Tellin’ Times for Modern Man

Here is a little creative, metaphorical, short-story for ya… enjoy


modern man

(Edvard Munch self-portrait completed at age 18 in cerca 1881)


I took a seat near the window to soak up the little sunlight the sky offered. More importantly I aimed to avoid the bickering mother and son sitting in the only row of seats that were mostly empty. I immediately took my phone out. I had already checked my email twice this morning and it wasn’t even 10am, but maybe something important came up between the time of me sitting in the office parking lot and me taking a seat inside. Nope. Nada. I noticed the shoes of the man sitting next to me and looked up their price. Cheap shoes, cheap man. I thought about everything I needed to do today. Errands, phone calls, planning the upcoming work week, and hopefully making my exercise class I missed the past two weeks. Been too busy. What about food? I always plan out my meals. I have to set aside time to go eat, or I’ll forget. Too busy. If I don’t distract myself I’ll just think about all the things I could be and should be doing instead of wasting time in this waiting room. I look at the table top full of magazines. No thanks PEOPLE, I don’t care about Johnny Depp’s personal life. I pick up the Sports Illustrated and read about the NBA playoffs. I haven’t watched a full game in years. Probably not since cousin Randy used to have everyone over for the important games, like big rivalries, championships, Olympics… etc. The nurse steps in and calls another name that isn’t mine. I shake my head and proceed to flip through the pages I don’t care about. I put down the magazine. I pull my phone out and check my email once more. I mistype my password the first time because I get distracted by the man that walked into the office. So loud. As if the receptionist was standing a football field away from him. Surely he knows he’s talking so loudly and obnoxiously. He definitely just wants people to know he’s here. I turn my head back to my loading messages. One email. Another vacation deal website that I don’t think I’ll ever figure out how to unsubscribe. The man sits down a few seats from me. He smiles. I look outside. There’s a squirrel in the tree right outside the window. It’s skittish, hopping from branch to branch. After a minute, I pickup another magazine off the table. Wildlife. I read about the best fishing areas in the state and the best rods to use. Not as if I’d ever have time to go fish in these spots, but the pictures of the fish are nice to look at. The nurse comes in and calls the man’s name next to me. I’m confused. And aggravated. He showed up after me. I wonder how his appointment could be before mine. What time was my appointment again? Not really sure but it had to be before his. At least thirty minutes before. I stand up and angrily walk over to the counter. I asked the smiling lady why I haven’t been called back yet, and she asked what time my appointment was for. “I forgot exactly what time it was for, but I’ve been here for long enough to get called back,” I said. “Absolutely sir, what’s your name? I’ll look it up,” she responds. “Welch. Chris Welch” I say convincingly. She looks at the screen after typing. Then she types again and looks puzzled. “Well Mr. Welch…”. I hate how she says my name, she exaggerates the ch, making it sound too much like belch. “I don’t have you on the schedule for today,” she continues. “Really?” I ask. “Yes, I actually don’t have you on the system at all, sir,” she says being overly respectful. “Do you remember when you set up this appointment?” she asks as I try and rack my brain for the answer. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t think of when I had my last appointment. Or maybe I called and made this appointment over the phone and not at the office. But what for? What was bothering me? Surely the doctor’s name would drag my memory. I quickly look at the platelets of doctor names on the wall to the side of the counter beside the door. None of these names looked familiar. The smiling lady sat there confused but pleasant. “Thank you, I’ll call back if I have an issue,” I say as I turn and walk out the door. I sit in my car and see the same squirrel in a different tree. Why did I walk in this morning?

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