08-01-13

A two hour queue at the blood test clinic. Standing room only for all consultations. A young mother lets her baby daughter sit on the floor. “It’s none of your business,” she says when an older man berates her for her actions. The tedium of waiting gets to us all. As the young mother said, the baby wasn’t doing any harm. Across from each other, two middle aged women stare at e-readers. One of them is me. It is a haven, this queue to see a nurse, this two hour stretch of almost uninterrupted reading, with a warm radiator to my back. If only I could do this every day. Not so much the needle stuck in my arm at the end of the two hour wait, but to have two hours every day, sitting with a warm radiator at my back, reading and being anonymous. Anonymity is the key. At the end of the wait, the clench of fist, the scratch on the arm, the drawing of blood, all takes the tiniest fraction of the time spent waiting. It must be the things in between that slow it all down. The movement of people. The necessary marking of charts.

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