According to the touch-screen ‘arrive me’ thing, there’s an 18 minute delay. You are a minute or so late. Coincidence or punishment? You drop yourself into a seat amidst the sick people. If you were there on time, would there still be a delay? Perhaps the person due to be seen after you is early and has nicked your spot – a sort of coincidental punishment. Or perhaps they’re delaying you deliberately – it’s petty and would surely make the nurse late for her other appointments, but it is possible. Unprofessional, sure, but possible. Besides, nurses and doctors can’t be late, they are simply delayed – held up by nuisance patients whose problems can’t be solved in 10 minutes. Perhaps someone before you was late, really late, late by 18 minutes. If you had to be somewhere straight after this, you would be late for that. The domino effect of lateness. But you don’t.
You’re just thinking about popping to the loo – seeing as you have time – when ‘bleep’ your name flashes up on the screen. You gather up your belongings in a slight fluster – we’re talking maybe a couple of feathers ruffled. You glance at the clock as you scuttle to nurse room 1. It’s about 6 minutes past your appointment time. 6, not 18.
Pleased or annoyed?