Over the weekend the Hostile Alien Bacteria returned to my intestinal tract for the third time. This time I decided to go and see my real doctor, as opposed to The Only Doctor Who’s Open At 5:00 On Sundays When You Become Deathly Ill.
Fortunately I was able to get an appointment right away, but on the way there I was making up so many horrible stories in my mind (I’m going to be an invalid forever, They’re going to have to rush me to the hospital, my body is eating itself from the inside out) that by the time I arrived I was mere moments from full-blown hysteria.
After I checked in I decided to do some writing, because that usually helps me calm down. Just as I sat down and pulled out my notebook, an elderly gentleman somewhere between 70 or 80 entered the office. I didn’t really pay him any attention, until he started to speak.
Because this man was loud. He spoke IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. And by God, we were all going to benefit from his wisdom and wit, whether we wanted to or not. It was not that he was senile. It was more that he had a compulsive need to keep everyone’s attention on him at all times, in addition to being completely unable to entertain himself for more than 30 seconds at a time.
Perhaps sensing my need for some blog fodder, this gentleman sat down next to me. However thanks to my highly honed hermit sensitivities, I knew how to be polite without inviting any further contact; namely, smile gently but without making any actual eye contact.
But Excessively Loud Jolly Man was undaunted by my defenses. After he’d exhausted all possible greetings to the room at large he thought for a moment and then said, (to no one in particular), “YOU KNOW I TRY, BUT EVERY TIME I TRIM MY FINGERNAILS, I END UP CUTTING THOSE SUCKERS TOO SHORT.”
Dead silence in the waiting room, because what the hell do you say to that?, and also, maybe if we just pretend we can’t hear him, he’ll finally stop talking.
But unfortunately, we were not that lucky.
Because although his hearing seemed to be a bit impaired, his eyesight was keen enough to notice that I was writing, or in his mind, doing something that didn’t involve him, and so he was immediately compelled to get involved.
“MIGHT I ASK WHAT YOU’RE WRITING?” he inquired in a tone that at first glance seemed polite, but was actually designed to 1)make me feel bad for ignoring him, and 2)impress everyone in the room with his charming and witty manner.
I wasn’t really writing anything in particular, plus I really didn’t want to be in a conversation with this man, so I gave him a polite, but definitely a brush-off, kind of answer.
“I’m just doing a little writing practice,” I said, immediately turning back to my notebook in hopes that he would get the message to please, please just leave me the f*&% alone.
“I UNDERSTAND THAT, BUT WHAT ARE YOU WRITING?” (so clearly, he didn’t understand AT ALL).
“Well, you know how athletes have to practice their sport every day? I’m just practicing my writing.”
“I UNDERSTAND THAT, BUT ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT SOMETHING IN PARTICULAR?”
“Nope,” I said brightly, and went back to ignoring him.
Apparently that did the trick, because after that he left me alone. But unfortunately for everyone else, it meant that they were now the objects of his attention. And of course that meant that his next victim was…the woman in the wheelchair.
“MADAM,” he began, full of the confidence that he was only about to ask what we all wanted to know, but wouldn’t ask ourselves, as well as the confidence that we would all be so grateful to him for retrieving this information, “MIGHT I ASK WHAT YOU’RE DOING IN THAT WHEELCHAIR?”
Noticeable change in the room’s barometric pressure as we all gasp silently in horror.
But she was a polite, Southern woman, so she said, “Well, I’m just waiting to see the doctor.”
“WELL I UNDERSTAND THAT, BUT MIGHT I ASK HOW YOU ENDED UP THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE?”
Fortunately at that very moment, in what I can only describe as some extremely well-timed Divine Intervention, the nurse called my name and I bolted out of the waiting room.
Because it was only a matter of time before Excessively Loud Jolly Man noticed that I’d brought with me a stool sample, and we were all forced to hear,
“MIGHT I ASK WHY YOU’RE CARRYING AROUND A SACK OF YOUR OWN POO?”
Thank heavens for small mercies.