There are eighteen people in this room.
Nobody touches the germy magazines: most of us are on our phones and the really unwell people are staring into space.
A boy in his late teens sits with his mother. She has her chin leaning onto the palm of her hand, nodding her head as the teen talks. To me he looks like he just got out of bed but to himself – he is fashion perfected. His thick, cropped, Raggedy Andy hair wobbles as a single mass as his head moves. He sits slouched, as if half lying down, with one foot up on his other knee. The mother spoke… but he doesn’t seem interested, he has his phone out now and she sits gazing out the window.
On the opposite side of the room is a lady in a fake fur leopardskin coat and jeans with deliberate tears, exposing both knees and her right thigh – which has a butterfly and vine tattoo filling the denim void. Her chunky boots look impossibly heavy to walk in. She’s speaking with a lady her own age, but dressed in sensible clothes. A demanding toddler, who seems to need a nap, is with one of them and they are deaf to her calls for attention.
Seated Behind me on these back-to-back theatre seats is a lady with a dark blue hoodie and hair that’s formed a birdnest at the back – the type you get when you’ve been restless in bed and don’t brush your hair when you get up. I was happy with my decision to sit another seat across, to avoid back-to-back, hair-to-hair contact. She sits very still, almost like she’s in an awake coma. Shallow breaths, immobile, not well.
A tall, skinny lady and her husband were just called in. She walks in slow and deliberate steps, talking like she’s angry. Her husband walks behind her, responding to her words in an apologetic way. I wonder… did he give her a STD? Is that why theyre here? Or did they just have an argument? He looks so uptight… and apologetic. She wears a very tight, leather-look skirt with skin tight leather-look leggings and boots. Her face also looks like leather; hardened and harsh – despite her make up and perfect hair.
I begin to wonder why people dress like they’re going clubbing just to see the doctor?
Nicole was picking at her fingernails when she was just called in. Surfer girl sits silently with her homely-looking sister. Grandma, who is wearing jeans with long leather boots that come up above her knees is pacing the waiting room as she talks on the phone, encouraging the person on the other end to call by for a cup of tea next time they’re in town. She’s said that phrase about four times now.
A smiling old gentleman aged about 80 years old, wearing a brown, cable knit jumper that his wife might have knitted for him walked in, reported to the receptionist and came to sit down. No, he is up again – giving her back the pen he accidentally carried away. He wears a wedding band but he is alone. I wonder if it’s too cold for his wife to be outdoors today… or if she is sick… or maybe she died? Really old people usually go to the doctor’s, shopping and everywhere together, don’t they?
A man in his early twenties walks in with a four year old boy who is carrying a blue, spotted blanket and wearing a red beanie. They walk to greet the gym junkie who is wearing his sunglasses indoors, a black cap on backwards, black shorts and black t shirt. They are behind us talking about the wheel that simply fell off their car, saying: “It fuckin’ fell off while we were fuckin’ driving through fuckin’ town.”
The other man simply nodded, “Fuuuck.”
The little boy interrupts, wanting his juice drink, and the dad says, “Use your fuckin manners.” as he hands the pop top bottle down to the upstretched arm.
A four or five year old girl skips in with her mother who has the girl’s toddling brother on her hip. The skipping girl is wearing a pink tutu and her eyes sparkle from behind her pink-framed glasses. She’s not in the doctor’s waiting room – she’s on stage. I compliment her beautiful outfit and she beams at me as she continues her clumsy skipping toward the chairs where her mother sat down – near the TV with the cartoons showing.
Over an hour has passed and it’s our turn.
(waiting room picture: pedlars.co.uk)
(tutu picture: pintrest.com)