ELLEN FANNON: Waiting is bad enough; TV is worse
Last week my husband and I had to go to the base for a couple of errands. The first was to pick up medication at the pharmacy. Because the line at the drive-through was so long, we decided to go in. There were only three people waiting in line. Sweet! This should go fairly quickly, which was good because we had an appointment to get new ID cards in just a few minutes.
Then we realized the one person who was serving both the drive-through and the walk in clients was apparently having to stuff powder into capsules for the guy who stood at the walk-in window for 25 minutes. (Just kidding – I didn’t actually see him stuffing powder into capsules, I just assumed that must be what was taking so long.) Now I’m not complaining, mind you, because anytime I can get something for free, I’m a happy camper, even if I am cutting it close for an appointment. But waiting in a line of three people for 30 minutes is not what set my nerves on edge. Nope, it was the television set mounted on the wall (which absolutely no one was watching) blaring HGTV into the lobby.
In the first place, I totally don’t understand why everywhere we go there must be a booming television set “entertaining” us while we wait. Second, if there is a law which says the blaring television set is mandatory in places where people have to wait, could it pleased be tuned to something not so annoying? I mean, seriously, is there anything more boring than watching people walk through a disgusting building which should be condemned and ruminate about how they’re going to fix it up? Do I want to hear their back-and-forth, inane banter? No. Do I want to watch them peel soiled, threadbare carpet off yellowed linoleum? No. Do I need to see the antiquated rust stained bathroom fixtures and imagine the nasty black mold lurking behind the walls? No. Are there really people who enjoy watching this? No. OK, I guess on that last question, it has to be “yes” since this channel is still on the air. But for me, my definition of hell is to spend an eternity where I can’t escape from HGTV. If I weren’t already dead I would kill myself.
Finally the dude waiting at the window got his individually stuffed capsules and the line moved quickly. We were out of there! Yes! We hurried across base to the office where ID cards are issued, signed in, sat down, and were treated to ... you guessed it, HGTV blasting from the TV mounted to the wall in front of us.
“Oh my gosh,” I said to my husband, “can’t they at least turn it to the news, or something?”
“No, the news might offend somebody,” he answered, a trace of sarcasm in his voice.
“Well, I’m offended by mindless drivel! How come nobody worries about offending me, hmmm?”
He didn’t answer.
As I sat there, trying to block out the incessant ridiculous chatter, I was reminded of the time I was waiting to drive someone home from the dental clinic after wisdom tooth extraction. Again, HGTV. I put up with it for as long as I could. There was one other person in the waiting room and the remote was sitting within my reach.
“Are you watching this?” I asked. I’m always polite. Perhaps the guy was enthralled, although he appeared to be more enthralled with his phone.
He shook his head.
“Do you mind if I turn it off?”
“No, go ahead.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, I snatched up that remote and banished the stupid show into the abyss of insanity where it belonged.
It was mercifully quiet. For 5 whole minutes. Then a staff member walked by, noticed the TV was off, picked up the remote, and released HGTV from its abyss, where we were once again a captive audience to brain-numbing irritation.
I remember when I was little, my pediatrician had a fish tank to entertain patients while they waited. It was quiet, peaceful, relaxing and mesmerizing, watching the colorful fish swimming back and forth, while the air filter made comforting bubbling noises. No loud talking heads blared from anywhere in the office.
Perhaps I could suggest to HGTV they do a featured series on refurbishing fish tanks. Underwater.