I used to choose my doctors based on whether they had copies of The New Yorker in the waiting room. I harbored a vague, post-collegiate idea that any doctor who read The New Yorker was better equipped to treat me than some guy who read Field and Stream or Auto World.
Nowadays I base my choice of doctors on geographic location and whether they're in my health insurance network. I also bring my own reading material.
I was sitting in a doctor's waiting room perusing a paperback copy of The Wasteland which I've been dragging around since college. The Wasteland is my favorite thing to read in doctors' waiting rooms because it puts a perspective on the syntactic contradictions of metaphysical juxtapositions which occur during verb transitions. Also, it fits in my purse.
Although I was immersed in my book, I couldn't help but notice a pair of squirming little kids who were camped out with their mother in a nearby elbow of couches. They appeared to be girl children. They were staring at me, whispering to each other and emitting torrents of giggling.
"Don't mind them," the mother said. "They're playing Guess-the-Pet."
"I don't know that game," I said. "I grew up in Ohio and we didn't have the same games as Minnesota."
"It's a game they made up. It helps them pass the time in waiting rooms."
One of the little girls shouted, "Cat!"
"She's guessing you have a pet cat," the mother said.
"Wrong," I said. "I harbor no cats in my lair. I confess, however, I've seriously considered getting a cat and a camera and filming some cat videos. I think it might help my art career."
"Ostrich!" the second little girl shouted.
"Omigod, I do NOT have a pet ostrich!" I said. "They are SO into denial. I'm about brutal honesty. Except sometimes I get carried away and shoot myself in the foot by talking too much."
"Dog!" the first little girl shouted.
"She means like hunting dog," the mother said. "Since you shot yourself in the foot."
"I like dogs, but they're sluts," I said. "I am not a slut, even though I sometimes dress like one. You see, it's a persona, not the real me. Except it's sort of the real me."
"Hedgehog!" shouted girl number two.
"I am not a hedgehog," I said. "I know I have anxiety issues, but I have never...read my lips: NEVER...rolled up into a ball in public."
The girls threw themselves onto the floor and rolled themselves into balls, laughing wildly.
A nurse came out and looked at the girls.
"They're hedgehogs," the mother said. "Silly hedgehogs."
"In that case, the veterinarian is ready to see you," the nurse said.