Yesterday we went to the medical center for a diagnostic test. This is, of course, always a treat for anyone. As usual, we had been told to arrive 30 minutes early; I have never understood this instruction: Why should we be there a half hour before anything happens? But we were there, 35 minutes early, in fact. We went where we were supposed to go, per instructions; then we found we were in the wrong place. After awhile we were walked to the right place, where we sat in a tiny room with 8 other people who were also there half an hour early. The "security door" was opened by everyone who went in and out of the secure area, and it screeched every single time it was opened, approximately 3 times per minute. It provided no security for anyone but was very loud.
We waited 25 minutes past the appointed time, inhaling as many cough & cold germs as we were able in the tiny waiting-for-illness room. Then the one of us who was not having the test went back to the lobby and got coffee and began to read. In so doing I happened upon a melange of human beings who were also in the medical center for their own or a companion's test or treatment. To my delight, I found that a great variety of people came and went. There were people who appeared healthy and people who were hurting or distressed in some way. There were very old people, often assisted by someone else - sometimes even by someone else who appeared to be as old. There were young people. There were people of what we think/speak of as different races, and some of apparent different ethnicities. There were people who appeared impoverished, and people who were very well-dressed and apparently affluent.
There was also the very nice woman who made lattes and served coffee, who applied a senior citizen discount to my purchase without asking my age (she was correct). It struck me that she knew that I was distracted simply by being in a hospital - no one goes there for fun, or rather very few do. She did a thoughtful, unasked favor. And there was also a man, a customer like me, who made a kind comment - unasked and unexpected.
The time waiting was, then, not time wasted or disturbed/disheartening time. It was time shared with many other people, most of whom would not have ticked off "at the hospital" as a preferred manner of spending time, but who enriched my day. I hope some of them felt the same.