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!

Stormythrone said...
Sept. 27, 2010 at 9:49 am

Good story, but I dont see the major plot here. Is this all about the people who come into the waiting room? and what significance does the receptionists ring tan have to this story? Or is it just to tell about her? Im a little confused about where this can go and with the style of talking in the end. It seems as if we went from modern age language to 80's.
Great read, either way. Keep writing.


AgnotTheOdd replied...
Sept. 27, 2010 at 7:41 pm

There's not too large of a plot.  It's basically a bunch of vignettes all intertwined into a waiting room.

The ring tan was going to play a part, then I got lazy and didn't do it and didn't both deleting the detail.

It went from more modern speech to "80s" (is it really?) mostly 'cuz I'm kinda that way in that when I'm around people, my voice is completely different.  I guess it came across in writing.

Stormythrone replied...
Sept. 27, 2010 at 7:51 pm
I think It was the 80th.. may have been later than that. But thank you for the clairity on those parts :)
AEAluvsanimals said...
Sept. 13, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I might be a little biased because I really hate realistic stuff, but there were way too many adjectives.

You know, If you read a lot you'll be able to see that "Whatever he said", said whoevers saying it isn't a mortal sin. Also, there are some grammar mistakes. But good.

AgnotTheOdd replied...
Sept. 13, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Stylistic choice - for me, "he said" is a last resort.

And, just so I know what you're talking about, what's an example of overuse of adjectives?

Thanks for the feedback

AEAluvsanimals replied...
Sept. 14, 2010 at 6:52 pm

the one that annoyed me most was

"The doc ain't in now", she muttered heartlessly, "Feel free to enjoy all the comforts of the waiting room though," she muttered sarcastically

Just my opinion though.

And the language seems kind of strong for having a three year old along

AgnotTheOdd replied...
Sept. 14, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Yikes, two "mutters" in a row?  Didn't notice that.

two year old.  And depends on family to family.  Personally, in mine, no buddy holds back for any age.

AEAluvsanimals replied...
Sept. 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Sorry, the second was added. My mistake, not yours.

Oh, yikes

AEAluvsanimals replied...
Sept. 14, 2010 at 10:51 pm

********ing comment I don't think it accepted it the 1st time.

She mutters and then adds I think. My fault, not yours.


AgnotTheOdd replied...
Sept. 14, 2010 at 10:53 pm

ah yeah ok.

comments here are annoying.  I was in the middle of a debate and it decided to say "we have posted your comment" then nothing showed up.  I posted it again, nothing showed up.  Again, again, again. -_-

JohnWall_for_MVP said...
Sept. 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm

This story is well paced, you seem like a very annaylitical person and it transfers into your writing. I appologize for my feedback being so late. I love medical drama/suspense, but you could easily just made a waiting room drama. I love it.


J7X team

AgnotTheOdd replied...
Sept. 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

No worries

And this if this is a drama, it's not the most serious one in the world.

Thanks for the commentary, its good to specific feedback like that

HannahS. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 10, 2010 at 5:17 pm
This is really good. I like how you choose a less then ordinary setting and your descriptions are excelent.
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Sept. 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Thanks - good to hear feedback.

I was doing a little digging on your profile, and found a couple of worms.  Will comment

SecretNonConformist said...
Sept. 9, 2010 at 9:11 pm

The good: characterization, DETAILS, paced well, not boring. I look forward to reading the other parts.

The bad: It was a little wordy in some parts. That'll be easy to fix.

Good job, keep writing!

AgnotTheOdd replied...
Sept. 10, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Thank you.

I'll take that into consideration - I'm about to jump onto your "I'll never forget you"

Irene_Adler said...
Aug. 19, 2010 at 8:29 am
I like this a lot! The details are so great-- Like the tan ring around the receptionists finger, and the celebrity cossip magazines ironically placed next to National Geographic. Also, "save one empty chair as a polite buffer." I'm definitely going to read more parts!
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Aug. 30, 2010 at 10:25 pm
Haha thanks.  It's good to get constructive support like this
Healing_Angel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 15, 2010 at 12:02 am
I really like this! I love medical drama! This is really good(I understand about there not being enough action having read your above comment). I love how you've set it up though.... !  
Esperanza replied...
Dec. 24, 2010 at 11:12 am
it's amazing and strangly addicting i can't stop reading it don't change a thing this is amazing!
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