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Rules On How NOT To Act In The Doctor’s Office Waiting Room

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As I am writing this blog entry, I’m sitting in a doctor’s waiting room that is filled to capacity with people who have no idea how to act in public.

Let me explain where I’m coming from on this. When I was a kid, my mother taught me that you were quiet in a waiting room. It was bad form to be loud or inconsiderate. At the end of the visit, I’d get a lollipop from the nurse and a gold star from my mother because she didn’t have to threaten me with a beating.

Quite the opposite is true these days. The majority of the problem stems from the very device I am using to type out this article: a cell phone. Numerous times while you have taken the time to read this, individuals have answered a ringing cell phone and then proceeded to carry on a very loud, one-sided conversation that was clearly heard by everyone in the large waiting room. So, here are some commonsensical rules I’m making while typing over their banter.

Regarding cell phones: Unless you are expecting an emergency phone call any second, try turning it off. If you instead want to use it to pass the time, turn the sound off or wear headphones. Which brings up another thought. If your headphone volume is louder than the easy listening music the office is playing over their speaker system, IT’S TOO LOUD!

John Moore, Getty Images

If you must take a call, walk outside, because though we all thoroughly enjoy the daytime soaps, the ‘Days of Your Gynecological Lives‘ do not interest a majority of the people you are forcing to listen. Turn your phone to vibrate, especially if you have a suggestive ringtone. No one cares if ‘you like big butts and you cannot lie!‘ Pretty much any noise from the magical little box that contains the sum of our lives is unacceptable.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Now onto more observations. If you are a man, and a woman – any woman – comes in and has no place to sit down, offer her your seat. If anyone is in a wheelchair, make room for them.

If you have brought kids to the waiting room, keep them quiet and under control. Nuf’ said about that.

If you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth! We have our own cooties, we don’t need yours!

Yes little girl, it is possible to turn magazine pages too loudly and with such force that the inserts fly across the room.


Don’t keep constantly complaining about the wait taking forever. You are in a doctor’s office, where it has been scientifically proven that there is a quantum anomaly, where for some unknown reason time passes so slow, you can measure it geologically.

Which brings me to the last topic for today. After a long wait, there may come a time when you will need to answer the call of nature. Don’t announce this to the entire class, just quietly get up and go, then ‘go‘ quietly.

Hulton Archive/Stringer, Getty Images

If you are at the doctor’s office for a condition known as ‘explosive diarrhea‘, plan accordingly. Waiting room bathrooms have a tendency to magnify sound like a 10,000 watt amp at a rock concert. If you don’t want everyone knowing your business, step on over to the office next door and let ‘er rip.

I hope you enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek look at waiting rooms. Did I miss anything?

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