Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.
Honestly, I tend to play games like Sudoku or Royal Match on my phone when I’m sitting in a waiting room. Cell phones are fantastic for moments like this.
If there’s something about the appointment that makes me feel anxious, games keep me calm before the receptionist calls my name.
Reading a book on my phone can also be distracting if I know it’s going to be a while until they’re ready for me.
Not every waiting room allows cell phones or is a good place to use one, though.
Years ago I had an appointment and was warned in advance that cell phones were not permitted in that building. (It was a passport renewal thing, so security was quite strict about enforcing that rule).
When electronic distractions aren’t allowed or aren’t a good idea for other reasons, I like to people watch. People are fascinating.
I like to pay attention to what others wore that day and how they styled their hair. You might see people dressed very casually and loosely at a doctor’s office, especially if they’re soon going to need to take a certain article of clothing off so the nurse can check their stitches, vaccinate them, or do some other minor medical work.
Body language and tone of voice matter, too. You might hear someone switch between languages as they translate for a loved one or speak a little quieter or louder than necessary because maybe they’re not used to being in a doctor’s office, bank, lawyer’s office, or any other number of places.
Sometimes I silently think of a compliment I’d give to every single person in the room. It could be about their cool shoes, or how they immediately stood up and offered their seat to a stranger who had mobility problems, or anything else I can observe without asking them any questions. (I don’t share these thoughts as I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable!)
I also try to keep track of who arrived there before I did and about how many minutes it has been between each person being called up for their turn. This can give me an estimate of how long my wait time might be if the room is small enough for this sort of mental game.
If there are too many people to keep track of – or if I’m more or less alone in the waiting room – I try to memorize as many details about it as possible using all of my senses. For example, what colour are the chairs? What does the room smell like, if anything? Can I hear any machines being used in the rooms whose doors are closed? Are there any mints at the receptionists’ desk, and would they allow me to take one on my way out?