Friday, May 10, 2013


A medical day for us had me sitting in the doctor’s waiting room—just observing. The procedure is that you sign in. That involves handing over, every time, one’s driver’s license and insurance card. These are Xeroxed, every time, and filed away. Then, having signed the sign-in sheet, one settles facing a translucent but still opaque glass door where the nurse will appear. When the nurse approaches from the other side, her shadow provides a welcome heads-up. The door then opens and one sees one of five or six different nurses, differently attired but each in uniform, and each is holding a clipboard. This is a large practice. Finally the nurse looks out over the waiting figures and says: “Annemarie?” “Lisa?” “Frederick?” — or something along those lines. After the nurse came and called “Brigitte?” I was left alone. The odd thought then occurred to me. You explain how such thoughts rise. It occurred to me that if Mr. Kipling had been an American and would have needed to visit our Dr. Larose, he would have signed in, would have been carded, and after a reasonable wait, the nurse appearing, as shadow, then as image, would have looked out over those waiting and would have called out: “Rudyard?”

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