Raising four kids has meant spending lots of time in waiting rooms. When my kids were little, I’d come up with ways to entertain them, like sending them searching through the outdated magazines at the dentist’s office on a photo scavenger hunt, or showing them how to spin paper cups on wooden tongue depressors at the doctor’s. I’d take a rubber glove and blow it into a balloon so they we could bat it back and forth. I never remembered to pack toys — heck, in those days I was so sleep-deprived that I was lucky if I remembered where the doctor's office was.
As the kids got older, we’d bring books or journals, and I enjoyed the quiet time in the waiting room. During the years when all my kids were taking music lessons every week, I used those weekly thirty-minute time slots to write. Waiting rooms are terrific places for writing because there are so few distractions. You'd be surprised at how much you can write in 30 minutes when all methods of procrastination have been removed.
Now that three of my kids can drive, I don’t spend much time in waiting rooms any more. Shaggy Hair Boy usually takes With-a-Why to his Friday piano lesson, and all four kids have long since had their braces off. I'm past the stage where I'm always pregnant so I only see the doctor when I break a bone or something. But today, With-a-Why had a dentist appointment, and I packed my laptop to bring with me. I was looking forward to a quiet half hour in the waiting room, an enforced time to write.
But alas, the waiting room, like all good things, had changed. A big, flat-screen television dominated the room. It was turned on, and the volume cranked up. I couldn’t get away from the blaring noise. These floating heads kept talking, talking, talking. It was horrible. I couldn’t think, no less write.
Writing in a music studio with lovely, classical piano music playing on the other side of a wall is one thing. Trying to write under the loud blare of journalists talking about the oil leak and flashing horrific images is quite another.