This old guy in the waiting room of the medical clinic was wearing a MAGA cap. He was a pleasant chap — unlike the elderly woman who confronted him.
She was steamed. “I resent that hat,” she said, then lifted her nose and shuffled to the other side of the room.
Her point was well made.
Just then a tall, angular senior citizen preparing to leave, walked past, stopped and tapped the old guy’s cap and said, “Amen, partner, I’m with ya.”
• • •
As my wife and I were entering the clinic, a young couple was walking out, their little toddler between them. The tiny girl couldn’t have been more than 2 years old, if that.
Dad was sauntering along holding a smart phone and listening through a headset. Mom was typing into her device on the run, so to speak.
And the 2-year-old? She was taking some of her very early walking steps — but keeping up with her parents by holding a mobile phone of her own. A toy I hope, but who knows?
They’re teaching them young these days.
• • •
Maybe it’s a perversely counterintuitive notion, but waiting rooms can be entertaining, as was shown by the fellow in the MAGA cap and the two patients who reacted to it.
As an anti-theft trick. waiting rooms today, many of them, disguise their ballpoint pens as flowers. The pens are stuck into plastic roses, daffodils, rhododendrons — whatever — so that nobody steals the precious Pentels or Bics or Sharpies.
You walk in, grab a flower and start filling out a form (taking a test, it seems to me).
Anyhow, one fellow was sitting down, furiously filling out forms with a pen whose very large pink petals perfectly matched the flowery Hawaiian shirt he was wearing. He had no idea why folks sitting across from him were giggling.
• • •
One fashionably tattooed and otherwise totally groovy woman strolled in holding a large latte, grabbed a clipboard and a flower with her free hand and proceeded to a chair.
Her espresso and steamed milk fragrance filled the room and people began to look at their watch as if to determine whether they had time to run to Starbucks. They probably did, as things were moving quite slowly.
• • •
A lady with a baritone voice and poor hearing was detailing to the person next to her, a colonoscopy she unfortunately had undergone. People within earshot — meaning the entire room — began to clear their throat and pretend they weren’t hearing what they couldn’t help but hear.
• • •
A video screen on the wall, muted (thankfully), ran one commercial after another. One presentation on probiotics asked a question idiotic:
“Which bacteria matches your needs?”
• • •
My favorite waiting room character was an old cowboy — he HAD to be a cowboy — who was thin as a whip, bowlegged and when he removed his Stetson, his forehead was pale as a moonbeam. The rest of his face was sun-browned, and his boots had traversed many a pasture and pen filled with cattle.
• • •
Virtually all of the folks in the reception area — but certainly not the cowboy — came in, sat down and slipped into their mobile-phone devices. Few spoke to each other; some spoke to their phones or read messages or whatever.
Foot traffic was piled up but drug reps, or whoever it is that brings lunch to the doctors and nurses, had no trouble whisking though the tightly guarded doors to the examination part of the building.
• • •
There are always solemn, meditative faces in the waiting room, of course.
But people are eager to smile, maybe as a distraction from their problems, doubts and fears.
They even chuckle now and then at a sweet old lady harrumph-ing a “Make America Great Again” ball cap she disagrees with, or a fellow who DOES agree with it …
Or a guy filling out a form with a flower that matches his shirt …
Or a high-fashion dame who sashays in with her own flower and a cup of latte that everyone in the room wants to sip.
Corky Simpson is a veteran journalist who writes a column for the Green Valley News.