I had an appointment today to have an eye exam in preparation for getting some glasses. The appointment was tucked into the midst of several errands so I anticipated a full morning. The appointment was scheduled for 10:05 am. I thought it odd when they set that time a few weeks go, but as I thought about it I came to view it as a promise of precision and efficiency. Still, I arrived at 9:40, hoping to get in a few minutes early. I know from experience that eye exams take, on average, 20-30 minutes.
As I arrived in the waiting room I noted it was filled with people … old people … many with canes … mostly women. The ophthalmology department shares space with a couple of other departments so I didn’t think much of it. I sat down, pulled out my e-tablet and began to read. My attention was captured by the voice of the lady behind me as she voiced a complaint … to no one in particular that I could see. She was clearly agitated as she said, “I can’t believe that they are going to make me sit her for hours again. I’ve got better things to do than sit here on my ______ and pass the time of day while I wait for the ___________ nurse to sashay out here and call my name. Running a little behind, they say. You have to be kidding. An hour is a bit more than a little behind” … and so on and so forth. I kid you not, those were her words and while she was not talking to anyone in particular, she was talking loud enough for anyone within six feet of her to hear and understand clearly. Some of those who heard smiled benignly, others just seemed to ignore it. I sat there and thought to myself, “Crabby old woman …..”
It wasn’t long after this outburst that the nurse sashayed out and called her name. She struggled to get out of her chair, grabbed her cane and limped across the floor. “How are you today Mrs. __________?”, inquired the nurse cheerily. I didn’t hear what crabby old woman said, but the nurse responded with a smile (God bless her) and said, “Yes, I’m sorry, we are running just a little behind today.”
I settled back into reading on my e-tablet.
Two-and-a-half hours later, I left the Medical Associates building at the conclusion of my eye exam. As I walked across the parking lot I was heard to say … to no one in particular: “I can’t believe I just waited 2-1/2 hours for a 20 minute procedure. This is ridiculous, I’ve wasted the whole morning.” Then I heard a small voice, just barely discernible above my grumbling and it said only three words: “Crabby old man”