So I was hanging out in the waiting room with my laptop open sending emails and writing. In the waiting room we are all sitting at least six feet away from each other. I notice immediately that as usual I break the age median in the room. Most of the other folks are older folks 70’s and up. A few bantered about the wait for two hours and then chatted about the contrast – did you choose lemonade or fruit punch crystal light to spruce up the hospital cocktail? There was a very tall older fellow that had overalls I would have paid money for. I actually own a pair of similar overalls that I have had from college. He had brown work boots and a rough swagger to him. I could not see him as we sat along the same wall and a beam separated us. He was grumbling off and on.
Another older gentleman was called to receive his contrast. The nurse brings it out to yo in the waiting room. She always had two styrofoam cups stacked one on top of the other. Each time she came out every single one of use would try to take both cups from her and she would loudly state “Just take the top one”. This older man’s reply was a mumbled “you don’t have to speak so loud the whole world knows.” He took the top cup and then she asked if he would like lemonade or fruit punch. From the other side of the beam like a jazzed up middle schooler the overall man hollers “FRUIT PUNCH”. I couldn’t help but also chime in a vote for fruit punch although a little less enthusiastically. It was camaraderie among strangers in a pretty disempowering moment of life. I chuckled and went back to my writing.
A bit later the overall fellow was walking back to his seat and I caught his eye. Without missing a beat he leans forward and points to his hat and says “Read this.” My eyesight is not what it once was so I didn’t respond. He continues “Biden Sucks. That’s what it says. I wanted to get something more vulgar but my wife wouldn’t let me.” I paused and let silence fill the space. He went on “He really does”. My reply was “That’s interesting.” It is not in my emotional bucket to give such moments any energy and I went back to my writing. When it was my turn to go back I kindly wished him a good day and went on my way.
In reflection of that moment I have enjoyed playing out the alternative universe where I replied to him as the nurse came to get me for my CT scan: “ See this?” as I point to the silk face mask with boobs drawn on them in an abstract pattern, but boobs nonetheless. “They are boobs. That’s what they are. And my wife thinks my mask is great. Like, she thinks it’s really great.” (smile and exit with nurse stage left)