On the Tedium of Waiting


It’s been ten hours since I penciled my name onto my doctor’s patient ledger and one hour since I actually parked myself on one of the seats outside her clinic (following a thirty minute drive to the hospital from my house upon receipt of a text message alert from her secretary informing me that “only three patients” remained to be seen before me).

That only ten percent of the preceding ten hours was actually spent waiting on location, so to speak, was the result of having learned a valuable lesson during my first visit to this doctor, which was: be patient, yet vigilant, as if awaiting the return of Christ Himself. Abbey and I spent seven hours on hard plastic seats that first time, victims of the all-too human propensity to tolerate further suffering on the grounds that conceding defeat will invalidate all suffering already undergone (a tendency aptly described in the investment world as “throwing good money after bad”). We would have been better off just leaving after the second hour and coming back armed with tabloid magazines, emergency rations, instant coffee—and possibly a tent.

It appears, however, that I will have to revise my strategy even further. The urgency in the secretary’s communication notwithstanding, it appears I still have a long wait ahead. To say that “only three patients” remain is misleading if the doctor in question can spend anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours with a single patient (the latter having been the case with patient number 1). Options that present themselves to me include: (1) hijacking the doctor; (2) impersonating a patient before me; (3) intimidating the patients before me; and (4) finding another doctor.

Not too surprisingly, none of the above seems particularly attractive—which means that I’m stuck with my current strategy of waiting it out while trying to pass the time productively. I only hope my laptop battery las—

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