The Waiting Room: Pt. 1

July 9, 2010
“The Doc’s not in at the moment,” the Receptionist informed me while doing god knows what on the computer. Certainly didn’t seem like work. Whatever it was though makes no matter; she should have been helpful. She had her hair in a conservative ponytail, sporting some snazzy earrings; nice wrist watch too. It didn’t appear as though she was hurting for money. I studied her a bit more to try to get an inkling as to who I was dealing with, and whether or not it was worth throwing a loud production at that moment, when I noticed a tan line that encircled her entire third finger. {Interesting}, I thought.

I decided to scan the waiting room. From the desk, there was a deep red door on the left. The waiting room was your standard rectangle. How dull. Chairs traced the walls, leaving a space in the middle. In the deep corners, there were small desks with your run of the mill magazines. Time, People, House Beautiful, there were a couple of celebrity gossip magazines placed neatly and ironically next to National Geographic. As I looked around more, I suddenly became aware of the severe deficit in the life department. Besides the Receptionist (who was really quite lifeless anyway) there were really no visible life forms around. It was practically a ghost town. No – not quite a ghost town as I was turning my attention to something else, I noticed a shadow in right corner. My eyes focused and the shadow’s outline slowly sharpened into a clearer image.

I couldn’t say what the face looked like, thick black hair was in the way, head was faced down; I can only imagine her eyes digging into that book that was in her lap. She had on a plain black sweatshirt, black jeans; shoes followed suit. She looked like one of those young guns who fancy that style. Goth or emo or whatever the term is for them, but something told me she wasn’t one of those pretenders, that she had a story behind that mass of hair. I wasn’t about to go strike up a conversation though. Needless to say, she didn’t look like the most talkative person in the waiting room, though that’s not saying much.

I sighed. There I was, stuck in the company of a recluse and a cold unfriendly receptionist. A real party. Yes, I have a car. Yes, I could leave and go do something other than p*** away time in a waiting room waiting for some lazy-a** doctor who coasted (and barely passed) his way through medical school. But, what would I do? Eat? Been there done that. Friends? {Pshaw}. I used to have those. Then I moved here to Santa Cruz. Everyone I know lives on the East Coast, but that was just a little too dull for me. I overestimated my friend making abilities when I decided to move. So I really had nothing to do and I wasn’t about to go flick on the tube because then I would feel like I have no life, not to say that I did. So no, I guess I really didn’t have anything better to do.

Well I moseyed on over to a chair in the left corner. They really need to purchase more comfortable seats because these definitely weren’t working out for me. I laid my left leg across my right and began some pretty damn impressive thumb-twiddling. I decided to challenge myself to see how fast I could twiddle, but every so often my thumbs would get out of control and either crash into each other or my index finger. I soon grew tired of this, kicked out my legs, and let out a deep sigh. I glanced to magazine table at my left. I spaced out at the first magazine on the top. When I woke up out of my reverie I look at what was in front of me only to find Brad Pitt staring right back. I gave a little jump. The caption above Brad Pitt said something along the lines of “Pitt caught kissing another woman. Bodyguard tells all.” {Oh how scandalous}, I thought as I picked up the magazine. Man, all these famous guys cheat. Each and every one of them and don’t anyone think any different. Not a one of them is worth all the attention we give them for it either and I think if we are all honestly angry with them, we shouldn’t give them a moments thought. That’s really the biggest insult to them. They are probably reveling in all the attention they get for it. So let’s stop b****ing about Brad and Tiger shall we? Clinton too. Sure he had fun in the Oval Office, but he also had fun giving the United States a two-hundred billion dollar budget surplus. Granted, we should be a little mad about Michael Steele spending party money on bondage nightclubs, but that’s because he is spending money that isn’t his. Americans seem to get mad over all the wrong things. But I digress.

The girl in the corner gave a neat little {achoo} which almost seemed to herald the entrance of another person entering the office. She looked to be about late fifties, early sixties. She was carrying a young child, not anymore than three, in her arms. Her balding hubby followed her in. She had short brown hair and was sporting a beige jacket and large brimmed hat – even went so far as to complete the look with some white sunglasses. She wore darker brown pants and black dress shoes. Her husband wore your classic Levi blue jeans, brown boots (by the look of them steel toed), and a plaid shirt, probably a Stewart tartan. Atop his head lay a quirky fez. They too had a verbal battle with the Receptionist. They want to see the doctor desperately; they think the kid’s arm is broken.

“Sorry lady, Doc ain’t in right now,” she muttered heartlessly, “Feel free to enjoy all the wonderful pleasures of the waiting room though,” she added sarcastically.

The couple walked toward the seats and sat next to me, save one empty chair as a polite buffer. “B****…” I heard her rasp under her breath as she sat down. She seemed spunky. Alas, the room was once again filled with silence. It is hard to pinpoint what sort of silence it was. In the end, it seemed to be a silence of four parts. There was the awkward silence after the exchange with the Receptionist. There was the dull dreary silence of much too much time passing with much too little action. There was the silence of thoughts. Each person was absorbed in there own world thinking, thinking, thinking. About what I cannot say. Lastly, there was the heavy silence of anxiety and anticipation that sets in right when one has that intuitive feeling that the silence will be broken. It was.

The lady turned her brimmed hat adorned head and kicked this greeting right out into the open, “Hi, I’m Bethany. You can call me Beth,” she extended her hand. I took it. “Charmed.” I was so stunned by her outgoingness that I couldn’t manage to utter simple pleasantries. “And you would be?”

I sat there dumbstruck for a moment then regained my composure. “Kelsey. Kelsey MacGregor.”

“Well then Kelsey. This here is my hubby, Rick.”

“How do you do?” Rick took off his fez and gave an elegant little bow. Or at least as elegant as one could get while trying to relax in a seat.

“Well Rick, honestly I’m a little irked,” I admitted. Somehow these old folks were making me feel comfortable. They made me feel like I meant something to them. I know we hadn’t spoken much, but I was sure even then that these were people to whom I could talk. “The Receptionist is a genuine Nurse Ratched, wouldn’t you say?”

“Ah yes, certainly. She has either has a bone to pick or a stick up her a**. Either way, I agree,” Bethany said heartily and intentionally loud enough for the Receptionist to hear. I caught the Receptionist give an exaggerated roll of the eyes.

“Must be a thorny stick,” Rick added. I cracked a smile; my first smile in a long time.

I liked these people; Rick and Bethany. In a veritable attempt to be social, I asked, “What’s the little tyke in for?”

“Oh, the little squirt? This is my daughter, Missy’s, son, Ricky. Named after his dear old gramps,” she shot Rick Senior an affectionate glance, “We think his arm is broken,” she continued. I noticed how she was gingerly supporting it.

I addressed Little Ricky, “Well you’re certainly being brave about this ordeal, aren’t you? Look at him, he hasn’t even grimaced. You’ll make a tough man some day.” The tyke seemed to give some gargle. The closest thing I could liken it to would be some sort of chortle. “How old is he?”

“He just turned two.”

“Pray tell, how did he break his arm?”

“Well, we are not exactly sure. We have a couple of theories. Here’s the skinny…”

Join the Discussion

This article has 41 comments. Post your own now!

AddictedToWriting said...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 12:09 am

Overall I enjoyed the piece very much.  I like Kelsey's voice a lot--it seems very real and very fun to read from.

As I usually do when reading things, I caught a few grammar errors--Mostly it was these three things: "Receptionist" is not a proper noun and shouldn't be capitalized, there's a few places where a comma or hyphen used to break up the sentence wouldn't hurt, and lastly, your use of semicolons:  they are periods that you use when you want to use a comma.  The ... (more »)

AddictedToWriting replied...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 12:11 am didn't post the entire comment I left.  After that, I basically just said that if you wanted, I could send you a Word document with all my lovely little red comments on it, and that, reguardless of all the grammar bashes, I very much enjoyed this piece.  Good job!
AddictedToWriting replied...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 12:14 am

My god, I'm a dunce.  It did post my entire comment--I was just confused.


Also I just realized that the last line in my comment could be taken as an incredibally stupid pun.  Please ignore this.  :)

AgnotTheOdd replied...
Apr. 30, 2011 at 8:20 pm
Haha all's well.  Thanks for the critique.  Which sentence structure was weird?  Maybe you could send that word document :P
Descant This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 5, 2011 at 3:04 am
Your narrator has a wonderfully distinctive voice, but when everyone's dialogue is similar in attitude to the narration, the illusion of individuals in conversation can be lost. After reading some of the comments I want to mention that things as they really are don't always make the most compelling - or even convincing - fiction. That said, I enjoyed the piece and will read on.
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Feb. 5, 2011 at 10:34 am
Thanks for the comment
koolwords said...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Okay it was well written (asides from the cussing) and the only thing I can say is that you worked up the suspense well but the actual delievery of the conclusion does not entice me to want to read part two. I'm assuming it gets better of course but next time I think you should try to add in at least a little more action or suspense.


Though don't get me wrong. It was good. It just left something to be desired.

AgnotTheOdd replied...
Feb. 4, 2011 at 12:02 am

Thanks for the comment.  Maybe I could clarify some things for you.  Cussing (which apparently affects writing quality?) is something many people do.  I had cussing because the characters in my head are real people (metaphorically) and based off real people (literally) and so I felt that it should be used, not only because the dialogue in my head was like that, but also because it adds a little bit of realism.  Also, action/suspense is not exactly what my objective is. &nb... (more »)

Firebringer17 said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 7:10 am
Doing nothing has never been so interesting, well done! The wity banter was very nice and with no time skipping, I got a real feel of that moment in the waiting room, glad there's more to come
gracegirl29 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm
i like the witty manner of your character. and it's the first part so of course there isn't much action yet. The only thing is that sometimes there were commas missing and the tense got a little messed up in the middle "I moseyed . . . " (Past tense) and then "They really need . . . " (Present tense) needs to be fixed so the tenses agree. sorry, just giving teen ink a glimpse of my grammar freakish side. but . . . good job! I think I'll read more!
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Jan. 10, 2011 at 7:29 pm
yeah i have issues with my tense >.<   They're both so beautiful :P  Anyway, thank you very much for your comments.
Aly_Marie said...
Nov. 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm
So far even though this isn't action-packed, I actually find it pleasent to read. Strangley I liked reading it and can't wait to read more. Usually I don't find stories like these fun to read but I can relate to it in a way that makes me want to keep reading. Good Job !! :)
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Nov. 19, 2010 at 6:01 pm
Thanks bunches.  especially since, as you noted, it isn't all that action packed :P
katie-cat said...
Oct. 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm
Well, to start off there's not much action in the story yet.  I think some of the dialogue needs fixing in this one, it just doesn't seem realistic.  The story just seem to slowly roll along and I'm not really sure what exactly is going on.  A very important aspect of a novel is that it pretty much has to catch the reader's attention in the first paragraph.  Believe me, I know that's a lot to ask for, but it's true, and I just don't feel hooked to this story.  But still,... (more »)
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Oct. 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm

1) Its vignette based, so action will be in parts 2, 4, 6, and 8.  All the waiting room does is tie them together logically.

2) Dialogue is from personal experience. Maybe you don't think it's realistic, but it is indeed real.

I've tried to write stories with  lot of action, but they just sound stupid to me, regardless of how they actually are.

Thanks and hopefully that clears it up some

thepreachyteenager replied...
Oct. 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I love stories like these :)  Well, I've only read one part, so I'm not really sure how much of a feel I've gotten for it, but so far it seem like one of those subways stories where you see all of the vastly-different people with worlds and ideas quite far apart from eachother, but somehow is a 5 ft proximity of eachother.

Anway, the only quam I have about this story is the little rant about Brad and Tiger and such.  You might have actually thought all of those things, and th... (more »)

AgnotTheOdd replied...
Oct. 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm
Thanks and yeah that was the kinda feel I was going for.
apocalyptigirl said...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 11:00 pm
Hmm. Your main character reminds me, oddly, of Bella Swan. She complains constantly, has just moved, is quick to judge people by appearances, has no friends, and is totally shocked when people want to talk to her. XD The first part---about the complaining---is the strongest thing that stood out to me, the rest came along as I was typing this. I'm assuming your person has a good reason to whine if she's in the waiting room for a bad illness or something, but without adding in something like her p... (more »)
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 11:01 pm
oops, typo. I meant to say that adding in physical pain/discomfort would make her more sympathetic.
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm


Actually its much less exciting.  In my head I just imagined a check up.  We all whine in our heads (at least I do) but not out loud.  Plus I like to think Kelsey has a penchant for ironic observation.

And Ill get on blue eyes ASAP

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