A hospital waiting room. My wife sits to my right, waiting on a routine visit. Nothing major. Run-of-the-mill stuff. Welcome to the land of medical care. There will be a co-pay.
And at the moment my wife is hypnotized by the corner television—which is tuned to a home improvement show.
The TV host, a hip guy in a tool-belt, is about to create vaulted ceilings in an average residential bathroom using only his ingenuity, a sledgehammer, and an off-camera 260-man contractor crew. My wife asks if I think our bathroom needs vaulted ceilings.
I do not.
To my left I see a couple, mid-30s. He looks like he works hard for a living—scuffed jeans and boots, weathered skin. The woman beside him, a strawberry blonde, bites her fingernails.
“It's cold in here,” she's saying.
“Yep,” he answers with a blank face.
She pets his hand then holds it. And while he stares straight ahead, she measures her tiny hand against his big one. One of Monet’s water lilies hangs behind them.
“Are you scared?” she asks.
eyes on the television.
On TV they're now using subway tiles for a kitchen backsplash instead of, I don’t know, non-subway tiles. The TV host is quite excited about this. These subway tiles are apparently a big deal to TV Guy. I get the feeling TV Guy wakes up in the morning and showers with his tool belt on.
My wife taps my shoulder. “I want one of those backsplashes."
The woman in the waiting room leans her head on the man's shoulder. He's gazing at the television, deep in thought. Maybe he wants a subway-tile backsplash, too.
The woman says, “I've been praying that the doctor can cut it all out while he's in there, I mean, every last bit.”
“Yeah,” says the unblinking man, letting out a sigh. He's in no mood to chat about whatever cutting he…