I sat in a walk-in Clinic yesterday waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Organizing the piles of magazines and books so they looked pretty. Putting the brochures in the right holders.
Man Over 70 beside me: “You’ll become more patient when you get old like me.”
Me: “Unlikely. My parents are workaholics and they can’t sit still”
Man: “Your house must be pretty clean then?”
*thinking about how I practice minimalism and love the sound of the echo in a room if only essentials are in it*
I reply: “Yeah. It’s pretty clean”
Man: “How old are you anyway?”
Me: “Very old. Indeed. 32” Thinking to myself I am old enough to engage in stupid conversations like this one.
Man who has suddenly realized I am perhaps Old Enough: “You don’t look a day over 22!”
Me: “It must be the hat”
I pick up a wooden train toy and spin the wheels, thinking how everyone looks younger as you grow older
Man: “You’re too young to ever get sick”
I think to myself, Jesus Christ, this is what happens when I talk. I become too friendly and people keep talking.
I reply: “Ah, everyone gets sick once and a while” A few people sneeze as if in response and I stare with longing at the hand sanitizer on the receptionists desk.
Man: “Well, you’ll learn to be patient when you get sick. Trust me on that.”
He then explains his prostate surgery. I wonder if I know what a prostate is. Per se.
I reply: “I suppose when one must be patient then they are patients”
This has an undesired effect. I was going for the pun here but he seems to think it’s some brilliant logic when its simply logic.
He keeps talking and I keep organizing the magazines. Why do they have 2006 copies of House and Home? What is the difference between a house and Home? A song comes to mind, something about a house not being a home. . .Ah, that’s it. This House is Not a Home.
Finally, after what feels like hours, he is called in. I am still sitting there when he walks out. He bellows across the small waiting room littered with people, “YOU’RE STILL HERE!” as if this is a divine situation and if it is he is prepared for it. He strides over to me, a folded piece of paper in his hand, and hands it to me. It has his name and his phone number on it. Men, I realize, will be men. At any age. Most, anyway.
Not a minute later the door bangs open and a couple, likely around my senior age of early thirty something, walks in. They have a baby. It is very small as babies tend to be. They sit beside me although many chairs with much more room exist.
The baby starts reaching for me, its little baby arms within distance of my face, my hat, like baby claws. The father turns and smiles at me.
Him: “Ah, you must be a kid person!”
I think to myself, no, not really. Not at all. I want to say, “No. I like big dogs. Your small child thing is rather terrifying to be honest.”
I reply: “Yes, I have a niece round’ that age” I wonder if my dog misses me and when this small child will finally grab my hat or vomit sideways on my lap.
I am not sure of the child’s gender, so I am careful with any words. Parents do not like their offspring being referred to as “It”
Him: “It’s amazing!”
That is all he says. I want to ask him what is amazing. Is it amazing he was able to have sex with the woman beside him and she became pregnant? Is it amazing the small child thing has extremely long reaching arms? I assume this is something only parents understand.
We are called into separate offices at the same time, though they leave the doors open. Thus for 30 minutes I listen to the small child scream and the parents coo and I wonder, in that moment, if I understand anything at all.