I’m shy, I admit that. But some days the world seems to conspire against me staying safely inside my little shell, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
I had my semi annual eye doctor’s appointment today, no big deal unless you happen to have health anxiety like I do, then it can be a little stressful. Logical brain knows that my stress is dumb, anxiety brain fully expects to be told that one of my eyeballs is harboring a gigantic tumor when I sit down in front of that funky eyeball examining machine.
So I go into the office, and I’m a bit stressed. I do the socially acceptable thing, and grab a magazine, quickly burying my nose in it as I wait.
Behind me I become aware of two older folk having a conversation. One of them is a mid seventy-ish Cowboy. I kid you not – he looked like he parked his horse out back and moseyed on in, cowboy hat, plaid shirt and jeans. With the kind of voice and face that make you pay attention because you just know a guy like that has some stories to tell. He’s exchanging medical war stories with a pretty normal, grandmotherly looking mid seventy-ish woman sitting near him.
I realize that he’s talking about having incurable brain cancer, and she’s talking about having incurable blood cancer. Both of them with the kind of casual, “eh – what can you do?” demeanor that people tend to assign to conversations about bad traffic. He was given three years to live, from what I gathered considerably longer than three years ago, and she was told her condition is treatable but not curable, which is fine because she feels okay.
Cowboy’s name got called and they wished one another well as he went inside. At which point the grandmotherly woman turned to me and said: “What’s the difference between Tiger Woods and Santa Klaus?”
I peered over my magazine, “what?”
“Santa Claus only has three ho’s.”
I realized at this point I could smile politely and delve back into my magazine or have a conversation with a real human being who had led and was living a life she enjoyed despite its obstacles. I laughed, and put the magazine down.
We talked about the magazine I’d been reading and how well she liked the Ophthalmologist we were both seeing. She showed me pictures of her cat, and we talked about the personalities of our pets. She seemed impressed that I owned a snake. She also told me another joke:
Two boys were fishing by a pond and a girl came along, took off all her clothes and jumped in. One little boy got up and ran – and the other followed after him. When the second boy caught up he asked, “what did you run away for? That was our first chance to see a real naked girl!”
The first boy responded: “My mom always told me if I looked at a naked girl, I’d turn to stone – and it’s already starting to happen!”
I swear I’m not making this up.
Her name got called and we said goodbye. Eventually mine got called too and back I went. They did that thing where they put those awful, pupil dilating drops into my eyes and sent me, tearing and blinded back to another waiting room to wait. As I groused into a seat, I heard a playful voice:
“What’s the matter, blindie – can’t see?”
Cowboy – Mr. John Wayne himself from the waiting room. I laughed and admitted that I was a wimp, to which he kindly agreed. I mentioned that I wasn’t sure how I’d drive home like this.
As he got up to go, he leaned in toward me and gleefully whispered, “I’ve got a brain tumor and I’m still driving… Hah!”
I got the distinct impression he wasn’t supposed to be, but I couldn’t help but smile.
It all kind of amazes me how God works. There I was stressing and being anxious over this simple little appointment when I’ve got nothing wrong with me. And here are two people in my path with real problems saying, to heck with that – this is my life and I’m gonna live it while I’m here.
Those are the amazing, every day people you meet when you put down the magazine.