I went to the doctor's office today. As usual, I was 10 minutes late, and there was a 40-minute wait.

Sometimes I wonder whether they penalize you extra if you get there late. Like, if I would've shown up 5 minutes EARLY, would I have gone straight back to see the doctor on time? Do they highlight your name and auto-bump you 10 people down if you show up late, just to teach you a lesson? I'm always afraid of the latter, so I write down 1 minute before the appointment time on the “TIME IN” section of the sign-in sheet, even if I show up 15 minutes late. The problem is, I'm pretty sure EVERYONE ELSE does this too. The sign-in sheet is like one collective forgery of perfection.

“Look nurse, everyone in the room showed up exactly 1 minute before their appointment! GIVE US CANDY! The dentist kind, please! …No, I know this is a doctor's office. That's why you give out even better candy here, because you won't have to deal with the consequences–the dentist will. Seriously, this is not a watch, it's an ATOMIC CLOCK.”

I'm also pretty sure the wait is never as long as I think it is. Like if I show up at 2:45 for a 2:30 appointment, by the time it's 3pm, I very well might accuse the staff of a 30-minute delay. Hey, unless they can prove that I would've gone straight back at 2:30 had I shown up early, I figure there was is a ghost of me who's grown 30 minutes impatient. I like to think of this ghost as my “outpatient.”

One of my big ongoing regrets in life is not being able to finish the magazine articles I start in the waiting room. Right now, there are at least 65 articles I really wanted to finish when suddenly I was rudely interrupted by/thankful to finally hear “WILLIAM SULLIVAN!” Doctor's offices should allow patients two “Magazine Timeouts” every year. To take a magazine timeout, you simply hold one hand vertically and use the other hand to put the magazine horizontally on top of it. Then you yell “Magazine timeout!!” and go confer with the nurse whether you want to use your 5 or 10-minute timeout for the year. House rules for this game include yelling out the name of the magazine + “timeout,” and yelling out the name of the magazine and the article title (super embarassing).

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