The waiting room


I write this while sitting in the waiting area of a medical office, waiting for Partner to have a two-hour test.  There is a TV in the corner (tuned to MSNBC). We are all sitting numbly and basking in its glow.



(In my youth, back in the 1950s and 1960s, doctors and dentists had aquariums full of all kinds of crazy colorful creatures in their waiting rooms. The aquariums served the same purpose that televisions do today.)



The people in the waiting room can’t control the channel changer, which – I think – makes them droopy and inattentive.  This is exactly what TV viewing was like in my youth: no control.  You had your choice of a couple of things – three or four channels at most – and you made the best of it.



But here I am, tapping away on my iPad.  I can write, send emails, surf the Net. I’m free!



Quick visual survey of the area: two magazine readers, three book readers, one iPod, one person actually watching the TV.  There’s a surprising lack of representation from the iPhone / Blackberry community.  (The stats just changed: one book reader just put down his Grisham and moved in front of the TV screen.  Evidently he wanted to hear the story about Lady Gaga.)



Years of television exposure have made me TV-aware.  I can’t help listening to the television, even when I have my back to the set and am trying to think about something else. MSNBC is moderately relaxing for me because I can live with most of the opinions presented; I can live without the visual content, however, as most of their presenters look like they were hit in the face with a two-by-four. 



(But – you know? – I miss the days when doctors and dentists had aquariums.)



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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