Here in the Meowhold we’re sporting his-and-hers sinus infections. It’s not the first time this happens, either– there is something in the air around here that makes this a holiday occurrence, alas. So we made back-to-back doctor appointments so we could both get our antibiotics and put the beasties behind us at the same time.
When I was summoned to the exam room to have my vitals taken, I was helped by a very nice staff woman who warmly asked me about my Christmas and holiday fun.
Now, despite my acknowledgment to whoever will listen about being an introvert, I’m actually quite good at small talk: I can talk to most strangers about banal subjects like impertinent doors that don’t stay open; the weather; obnoxious people who don’t say hello; whether a color is flattering to their skin tone; and where you can get a cheap manicure, if I happen to know. I can do interactions in small blocks and I always find it very fun to do so because people can be surprisingly open with strangers. The tricky part for me is interacting with people in the longer term: that’s where my introversion and need to re-energize by myself start raising red flags and checkered flags and any flags within reach.
Anyway. I was not aware that in the time it takes to have your temperature, weight, blood pressure and recent health history recorded a person can tell you ALL their marital woes, with far more detail that you could ever imagine possible.
For reasons I can’t quite explain (privacy? really?) I will only give you some vague details of this woman’s story: her husband cheated and got mistress pregnant. They had a baby. Husband confessed. She kicked him out. Didn’t leave him. They are back together, sort of.
There I was, crinkling with every uncomfortable shift on top of the sanitary paper of the exam table and innocently waiting for someone to give me something to break down the peptidoglycan-sheathed monsters in my head; and there she was, trusting me with her sadness and her hope and her pain.
I listened, and I guess that was enough for her. And just as quickly as she blew into my life, she efficiently marched out.
And now I am left to wonder what will become of those four lives– wife and cheating husband, mistress, young child.