How to Play the Game- A Guide to not Wasting Time

By gracedoughty

Sitting on the oversize chairs, you wait in the room full of other weary, tired patients. They too are waiting, maybe for the same person. You sit there wondering if this will delay your schedule if they too are patients of Dr Robertson. They sit there wondering the same thing. A woman appears from behind the desk and calls an unusual name and all ears in the room become alert. A woman seated a few rows behind gets up and at the same time you can hear the rest of the room let out a sigh knowing they will have to wait. This waiting game becomes a sort of competition between the remaining patients. The game works in three parts.

Round one of the game entails the judgment of the other patients. Knowing the other competitors allows you to see where you place on the list of most urgently in need. Eyeing each other up it becomes obvious who rates the sickliest. It becomes a method of surveillance to deduct the hypochondriacs from the people who have only just been given that day off and landed themselves at the doctors. It’s easy to spot the really ill children from the ones who just wanted to miss school only to be dragged to the clinic by an overprotective mother.

Round two deciding who is your enemy. This is crucial in deciding who else is in your zone, which else is seeing your Dr and how far ahead they are on the waiting list.
The woman seated next to you wearing a tight knitted wrap is fiddling with her bag coughing and spluttering trying to find her tissues. Her wrist is sporting a chunky, gold watch and the matching ring tells me she’s not doing too badly. She’s maybe mid sixties and by the looks of her perfectly manicured hand waving her tissues around, hasn’t dealt with children in a long time. So, that rules her out of seeing the favourite family practitioner, Dr Robertson.
The man in the corner has an over dramatic pained look on his face and he sits there contorting his body, stretching his neck back and forth like a pendulum. The look on his face could easily be mistake as some sort of horrific disfigurement by the way he keeps twisting his mouth as though in agony, but then again it is unmistakably the classic mid thirties man with your standard headache. If this man happened to be called before you, it wouldn’t be a problem because within five minutes he would be walking back out with a packet of panadol.
With eyes that seem to be constantly weeping and a dry raspy kind of breath, the man opposite you seems to be the sickest person here, but although by the looks of things he was in need of serious medical consultation he may not be after the same person as you are.
You look around to the best of your ability without looking obvious and spy the final and most deadly opponent. The mother of three is sitting wearily next to the kid’s bookshelf where three pairs of dirty hands are rummaging through the plastic box of toys. She sits there flicking aimlessly through a magazine while the only boy amoung the children pretends to drive a toy truck up and down her crossed leg. The two girls are sniffly and are sporting throaty coughs but find no need in covering their mouths when letting out a nice spray of phlegm. You begin to hope that your child’s stomach cramps will succeed in being deemed more urgent than this troops typical November cold. You know the routine for the mothers with a small army of children under about age seven. When one child becomes ill it turns into a family trip to the doctor where after the only actually ill child is prescribed a sweet tasting liquid the mother suggests that this would be a good time for the Doc to take a ‘quick’ look at the rest of the family.

Round three consists of stealth. The only catch of the waiting game is that it is difficult to tell who else is playing. There are signs amoung the patients that allow the stealthier of us to suss things out. The pile of magazines always located in the middle of room act as a distraction from the game for most people but can also be used as an easy way to get a look at your components. You sit there and watch as a woman bent down to the table to take a magazine. Her eyes were everywhere but on the pile of magazines she was ruffling through, she was instead looking around the room at the other patients. This confirms your belief that she was also aware of the craftiness involved in waiting. As you watched her, you see her twice pull her sweatshirt sleeves up in a careless way, although you know she had her eye keenly on the silver watched on her left wrist. Another way in which the woman was trying to deceive us other game players was by acting a lot sicker then she really was. A good amount of groaning and mumbling lets the patient play the actor and use his/her many talents to act as the person with that rare disease that everyone else in the room wonders about. She was very good but you knew that my arriving a good twenty minutes ago assured you a place before her.

As the short woman behind the counter came with her clipboard of names, once again the ears of many patients became pricked as they listened for their name. As she reads your name out you get up casually as not to look too proud at the fact that you just beat the mother of three and instead smiled apologetically like you really are sorry that the rest of the room was still waiting.

How to Play the Game- A Guide to not Wasting Time

Created: Jun 14, 2010


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