Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The waiting game

You get all sorts in hospital waiting rooms, don’t you? From teenage mums to old ladies who sniff a lot, all of life can be found on those moulded plastic seats. All lumped together waiting for our names to be called out and most probably mispronounced. Ex-boxers, Sunday League footballers, Muslims, nuns and blokes who write blogs about sitting in hospital waiting rooms. We’re all there like a big bag of human pick ‘n’ mix. But of all the people you find in the hospital waiting room it’s the tutters and the eye rollers that get my goat. Them and their close cousins, the watch tappers and head shakers. They sit there fussing and cussing, working themselves up into an unshakeable state of agitation. “I don’t like to complain,” they lie, before going on to give the NHS the kind of verbal beating David Cameron’s speechwriters would give their MacBook Pro to have written. But do these tutters not understand what the word ‘waiting’ in waiting room means? Were they expecting to be fast-tracked through like their surname was Beckham or something? And not one of them thought to bring a book or a magazine. Or some knitting. Or an NHS doctor voodoo doll and pins. There are far better things to do with your eyes whilst you’re waiting than roll them. I use mine to people watch. Sitting opposite me last time was a man in his early 40’s with the unremarkable and instantly forgettable features of a black cab driver. I like to think he spends his Saturdays in town centre pubs, dressed in a morning suit, pretending to cry into his beer and telling any ladies who will listen that he’s just been jilted at the aisle. So far this ploy has led to 3 sympathy shags with 3 different women. Sat next to Jilted John in the waiting room was a younger woman nervously playing with the zip on her anorak. I had her down as a Secondary School history teacher who thinks her pupils don’t believe anything she says. And now her self-confidence is so low she’s starting to think that maybe some of the stuff she teaches them is a bit far fetched. Perhaps the kids are right? History is kind of unbelievable. How do we really know it happened? Those were just two of the people in the waiting room with me. For me every one of my fellow patients has their own story. So I don’t think waiting rooms are boring. It just depends how you look at them.