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Waiting Room

Waiting room. If I had to make a guess, and I might as well, I'd guess that I'll be here about 90 minutes before called back to a tedious series of empty-headed interviews. Pretty girl. Best ignored. Older man singing loudly in the corner, thanking his audience. He is seated. When he tries to rise, his son pushes him back down on the chair. Idiot on the telephone has just moved to El Paso, and lost her phone number, which she can't look up because it's unlisted. She's trying to determine her phone number from a payphone by negotiating with her phone service carrier. She cannot speak in a normal volume. Pretty girl. Best ignored. I have to fill out forms. I have to sit down. There is a man in the waiting room who is too bored to bother appearing bored. He is a veteran; he knows mental hospitals with the thoroughness of an experienced patient. He has spent 90 minutes in rooms like this, all over the country. Chances are good that he speaks no English, but we understand each other well enough. I sit next to him and work on my forms. He doesn't move.