It is an unwritten rule that friendly chit chat is acceptable in any public space from the grocery store to the waiting room at the dentist’s office. Let’s all agree however, on one place where social interaction is not allowed under any circumstances – the Hospital emergency room. It is public space, but no one goes there voluntarily. Everyone, even the kid with the broken arm looks contagious. All form of contact between should be avoided, the more buffer space between each patient the better.
I was recently, involuntarily at the emergency room when who should walk in but my husband’s boss. I slumped down in my chair so low that my body was parallel to my seat. I needed a magazine to cover my face and as luck would have it, there were none in the vicinity. I covered my eyes with my hands as if I was in extreme pain and the woman two seats away from me loudly said “Oh look at that.” I ignored her. Then she stood up, walked over to the window, turned directly to me and said “look at this, you have to come see this, a helicopter has landed.” As quiet as a church mouse I said, “oh really?” in hopes that this would assuage her desire to engage in idle chit chat. I quickly grabbed my mobile phone and called my husband. He wasn’t there so I left a voicemail, hung up and then continued to talk as if I was in a very serious private discussion. The woman stopped talking to me and from the corner of my eye it appeared that my husband’s boss didn’t notice me. Then, my phone rang. Yes, the very same phone on which I was having the pretend conversation. Every head in the waiting room turned as a nurse pointed to a sign and loudly said “do not use your cell phone in the patient area.” I was so red in the face I probably looked like I had a high fever or at the very least a life threatening rash. There was no avoiding his boss. I looked directly at him and said “Hi, I have a really bad rash.”
All of this could have been avoided if the universal law of no communication in the emergency room were in place. I would hereby like to introduce the emergency room involuntary patient anti-socialization law. If a person as social as me supports this law, then surely it will pass through congress without contest.