I noticed it as soon as I walked into the room. I mean, how can I not? It’s a freaking elephant.
Halfway across the waiting room, headed towards the bored nurse sitting behind the counter, what I was seeing finally clicked in my head. I stopped dead, nearly colliding with a geriatric’s walker. Somehow, an elephant had gotten into this waiting room! Had it escaped from a zoo? Was it about to go on a rampage? What do you do when an elephant attacks – do you look big and threatening, run away, or curl up in a ball? I wanted to say that I was supposed to make a lot of noise, but that might be for bears…
As my heart pounded in my throat and my vision narrowed, the middle-aged nurse behind the desk cut into my panic. “Can I help you, sir?” she asked, sounding as if she already regretted voicing the question.
I turned, wondering why she wasn’t running, screaming in fear. As I glanced around, I slowly realized that none of the other elderly patrons of the waiting room seemed to be overly concerned. The adrenaline in my veins slowly ebbed. “Um, just checking in,” I said to the nurse, forcing myself not to glance over my shoulder.
After proving that I did indeed know how to spell my last name and could remember my birthday, the nurse directed me to take a seat and wait to be called. Finally, I turned and risked another glance at the elephant in the room.
Now that my vision wasn’t being clouded by panic, I realized that the elephant didn’t appear nearly as threatening as I had first believed. The animal was definitely a pachyderm: large, grey, and with two large tusks protruding from its head, one on either side of a long trunk. However, it was also straddling two of the waiting room’s chairs, causing their legs to creak alarmingly, and was using its trunk to flip through the pages of a gardening magazine.
For several minutes, hiding behind a Reader’s Digest, I watched as the animal disinterestedly browsed through the meager selection of reading material. I felt as though I was observing a piece of nature. I felt as though I should be saying “blimey” more. My observations were cut short, however, when the nurse called my name out, summoning me to the front desk.
“The doctor will see you now,” the nurse said as I approached, not glancing up from the files on her desk.
I turned towards the entrance to the offices, but something held me back, making me pause. “Excuse me,” I said, leaning back on the window’s ledge. “What’s with the elephant in the room?”
Finally, the lady looked up at me. Her expression seemed to be a mixture of anger, disgust, regret, and panic. “Look, Dr. Renner and I have agreed to remain professional at the office,” she said to me coldly. “I would appreciate if you didn’t bring it up, thank you very much.”
Well that wasn’t much help. I glanced over at the elephant once more before I left the room. It shrugged back at me. Shaking my head, I went off to see the doctor.