This past week, each day at the same time, I sat in a waiting room. With folks who were waiting for chemotherapy and/or radiation. Or waiting for their loved ones who were having these treatments. I was waiting for someone.
They all know each other. Like a club. I told my brother it’s like they have their own clique thing going on.
Day One: I walk in and find a chair. Don’t say anything to anyone. I don’t know the drill. I did give a sort of a half smile. But I didn’t feel much like chatting. The previous week had been a long one so I was welcoming a short rest of nothingness.
Day Two: I hear bits and pieces. I pick up names and spirited conversation about college basketball between a nonagenarian and septuagenarian. Georgetown, Villanova (pronounced Villanover by one of them), P.C., Kentucky and others. Predictions on who will win and who will lose. I hear terms like dark horse, sweep and seed.
Day Three: They say hello to me. I respond in a cheerful manner. Then sit back and absorb the background chatter.
Vic is ninety two years old of Italian descent.
Ron’s grandmother had Russian background. Sounds like his dad’s side were Swamp Yankees.
Vic has two children. A daughter and son.
Ron, seventy nine years old, lost two siblings at young ages. I think one was forty nine years old and the other in her fifties.
Vic walks three miles a day.
Vic has an older sister in her nineties who was in perfect health until she fell. Now she is in a nursing home.
Ron is there for treatment for kidney cancer. One was removed.
Vic accompanies his wife. She put off seeing a doctor because she was scared. She acknowledged that was a big mistake.
Vic said he does things/jobs around the house but never, ever tells his son. His son doesn’t want him doing anything.
Day Four: Same. Nice greeting. There are other people that are a part of this daily group. But Ron’s the loudest and I like that he asks everyone lots of questions. Saves me the trouble while also satiating my curiosity. I now know a lot about the folks in that room. And just how many chemo or radiation sessions everyone has left.
On this day I hear Vic telling Ron, “I always walk away from negativity. All my life I just walked away from it.”
Ron laughingly responds with, “And that is why you are ninety two and in great health!”
Vic says, “Even if guys are arguing about sports I just tell them that they’re right. And I walk away. Because you’re never gonna change their minds.”
Ron said, “You’re absolutely right. You’ve got a great attitude.”
I have been thinking a lot about the waiting room conversations.
You’d think it would be one of the most depressing, negative places in the world.
We know life is funny. And not always in a “ha, ha” way.
It can slap us around a little. Or maybe even a lot.
We can’t avoid the slaps but we can choose to walk away from some of the negativity that surrounds them.