Thursday, March 13, 2014

Annoying People

Generally, I like people. Since I've retired, I'm fairly patient. Without deadlines and other people's expectations to meet, I don't get upset at traffic jams, or even long lines at the DMV, as long as the people on the other side of the desk are doing their best.

What does annoy me is inefficiency or neglect. Consequently, today has been one of those annoying days. I am not a morning person, nor am I at my best until I've been up a couple of hours. Today I had an 8 a.m. appointment because it was the only one available. I drag myself out of bed, get ready and arrive at the office at five minutes to the hour, expecting that someone will be there, only to find the lights out and the door locked. Since this isn't the first time this has happened. I go back to my car and wait ten minutes. At five after the lights are now on, but the door is still locked. I rattle the handle and the receptionist unlocks the door. Ten minutes later the person I have the appointment with still hasn't shown up. At twenty after, I tell the receptionist that I will call and reschedule for another time. I'm polite. It isn't her fault.  I had no other appointment, so I could have waited. However, by this time I'm angry and I don't dare stay for fear that I will say exactly what is on my mind which is,  "Why in the world would you make an 8 a.m. appointment if you don't intend to show up at 8 a.m.?" Since I live in a small town where it doesn't pay to alienate people, it's best to leave. I won't reschedule and I won't go back.  I am sure that person strolled in at half past the hour, confident that I would still be waiting. Surprise.

Apparently this was my lucky day because I had another appointment at 1 p.m. for my annual mammogram. Not something I look forward to, but as a responsible adult I look after my health. This hospital has a stupid routine that involves registering and getting a paper bracelet like you're being admitted before you can actually check in at x-ray. Since I know the routine, I arrive ten minutes early to let them shuffle their paperwork prior to my appointment. Only no one is in registration. She doesn't arrive until 1 p.m. and then she shifts and stamps paperwork on her desk for another five minutes before calling the person ahead of me into her office. That goes fairly rapidly and at ten minutes after my actual appointment time, the person leaves. I sit and watch the registration clerk shuffle more paper, get up from her desk, and  then disappear into the back. When she returns to her desk, she has someone else with her. They discuss some problem and the registration clerk gets on the phone to call a doctor where she is put on hold for another ten minutes. Instead of calling me in and checking the paperwork I have in my hand which was completed before I arrived, she just sits there and waits. After ten minutes, she hangs up and redials.

There is a lady sitting next to me whose elderly mother has been sent here directly from her doctor's office to get an x-ray. The mother is dressed in sweats and slippers and is attached to an oxygen canister. They've been waiting almost as long as I have. X-ray is probably waiting for both us and is now behind as well. When the information clerk walks by, my seat mate complains. Seeing that I have completed paperwork, the clerk says she can process me, but can't register the mother. They have to continue to wait. It takes all of two minutes for her to look at my paperwork and send me off to x-ray, leaving me to wonder why she didn't do that twenty minutes ago. The actual mammogram takes only a few minutes. When I walk out, the daughter and her elderly mother are still waiting, and the registration desk is dark and unmanned.