I'm not sure which part of society they actually represent. I want to know who put in place the rule that you have to be so quiet in a doctor's waiting room? It's like a daggum funeral wake in there. The people who come together speak in whispers so hushed that I can't even eavesdrop and there is simply nothing else to do! And I knew I was going to be there for at least 45 minutes because the waiting room had people packed in there like sausages.
It was a dermatologist's office, so I spent a little time playing Guess the Skin Malady until people started staring back. I then perused the vast and varied magazine selection, when I actually began seriously contemplating playing with that little wire abacus-on-crack toy that exists in all doctor's waiting rooms. And the magazines! The magazines in this joint needed some serious help. I may make it a charitable giving effort to start taking my old magazines over there. Who is the person in charge of ordering magazines for a waiting room anyway? Is it whatever you can get a free subscription of for a year? Yesterday, I was presented with four choices: Automobile Today, Gun and Ammo, Field and Stream, or Hispanica. What was I supposed to do with those? Was I in a doctor's waiting room or a Klan meeting? It was torturous. Until at last, they called me up to give my license and insurance information. Goody! I trotted up to the desk enthusiastically while all of the silent mourners' eyes followed me across the room. Suckers. I had something to do!
I was going to milk this little diversion for all it was worth. I grasped my wallet from my purse and gave it quite the spirited tug when....CLANK! CLATTER! DING! SPLASH! The entire population of the waiting room jumped three feet as I interrupted the tranquil bereavement by flinging all the change from my wallet all over the counter, the fake plant, the back of the receptionist's computer, the bottom of her pencil cup, and best? Into her coffee cup.
"Heh, heh..." I chortled, embarrassed as I frantically picked up coins from every crevice of the office. Why do I keep so much change? Why did I not zip the little zipper? Why? WHY? I felt 20 pairs of eyes staring at me with keen interest. Being the smooth talker that I am, I tried to play it off. "Bet you weren't expecting a tip today, were you?" I tried to coax the receptionist out of her glare. She was busy fishing my change out of her morning coffee and ignored me with stony silence. Wrinkled, mishapen shaking fingers of the elderly patients began to point out all of the change that had escaped me beneath various pieces of furniture and patron's purses that were in close range. I got down on my hands and knees and feverishly grabbed at coins, thanking the aged ones while fighting the urge to slap away their pointing fingers. I was willing to part with up to 95 cents just to get this ordeal over with.
I scrambled back up to the desk and put myself and my purse back together. The receptionist held out her hand. "Insurance? License?" Oh, right. I had forgotten why I was here. With painstaking vigilance, I carefully slid the two cards across the counter to her, demonstrating what a good patient I could be. I smiled winningly and crossed my arms on the counter, lest I disturb anything else. I could still feel the people staring at me. I completed my transaction without further commotion and carefully stepped back to my seat. I lifted a copy of Gun and Ammo to my face and sat quietly until my name was called.
Oh, the embarrassment. At least I gave those poor people something to do in there. That place was a beating.

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