Friday, 11 May 2018. I spent a few minutes making conversation with the receptionist as we did the formalities, being an introvert and not wanting to be seen as anti social. It’s become easier the older I get. A quick glance at the number of people seated in the waiting room made me consider rescheduling. The nurses said to hang on.
I sat in the hospital waiting room to see the specialist doctor, arriving a few minutes before my appointment at 2pm. After a quick chat with a friend who came in earlier than me, I found myself a seat in the corner. I had already been warned that even with an appointment, it was first come first served, but I did not realise how last I would be until the third patient took forever to come out from the doctor’s office. The pattern continued as the clock wound up. That clock.
It then occurred to me that I’d be there for a long time. I might as well make myself comfortable.
Comfort. The cold metal seat was not kind to my not-so-fleshy self, but I found distraction in my phone – reading blogs and playing games, occasionally attending to calls, WhatsApp and text messages.
It was already 4pm and the number of people, mostly ladies, was still quite a lot. I’d thought about rescheduling my appointment the moment I arrived but since I was already there, I might as well stick around.
With my phone battery at 10%, I decided to save power by engaging in some writing. I had a pen quite alright, but paper? I searched my bag and found a payslip. Good enough.
I glanced at the wall clock for the umpteenth time. It wasn’t so much the time that bothered me. It was the angle at which the clock hang that didn’t sit well with me.
I’m not perfect. I just like a level of perfection.
Through my four and half hours of sitting there, I’d glanced up a million times, wishing someone could straighten the wall clock. I felt like getting up several times to do it myself. I had the same urge I get when I walk into a room and see a clock that’s not working. I feel the urge to change the battery.
I was so distressed about the clock that the only thing stopping me from getting up to put it straight was the fear that it might fall off the wall. I was already paying through my nose for consultation and whatever lab tests lay in store.
Let me just disclaim that I don’t have OCD.
I probably just have strong feelings to put things right. Explains why I can’t stand chipped nail polish. How about removing it or putting a fresh coat. I do get chipped nails and I’m flustered half the time. I can’t eat till I clean; I clean the stove as I cook; I can’t stand tooth picks! Just floss as you brush. Don’t lick your finger to open a page. No. I admire those who can sit in an untidy room and not fuss; or those who go to bath at 4pm and can go to the mall with a night hair-sock or unkempt hair.
My restaurant visits are plagued with a prying eye on clean cutlery and crockery. My bed mate often gives me the eye, a wry smile and a shake of the head, but he understands. My nausea is on another level. I’d puke at my own puke, babies puke and animal droppings. I don’t like public toilets.
I love the sun and a well manicured lawn.
I partly blame my mom for being a clean freak. Growing up in her house, we cleaned before all else, and I mean all corners, crooks and crannies. Now I’m careful of door handles, hotel towels and bedding.
18:45. Finally, my name was called. I was the last one. It was dark outside and quiet inside. As I made my way to the doctor’s office, I took one last look at the clock, feeling upset at the angle and the time. 18:46
I did care for that wall clock. I’m not perfect but I love deeply, I care immensely and I’m fiercely loyal.
That should count for something.
On my next appointment in June, I’ll put that clock right.
I am me.