I walked through the door right at my appointment time, gave my name when the receptionist looked at me blankly, and sat down in the waiting room. Maybe this time, I won't really have to wait to go in. I should've brought a book-- I'd actually considered it-- but I don't carry a purse, and I couldn't picture what I'd do with it once I was sitting in the dentist's chair. My moleskine was in my pocket if I felt like writing, but for the moment I didn't.
Two older women were there when I arrived, strategically seated several chairs apart. I took a solitary chair on the opposite wall which blocked my view of the office clock but let me watch cars going by outside. There were magazines and pamphlets around, but the burgeoning germophobe in me wanted nothing to do with them.
I'll meditate. A few minutes later, I conceded how difficult meditating in a dentist's waiting room is when you know fillings are ahead of you. It was 70 degrees and sunny out, and I was stuck inside waiting to get my teeth drilled. On the sidewalk across the street, a middle-aged man walked by wearing hot pink garden clogs. You don't see that often here. Good for him. Barbara, one of the women also waiting, was called in. The other woman kept reading the paper. I looked at my watch and tried to remember how far ahead it was set.
I could draw something, I thought to myself, but I didn't feel like it. Instead I studied the chair Barbara had been sitting in and mentally drew it: the back, the arms, the legs, this one in front of that one, the piping around the seat cushion and finally the diamond pattern on it. I had found my meditation: diligent observation. The architecture I knew well, but I didn't usually view it from this side of the room, so I scrutinized the entryway. The building was rectangular, but the front window angles in to provide some overhead cover by the time you reach the door. It's a pretty clever design.
I jumped. A woman appeared in the doorway to the inner office beside me. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."
"No, that's all right. You just startled me a little bit," I said, trying to play down my initial reaction.
She lead me back to a smaller room and apologized for the wait: there had been an emergency. I lowered myself into the long reclined chair, she adjusted the head rest up and clipped a blue paper bib around my neck. "He'll be in in just a few minutes," she said. "The remote's there," she pointed, "Feel free to watch tv." She left and I looked around. I found a clock: it was 1:30. He was running a half hour late.
I turned the tv on, and clicked through the channels until I found an episode of Star Trek: DS9. After a couple of minutes, I recognized the episode and remembered how it resolved, so I shut the tv off.
A few minutes later when the dentist walked in, he also apologized, mentioning the emergency over lunch. (I wish their receptionist would mention when they are running late.) Because of it, he was only going to do one filling today.
"I was really hoping to get both done today," I said.
"Oh, is it for insurance?" he asked.
"No, I just wanted to get it over with. I really hate getting fillings."
He looked at something behind me. "Do you need to get back to somewhere any time soon?"
"Ok, we'll do both. It'll just set us back some."
If he thought that was going to make me feel guilty so I would relent, he was mistaken. He reclined my chair and held up his hands for me to see. "How do you like my blue gloves?"
"They're cool," I said half-heartedly because I didn't really care.
"Have you seen the Blue Man Group?" he asked, setting up his instruments.
"Yeah, I know them. Actually, I just flashed to-- have you ever seen the tv show Firefly?"
His eyes widened and he said, "Hands of blue, they come in two."
"Yes," I confirmed with some enthusiasm because it was obvious he had seen the show.
He was rightfully distressed by the association though, because the characters that wear blue gloves in Firefly are brutal, merciless killers. "I'm not like them," he assured me.
We talked a bit more about Firefly, and then he asked if I'd seen the new Battlestar Galactica series.
"I watched most of the second season, but I haven't seen all of the first."
"Ah," he said, "I watched the first season on DVD. They left me hanging with Ensign Ro telling Commander Adama what to do since season 2 isn't out on DVD yet."
"Right," I said, remembering last year's cliff-hanger. "You're mixing series," I pointed out.
"But you followed it anyway," he said appreciatively.
"Yeah." I knew without thinking who Ensign Ro was: a recurring character from Star Trek: TNG; it just took me a brief moment to make the connection that the Admiral from Battlestar Galactica was played by the same actress.
"She'll always be Ensign Ro to me," he concluded.
Maybe this won't be so bad after all.
tags: Firefly, Battlestar+Galactica, scifi+fans, dentist+appointment, meditation+while+waiting, Star+Trek:TNG, Ensign+Ro, anecdote