Unfinished Doctor’s Office Magazine Thoughts

Might finish this one day, and I might even tell you why I went to the doctor’s; A few common observations on the reading matter on offer down the doctor’s.

In the doctor’s waiting room: the usual age-old, well-thumbed magazines stacked any-old-how high in a ready-to-fall anarchic pile. Magazines always on a how low can you go, plastic coffee-table, in the geographic centre of the room – too close to actually reach with one stride but always too far away to just lean over and pick up a magazine.

Those tired old magazines full of dead news, dead ideas, dead TV listings, dead trends, dead book reviews – Our family doctor is a bit of a motoring nut, so I have elected to read a car magazine – exclusive sneak preview of the stars at the up and coming 2014 Paris Motor Show – how many of those hot wheels are now sitting on the forecourts at second hand car dealers?

Waiting room magazines, repositories of germs and recent history.

The legions of « sickies » who have read these magazines over the years. I am alone in the waiting room, so I take time to burrow down to the precarious foundations of the magazine pile – at the root, a news magazine dating from 2012. On the front page it hails the victory of the newly elected President Sarcoxie. How many « sickies » have pored over the pages of this publication ? What is the incubation and extinction period for germs? I should be reading this magazine wearing surgical gloves and turning the pages with tweezers. Oh dear, I feel contaminated, defiled, where is the user-friendly antiseptic hand wash dispenser? Oh yes, there are yellowing posters adorning the walls telling me to wash my hands, yet, there is no discrete little wall mounted device whereby I can squirt a dollop of antiseptic gel on my hands for a good decontamination.

So, we read the magazines and, there are even those who steal articles. The gardening pages of many magazines have half and quarter pages missing. Gardening is timeless and many a bored patient has carefully ripped a gardening article from a magazine. It is only natural – you are sitting there, just a few knocks away from death’s door, when suddenly you happen upon an article telling you how to grow the perfect tomato. So, you carefully put the magazine to one side and then, when you are the only human in the waiting room, you tear out the article.

I will admit that I have actually stolen magazines from waiting rooms. On time for my appointment, I wait for hours while the wheezy woman in front sits in the doctor’s office retelling her life story. I get « embedded » in some obscure history magazine reading a particularly well researched article on medieval France, and just as the wheezy woman has given in her urine sample and finished telling her life story, it is time for me to pass into the realms of consultation, so, making sure that no one is looking, I roll up the magazine as if it were my own and thrust it deep into my bag. No one will know that I am stealing this magazine, and who will care?

Students of contemporary history, writing a thesis on the happenings in early 21st century France, do not bother with the Internet, do not spend weeks days or hours consulting the nation’s press archives looking for reference material, just spend the afternoon in the waiting room at your local doctor’s surgery.

To be continued (or not).