Once upon a time, going to the doctor’s office went something like this:
You show up to the office earlier than your appointment with the hopes that by being early you will get in and out more quickly (despite many years of proof to the contrary). Unfortunately the three other people who are scheduled for the same time with the same doctor all have the same idea too. But it does not matter, because the doctor is running an hour late anyway. Not to worry though! Scattered throughout the office is a collection of magazines, ranging in age from before printing presses were invented to a few months old. Some of the magazines may even have relevance to medicine! But more likely they are the types of magazines that you only read while waiting in line at the supermarket, though you will immediately deny the fact that you were looking through it to any onlookers! It is a mystery about how these used magazines appear in the doctor’s office since few will admit to actually purchasing them.
Eventually, after your brain has been seriously numbed by several of these magazines (unless they are old ‘National Geographic’s), you are called into see the doctor, where you get to wait another half an hour or so for the doc to actually enter the examining room. Once again there is entertainment to be had in the form of reading material. Possible more magazines, some even having actual educational value this time. Or maybe there are pamphlets and journals explaining all the gory details of the various diseases you could be subject to, ensuring that you will soon become a hypochondriac too.
Finally the doc shows up, gabs for a few minutes, pokes and prods you as necessary, tells you to lose weight and keep taking your meds, but otherwise all is right with the world, and you are back to the “real” world wondering why you took time off work for this in the first place.
As I was waiting in the doctor’s office yesterday, it dawned on me that in this modern, cell phone driven world, things have changed a bit. Sure you will still have to wait and have wrestling matches for who of the three shared appointments gets to go first, but the average waiting room no longer has a collection of magazines. These days, everyone is texting, social networking, playing mindless games … pretty much numbing their minds electronically instead of with such mundane things as magazines. You still wait as long, but somehow the time passes more quickly when you get to use your preferred digital time waster.
It seems like the ending of an era to me!