Thursday, December 10, 2009

Family Business

I had always thought there was some unwritten rule about how to speak to friends and family in public spaces.  As the above trio got on the elevator this morning, I quickly realized they had never heard that rule and intuition told me they were going to the same doctor’s office I was.

I was at Washington Hospital Center for my annual eye exam.  It’s always an ordeal because my kindly ophthalmologist is perpetually way behind in seeing his patients.

I was feeling slightly guilty for being 5 minutes late, but then the woman laughed as she  got on the elevator about the fact that she was 20 minutes late.  She spoke in full voice as if they were the only ones in that small space.

As we all assumed our places in the waiting room, I noted once again the numerous signs prohibiting the use of cell phones.  Then this family proceeded to share their family business with all the patients waiting for their turn to see the doctor.

It was a man, his wife, and her father, who seemed newly arrived.  The elderly man took a key and went out to the bathroom, announcing as he returned “Everything came out just fine.”  His daughter then began to compile a grocery list, putting bran cereal right up there on top.  We even learned how frequently each of them went to the dentist. 

I kept wishing to trade these conversations for even two cell phone calls, knowing at least I would only have to hear one side of the conversation in those cases.

After a while I tuned them out and dozed off, my eyes full of drops by then.  I woke up to hear another person ranting about how chocolate was now often laced with lead.  Where in the world did that come from?

Finally (after waiting for well over an hour), it was my turn and I could escape from the waiting room conversations.  Fortunately my eyes are old, but no worse than they were a year ago.  A tiny cataract in my right eye remains just that.

So how do you feel about these people who don’t have the good sense to keep their family business among family?  Is the solution ear plugs?


Blogger Kristin said...

I generally pretend to ignore them while thinking about the story I'll be able to tell later.

9:13 AM  
Blogger lacochran said...

Thank them for the blog material.

The news is abuzz about the impending change to cell phone use on airplanes. Can you imagine what it's going to be like when everybody in coach is having their inane cell conversations at top volume?

It's time to invest in the stock of companies that make earplugs.

9:59 AM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Personally, I LOVE to eavesdrop. So, talk away.
Of course, if you see me in a waiting room be assured I will be hanging on every word. And I may even interject now and then. I gotta get my amusement somewhere.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gewels -- I'm not advocating being unfriendly to your fellow patients. Though there is an issue of conversing, not broadcasting, and some material may simply be inappropriate for group consumption!

2:31 PM  

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