Medusa’s Musings
Published in

Medusa’s Musings

The One with the Waiting Room

What did people do before smartphones. I wasn’t “people” before smartphones, I was a kid, I just played.

What did the adults do? Did they flip through germ-infested magazines? Did they look at each other and try to match each person to a specialty, like you do at airports when you try to match people to their nationalities?

Woman squinting at the screen: ophthalmologist, one would hope. Or maybe she’s tired of waiting and is currently checking her symptoms against Google’s diagnosis: trouble sleeping? check. Headaches? check. Lost weight? check. Google says it can be iron deficiency or cancer. Google always says it’s cancer. She puts the phone away and stares at door 7 with resignation. Smart choice. Best to wait for the GP’s opinion.

The man trying (to no avail) not to scratch the inside of his elbow while talking on the phone. Tough one. Could be a fellow victim of eczema waiting for the dermatologist, or… it’s a trap! He’s not a patient, he’s waiting for someone. Bingo, he cuts the phone call short as a tall blonde comes down the hall.

Teenage couple with matching Adidas sneakers and bored expressions: gynecologist, she needs the prescription for the pill. Surely enough, she goes in and comes out two minutes later brandishing a tiny white page. I feel vindicated, like when you guess “french” at the airport just before they open their mouths and gag on the words. Score.

A man comes in with three boys that feel like ten. He says what we are all thinking “God you’re annoying” but somehow when he says it, we all look down abashed. The little rascals seem to be close in age, I’m not good at guessing ages (apparently I’m much better at guessing ailments) but they’re a head apart. Boy one is four heads tall, Boy two is five heads tall and Boy three is six and a quarter heads tall. Yes, I may be the first person to measure a kid’s height in heads, but to be fair… Americans measure in feet. Heads seem less condescending.

Granted they’re not actual feet. 1 foot is 30cm aprox. That would be a gigantic foot. My very normal foot is about 18cm long. I guess BigFoot wanted to leave us something before he disappeared…

I am evidently still sitting in the waiting room. I have somehow made it from boys to BigFoot. It’s a talent.

The sun is descending through the windows behind me, painting everything with a golden hue. Anywhere else, it’d be beautiful, but Medical Centers are not beautiful. Some try. I remember one I went to as a kid that had tons of artwork on the wall. It was still not a “pretty” place. This one doesn’t even try.

It has faded photo-like paintings of horses. Who thinks “medical center” and says “horses”? A quick Google search reveals horses symbolize freedom. This has got to be a joke. Here you are sitting in a very enclosed space, prisoner to a waiting list you don’t see (you never know who around you is in front of you, unless you have my special talent for matching people to doctors)… prey to the fear that something is maybe not okay… you do not feel free.

I mean technically you are free to leave, but those appointments are hard to get. Alternatively horses mean power. Again… really?

Or maybe it’s a wishful-thinking kind of thing. I show you horses so your subconscious thinks freedom and power! I call you “patient” so your subconscious embodies it?

A woman with fun sneakers stands up. They have two sets of polka dots, the side is beige dots on blue, the tongue is blue dots on beige. She is not young but her shoes and her walk are totally adolescent. She has a very specific swagger as she passes us all on the way to the ob-gyn, the weight shifted slightly back, kind of like boys in teenage rom-coms as they saunter up to the girl they like. She doesn’t look like a teenage boy, she just walks like one. The door closes and my attention shifts to the other cellmates.

A blond woman walks in, I’m guessing… forties? She has tiny feet encased in tiny black boots, tight blue jeans and a loose salmon-colored shirt, accessorized with a crystal pendant and dangly earrings. She thinks she is a cool mum. Maybe she is.

The gynaecologist leaves the door open between patients. Maybe she feels trapped too, she is after all staring into tight spaces all day. They should get her some horse photos too.

If we’re talking doctors, there is one thing I’ve noticed. I haven’t made sense of it yet… Echograph and mammogram docs… are the only doctors that look like part of the Grey’s Anatomy cast. Echo doc numero uno has these-are-totally-my-natural-highlights blond hair, and tanned skin that looks tan even under these hideous lights and it may or may not be her real nose, but it’s gorgeous. Echo doc numero dos wasn’t in today, but I know him because I saw him when I had to get one. He’s tall and has a haircut that screams LA-movie star and women go crazy for him. The way they strut in, with their makeup and push up bras, you’d think they were going to a high school reunion (pre-Facebook days).

Mammogram doc isn’t hot exactly, but she’s very cool: ripped jeans, black army boots, cropped curly hair, red framed glasses, I bet she has some cool hidden talent like opening a beer bottle with a spoon.

No offense to the other doctors, but they just look like doctors… normal people in white coats.

I feel like I’ve been sitting here forever. People come and people go and I’m still sitting here. My phone, my only loyal companion through all this is almost out of battery.


I barely register the sound, but some lingering survival instinct makes me look up from my phone. I notice there’s a new cellmate sitting next to me. He’s leaning in, tousled hair, wide grin, he’s good looking and knows it. Ugh.

“Hey” he whispers, leaning closer.

I inch away. I don’t know why he’s here.

“You look like you’ve been here a while” he starts

The hell does that mean. Do I look sick? Have the horse pictures worked? Do I look free and strong? I scan him quickly but apparently not subtly, his smugness becomes a palpable thing. I’m not checking you out, I’m identifying if you are contagious.

“Sorry?” I ask, infusing the monosyllabic response with just enough irritation to dissuade further interaction.

“Are you bored?” he says. I maybe roll my eyes. He laughs. He has a great laugh. Do not fall for Ken at the Medical Center. You are not that bored. Yes, yes I am. He suggests we play a game: guess who’s going to which door. “Don’t worry,” he says “we’ll keep it light, skip the ones that look serious”.

He is really bad at this game. It’s kind of funny. I think of the story we’ll tell. We met at the doctor’s. A gem between germs — the stuff of hallmark love stories.

Kidding, Ken got called in 15' later, and I never saw him again.



Short stories about the love and longing — and the random things I notice, walking around the city

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

Slow runner, fast walker. I have dreamed in different languages. I read a lot. Yes, my curls are real.