I've spent a considerable amount of time in the waiting room at doctors' offices lately. Basically, anywhere a group of people are congregating, Americans view as an opportunity to make small talk. Except when you're waiting to see a doctor. The waiting room is a reverent place, where we give our fellow sickos their privacy and solitude. Not out of respect, mind you, but because we think we're going to catch whatever they have from making direct eye contact.
So when I took Sky to what I hoped would be his last post-op appointment with the Otolaryngologist, but wasn't, I searched for a suitable, ultra-contaminated magazine touched by hundreds of other people to pass the time.
I'm not a cat lover, so it wasn't Cat Fancy. Dog Fancy although better than it's feline counterpart by nature, didn't do it for me either. Road and Track? I don't think so. Food and Wine was in the running. Of course there's always Redbook. Although I don't give a crap what Joy Behar thinks about anything. So what's the point? It's common knowledge that the gold standard of waiting room magazines is People. It's a quick read and mostly photos at that. Generally of people you don't even know why they're famous. Or if they are celebrities for certain. But, they must be because they're on the cover of a magazine.
Because I'm such a frequent waiting room waiter, I had already read the old tattered issues with the pages falling out at the Orthopedic Surgeon or Orthodontists offices. The ones I'm sure at least a thousand sickos have previously thumbed through. Perhaps even licking their fingers so the pages turn easier. So, I thumbed my nose at those. I was only looking for the newest issue. I knew it was there. It always is.
I visually assaulted the other patients in search of it. Being careful not to break the cardinal rule and look them in the eye. Instead, I did a less intrusive, but more awkward scan of everyone's lap. I found the culprit. A 12 year old boy, who was clearly reading the wrong magazine. I wanted to right the situation by trading him a Road and Track. Not to stereotype or anything, but come on? Wouldn't you rather look at fast cars than Who Wore it Best? Just hand it over.
Finally, he got called in. Yeeeeeesssssss! Except then he did the feigned surprise "oh-you-mean-me-how-could-it-be-my-turn-already-take-five-minutes-to-get-my-stuff-together-even-though-I-don't-have-any-stuff-because-I'm-a-12-year-old-boy" thing. Seriously kid? You're wasting my valuable trash reading about people I don't know time! I must know about Mischa Barton's nightmare! Wait. Who the hell is Mischa Barton? Inquiring minds want to know.
What I do know is that apparently Pearl Jam and Amos Lee have new albums out. However, as fate would have it, Sky got called in before I got to the cover article. So I did the "oh-you-mean-me-how-could-it-be-my-turn-already-take-five-minutes-to-get-my-stuff-together" thing while I contemplated hijacking the magazine and bringing it into the treatment room. Can you do that? How weird would that be? What if I got so engrossed I didn't make direct eye contact with the doctor looking at my kid's ear so I could read about Misha whatsherface? That would be weird. So in order to avoid an awkward situation like that, I decided to leave it there. Forgoing my own personal needs for my kids, yet again. So, I'm pretty much a hero. Or a psycho. Like Misha may or may not be. I'll probably never know.
The doctor examined Sky's ear, and proclaims his hearing to be normal.
"How can that be?" I asked. "He still can't hear me."
The doctor looked at me confused.
"Cause he's a normal teenager" I said, trailing off.
"I still want you to keep the ear drum dry until Christmas though", the doc advises.
I know this isn't what Sky wants to hear. On second thought, I'm not even sure he heard it.
"Best Christmas present ever!!!" I announce with a bent swingy arm gesture to drive home my sarcasm. "After all, is there anything better than the gift of hearing?" Shaking my head and mouthing "no".
The doctor doesn't know that the waiting is the hardest part. Luckily, Tom Petty does. And I bet he's got a great sense of humor too. Some people don't. And I feel sorry for them.
But, not half as sorry as I feel for me, having decided not steal the magazine from the waiting room for all my pain and suffering from all that waiting....