How do I know when I've waited long enough in a waiting room?
Just after Macy Gray begins singing in "Spider-Man" and before the Green Goblin attacks the World Unity Day Festival on the TV in Dr. Lackman's waiting room, she walks in.
She, with a black-and-white patterned dress that's two inches above her knees. She, who works black heels very, very well, even though black isn't my favorite color for heels.
I don't try to approach her. She sits in one of the chairs across from me, with the second-most perfect pair of legs I've seen in my life, the first being when Stefanie Markham flirted with me in 11th grade at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel school newspaper awards, which included a block of time for the Teentime section, for which I wrote, and which was in the back of their weekend Showtime section every Friday. She subtly touched her crossed legs against one of my black pant legs and though I was quiet, I noticed.
This woman is most likely approaching 30. I've nothing against that, but I'm not interested. I prefer the things people don't always notice because they're busy with other things. It's like the scene in the "Something About You" music video by Level 42 where the man walks out of the great, cavernous, historical hall in pursuit of the woman. He walks quickly down the steps to her. I notice the background, the architecture.
A construction worker is sitting two seats away from me. I learn that he's a construction worker when he approaches the woman with the pretense that he's noticed her cell phone, and uses some kind of device or a cover that keeps it protected. I half-listen to their conversation while my eyes are quick-stepping through the collection of thoughts in "Resident Alien: The New York Diaries" by Quentin Crisp. I started the book when my parents and I got to the waiting room, my mom there because of what she thought was an adverse reaction to the medication they prescribed to her to recover from having two wisdom teeth pulled. She experienced great, grasping pain in her chest earlier in the day, and the water she had drank over time was only coming out in the tiniest amount, leading her to believe that her kidneys were not working properly. It's not medical paranoia, but this had been going on since Thursday, when she had the wisdom teeth pulled. It was the same thing with the sinus surgery she had a few years ago. It took her longer to recover than most patients would. It stems from when she had Gullian-Barre Syndrome before her 20s, a nerve-weakening disease. It weakened many other parts of her system as well. I find out after we leave the waiting room that it's the anesthesia that caused the problems she's having. The doctor told her to just let it pass, let it work its way through. It's really the only thing she can do.
Back to the waiting room and the book. By this time, at the climax of "Spider-Man" when the Green Goblin commands Peter Parker to choose between the suspended cable car full of kids or Mary Jane, I'm three-quarters of the way through the book. I began reading when I was 2 years old and have been speed-reading ever since. My 3rd grade teacher actually called my parents in for a conference because he was concerned that I was reading on a level miles ABOVE my classmates.
The combination of listening to the conversation between the construction worker and the brunette woman, and reading my book, and the volume at which "Spider-Man" can be heard is becoming distracting all at once. I'm not wishing that I was the construction worker. When he first sat down next to her, I heard her talk and she sounded like she was a little past the beginning of her 30s. I found then that the cliche was true: Women are like fine wine. They get better with age. I thought I had it good when I was in 8th grade and sat next to Monica Haynick in math class, sneaking looks at her pantyhosed legs, grateful for the alternative to another boring math lesson. We talked regularly enough that we had a good rapport---she always had some kind of boyfriend trouble---but I honestly think those legs got me through that semester of math without me going crazy.
But now, this woman across from me, it's an incredible change. I get to see this now? I like this!
Anyway, I don't want the world to shut up for a few minutes so I can read the rest of the book, but I am getting tired of it now being at least an hour and 10 minutes since we got there. At that moment, unbeknownst to me, Mom and Dad are finishing up with the doctor. He's probably advising her what to do, to let the ill feeling work its way through. In the waiting room, I find that the next paragraph has become excruciatingly-slow. My eyes aren't speeding past the words, still retaining the meaning of what I'm reading. I need to get out of this room. I imagine that based on the easy conversation between the construction worker and the woman, there might be a date to follow. He mentions his daughters, and I think of the possibilities: Either he's divorced, or this really is just a conversation about a quality cell phone case. She's beautiful, with a suspicious kind of stare, but it doesn't seem like she's dating anyone or is married. She seems like the type that believes it'll happen when it happens, or even if it happens, but she's not concerned about it. I admire the man, though. He has the guts I never had in middle and high school, and probably still don't, but now it's by choice and not hormones.
Finally, just when I believe that one more minute in this bureaucrat's dream of a waiting room will make my head explode and add new colors to the carpet, Mom and Dad come out. We have to go downstairs to the waiting room there because Mom has to get an x-ray done and blood taken. Well, at least it's a different waiting room. And it doesn't look like it'll take as long as before.