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Killing Time in the Waiting Room

Mona Andrei has excellent observational skills! This post first appeared on Mona’s personal blog, Moxie-Dude.


If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I recently had a wonky day. Two meetings that started early and ended early had me show up for a doctor’s appointment early. And by early, I mean precisely THREE HOURS before my scheduled appointment.

“No biggie,” I said to myself as I pulled into the parking lot THREE HOURS EARLY. “Surely they won’t make me wait the entire three hours. They’ll squeeze me in.”

For some reason I imagined that doctors run their offices like a butcher shop: first come, first serve. I was wrong.

For reasons of a technological nature, the receptionist couldn’t sign me in, even though my logic said she could.

“No biggie,” I said to myself once again. “I have my laptop so I’ll just write while I wait FOR THREE HOURS patiently.”

Either I’ve never noticed this before or possibly I’ve just never spent THREE HOURS in a doctor’s waiting room, but it appeared that everyone knew everyone else except me. (Which, by the way, conjures up a vague memory of how I felt on the first day of school.)

So while everyone else was nodding and exchanging pleasantries, I was mostly just sitting there, telling everyone to shut up. In my head, of course. I’m Canadian that way.

I tried to focus on writing. Honest. But I was overwhelmed by what I imagine a quiet stranger feels like after crashing a party. And since it was IMPOSSIBLE to focus, I created this party list …

Doctor’s Waiting Room Attendees

Marie Antoinette. Named thus from the way that she and her long, faded, royal blue coat walked the room. She reminded me of a host. Or a queen. Or a crazy cat lady. Her coat was missing a button and on the threshold of tacky. Also it looked like something you would rent from a costume party store. As she walked around, bobbing her white head and greeting chairs, she made sure to proudly proclaim her age. It was her birthday and she turned 86 yesterday.

The man with dead eyes. He was quiet, so I don’t have much on him, but what I lack in details I improvised with my keen sense of observation:

He had dead eyes. Not because his heart had stopped beating but because he had no regard for life. Except for a peculiar pleasure in taking it from others. His own eyes seemed to mirror those of his victims …

Okay, I just totally made that up. In my defense, I was there for THREE HOURS.

The young mother with small, impudent child. This duo mostly kept to themselves except for when Marie Antoinette came by to proclaim that it was her special day.

Today is my birthday and I’m 86, she said to the child, her body bobbing like a marionette as she said it.

In response the child said, Today is not my birthday and I’m six. (Well played, kid.)

The 20-something Deliverance couple and older woman. I had a hard time placing this family. I couldn’t tell if the couple was married or brother and sister. Or both. This is because my brain started playing the banjo.

The Mafia man with the aggressive cologne and devious sunglasses. This guy thought – with confidence, I might add – that he was incognito. I was onto him. Especially after I heard him say on his cell phone, “Yeah. I got the stuff. You got the money?” (I may be paraphrasing. Or thinking of an old Al Pacino movie with Cuban drug dealers.)

The woman whose sweater ate the sun. This lady didn’t talk much but she didn’t have to. Her sweater was loud enough for the both of them. Also, she came back in a panic 20 minutes after her appointment was over and then again about an hour later because she had lost her umbrella. Clearly the umbrella meant a lot to her. Or she was Mary Poppins.

The lady with allergies. Just as Marie Antoinette proudly proclaimed that it was her birthday, this older woman was happy to broadcast that the good doctor had advised her to avoid corn. All good and well except that every time she mentioned the word “corn” it sounded like she was saying “porn”. She has forever been ingrained in my mind as the crazy lady who watches porn while avoiding corn. (My brain is a limerick. I blame boredom.)

And then there was the man who coughed up a hairball. Or possibly it was his pancreas. Let me tell you: You can never unhear that. Although disturbing, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to find an actual SICK PERSON in the doctor’s waiting room.

Of course there were other various background characters that came and went throughout my wait that lasted on the verge of forever but these were the ones that stuck out in my mind. Then finally, my THREE HOUR WAIT came to an end and I was called into the doctor’s office – 20 minutes after my scheduled appointment. (Good grief, Charlie Brown.)

I’m happy to report that I’m healthy. Except for maybe a newly formed nervous tick of screaming at people to shut up in my head. Think mental Tourettes syndrome. Also, my dislike of being in public places my have gotten a fever.

PS. I also learned yesterday that I’m the only person IN THE WORLD who doesn’t call my doctor’s receptionist by her first name? Clearly that’s not exactly working out for me.

Mona Andrei

Mona Andrei is a technical writer for a serious company in a serious industry. When she’s had enough serious for one day, she likes to write irreverent posts for her personal blog, Moxie-Dude, life updates gone wrong. Or right. She’s undecided. Follow her on Twitter @MoxieDude

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Laurie Stone

Friday 28th of August 2015

Loved this. You do have good observational skills. I'm usually so traumatized going to the doctor (I have terrible white coat syndrome) I only notice my own sweaty palms. I'll have to look outward more. Great material for blog posts!

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