Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Part Two: Stories from the Waiting Room

Another post from the series Stories from the Waiting room that I wrote a couple of years ago.

Stories from the Waiting Room

In my post yesterday, I wrote about my tendencies to avoid conversations when I'm around strangers, especially in waiting rooms in doctor's offices.  There's other places too, like shopping malls and grocery stores.  Not only have I felt that I'm giving up my privacy but I'm intruding on the privacy of others.  My husband will see someone in the aisle of a grocery store buying a product and he'll begin a conversation with them telling them whether he likes that product or not.  I just walk on down the aisle and pretend I'm not with him.  Recently he did that to a lady from the retirement community nearby and she told him she had never had so many complete strangers talk to her until she moved down South.  She said it in a "bug off" kind of way, but he didn't seem to notice.

Because of an experience last year in the dentist's office, I've realized that sometimes you can't avoid conversations without appearing rude, and you may as well just talk back.  Now I wouldn't go back to my old ways - no siree!   It's a great way to get writing material.

If you didn't read my post yesterday, I was in the VA hospital waiting for my hubby to have his colonoscopy procedure.  Hubby had just gone back to the procedure room when an elderly couple came in with their granddaughter in tow.  She was their designated driver and looked to be in her early thirties.  Age is a touchy subject - some don't mind telling and others do and I've learned by appearance who to ask and who not.   If they're over sixty and wear a lot of makeup, have a scarf around their neck to hide the neck wrinkles, have lots of jewelry and aloof mannerisms, don't ask.  That could be me on some days.   If they look grandmotherly and smile a lot, feel free to ask.  That could be me on other days.   Walter, Lillian and Kelly were their names.  Walter was seventy-seven,  Lillian seventy-five and smiled and spoke to everyone in the waiting room.  They had been married fifty-eight years.  Long enough to finish each others sentences.  He would start talking and then pause, waiting for her to finish....and she did. They seemed to know each others thoughts.  Not only were their thoughts in unison, so were their feet.

Have you ever seen someone cross one leg over the other and roll their feet round in circles.  They had opposite legs crossed so their toes were pointing toward each other.  They were in perfect unison as they circled their feet - when he stopped, so did she - then they would start over again.  It was very amusing.   After her husband went back, she kept hinting for her granddaughter to go get her a cup of coffee, but she was engrossed in a book.  I quietly got up, went downstairs to the canteen and got both of us a cup.  She was thrilled but I told her I had needed one too....and it was true.

Lillian wanted everyone to know what a good catch she had in Walter.  "He sweeps, vacuums and makes the bed every days" she said.  "You shouldn't tell us that", I said.  "We'll be all trying to steal your husband".  She beamed.  "I won't let him get away", she said and laughed.

The room filled up quickly.  The others who came in joined in the conversation.  Each person had a story to tell except one.  She was mid-fifties and sat alone pretending to read her book.  She looked anxious - maybe the way I once looked when I played the part of a hermit.  Her story is tomorrow.  I think it's sad.

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