Thanks to kidney cancer, blood clots, and the like, I’ve come to be a bit of an unofficial waiting room aficionado. In other words, I am the most (un)interesting man in the world.
Waiting rooms are to me what fine wines and cigars are to other (normal) people. Waiting rooms have their own particular ambiance. There’s a particular way they smell, sound, and feel. You’d be tempted to say they all smell, sound, and feel the same; but you’d be wrong. Trust me. Having been in as many as I have been, I’ve picked up on the nuances of the various
holding pens waiting rooms.
Upon entering one, I close my eyes, allowing the essence of the room to interact with my auditory and olfactory senses. Ah yes, I say quietly to myself, a vintage 1987 oncology waiting room. The light blue hues on the wall sluggishly trudge down the hallways, dragging the dated, 50-shades-of-gray (settle down, ladies) carpet along with it into every room.
Take a deep breath and you’re treated to a scent that can only be produced when that which is old and stale is forced to mingle with that which is just recently sprayed out of a Febreeze bottle. The mutant offspring of this scentsless affair (see what I did there?) isn’t what those Febreeze commercials would have you believe it is. Nay, my friends. It is more akin to the pungent fragrance that permeates a school bus full of adolescent boys who have layered some god-awful body spray on top of their sweaty lather following a basketball game.
It’s within that context that we sit. It’s always sobering for me. As my eyes transition from taking in the decor to glancing at the other folks sharing the space with me, that vintage ’87 atmosphere gets heavier.
Specifically within the oncology waiting room, there’s not a lot of talking. The only sounds you hear are faint whispers, awful music playing quietly over the speakers, and the turning of magazine pages as patients stare blankly at their contents.
We’re all just waiting. Waiting to go in to see the doc. Waiting for an update. Waiting for news. Waiting for what we hope is good news. Waiting for what we suspect is bad news. Waiting to see how bad the bad news is. Waiting after receiving our news because we have no idea how we’re going to tell others our news. Waiting.
Maybe it’s silly or stupid, but I find myself thinking about that room a lot, with its stupid walls and stupid carpet and stupid magazines and stupid music. Why? Because things started changing there and they’ll never go back.
Too often people (myself very much included) wait on this or that. They wait for approval from everyone they know before they act. They wait for the timing to be perfect before trying something. They want to be sure what they do won’t rock their boat. Or anyone else’s boat for that matter.
If there’s something you want to try, try it. If there’s something you want to create, create it. If there’s a problem you want to solve, try to solve it. Quit succumbing to the pressure to fit in, fly under the radar, and be representative of the status quo.
Stand up. Turn toward the door. Leave the freaking waiting room.