Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Waiting Room

The first thing that strikes me whenever I visit Dr. Howard Rosenberg's dental office is the decor. It's just so Nineteen Sixties Moderne, for want of a better description. Everything from the hanging lamps to the dark paneled walls with the strange geometric mirror panels to the black upholstery looks like it was done by a decorator trying to impress decorators rather than to sooth the nerves of aprehensive patients contemplating uncomfortable dental procedures. The only thing that's changed in the nearly forty years that I've been visiting the place? The ashtrays are gone. Now you have to tell the receptionist that you're stepping outside for a smoke.

Howard maintains a fairly decent supply of up to date magazines, but somehow sitting there with the beginnings of a toothache, reading wasn't much of a priority. Also, I hate getting halfway through an article when I'm called into the inner sanctum, never finishing the story. Some people just steal the magazine, I suppose. Others, like me, just don't bother to start.

One odd thing to me about medical waiting rooms is that nobody ever starts up a conversation with anybody else. Nor do you ever really get to meet anybody new there. Even people coming there together never seem to be talking with one another, and if you run into somebody that you do know the conversation is reduced to the most perfunctory of verbal exchange, not much beyond "How's Sally and the kids?" I sat there another few minutes admiring the decor and then it was my turn.

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