After a wait of about 20-minutes, they called my 84-year old neighbor, originally from Spain and France, back to a patient room. She was there to see the neurologist about pain shooting up both arms into her neck when squeezing things with either hand or both hands, like her steering wheel when driving. This is why I took her to the neurologist.
For several minutes there in the lobby waiting room I was alone, with the exception of the receptionist behind the glass. It was a peaceful, quite relaxing few moments. I quickly browsed some of the WordPress blogs I follow and did a few “Likes,” but no comments, yet. I’ve learned not to comment while in places such as the doctor’s front waiting room. Often too many interruptions by elderly small-town folks, or younger, friendly country people; all strangers of course, at least to me. And the interruptions cause me to lose track of my train of thought. An old habit of mine surfaces too easily: I always give my undivided attention to those engaging me socially. A bad habit, I suppose. 😉
Several minutes later a car with a handicapped tag hanging from the rearview mirror pulls up to the lobby door outside. I watch to see if whoever might be getting out—in a wheelchair?—might need assistance with the two double-doors always wanting to close simultaneously on you while trying to enter. You know, not enough hands to hold both doors AND manage a wheelchair.
No need. The elderly lady who got out was ambulatory and stable. She grabbed her very nice red-n-black shawl out of the back seat then came into the lobby to check-in. I smiled and nodded at her as she sat down to wait. She warmly and politely said hello to me. I responded in the same and told her that I liked her eloquent shawl. She thanked me, saying she sometimes shuts the car door on it, not realizing it until she tries to walk away. We both chuckled, “Your car is very attached to you, huh?” She laughed, “Yes, something like that or I am too often absent-minded” she replied. I guessed she was in her late 70’s or early 80’s, but had good wit and humor about her that I appreciated.
Being the only two people in the lobby, we chatted some more. It was pleasant, short chat with humor sprinkled in. She shared that getting around now without her late husband—a war veteran of no less than THREE wars: WW2, Korean, and Vietnam—was slower, but quite manageable. She slipped in to her story that “God took good care of her and her husband in his last hours alive in her arms.” He had suffered the effects of shrapnel pieces in his head while in combat in Vietnam, then followed by a tumor and lymphoma cancer.
Fortunately, for me at least, the nice lady with clever wit never got on a preacher’s pedestal which all too often here in rural, Hill Country Texas far too many climb on while in public with total strangers, no matter the circumstances. A slight, serious pet-peeve of mine. I enjoyed our brief chatting. She was very well-mannered, kind, polite, and respectful of my own, unspoken beliefs and world-view, despite never asking me what they might be. I am fine with that lack of intrusion. It shows class in my opinion. If I want to boldly share MY own source of happiness—which she had no idea did not include God—then I can speak up. And I certainly would have had I chosen to do so. I can be equally bold and audacious if the situation requires it. I am not shy about it knowing full-well my beliefs, world-view, etc., are VERY unpopular and uncommon in this area of Texas and the South. 😈
I did not however. My better judgement told me to keep this all pleasant and respectful when among total strangers.
But all good things must come to an end, right?
Ten or fifteen minutes had passed and the lobby began filling up with 2-3 other elderly ladies followed by an elderly couple, the man/husband was an obvious showman. He jokingly told the receptionist that he just tags along with her; she’s the boss. And finished the comedy show at the window saying they were “newlyweds.” This got chuckles from all the other ladies in the lobby. Sharing how long they had been married, one lady responded: “Ah, so you’re oldy-weds then.”
This is the type of small-town country “friendliness” one can usually expect here. But beware. It has a double-razor’s-edge to it and can just as easily do a 180 on you. And sure enough our luck, my luck had run out in that peaceful, pleasant lobby chatting with the kind, classy lady.
The bold showman that just entered and sat down with his wife of near 50-years, quickly latched on to the polite lady I was having such an enjoyable time talking with. She was warm and engaging; that’s why he immediately seized the opportunity.
His opening line to the lady was a setup line for his next two audacious questions for a total stranger, and I quote:
- Do you believe in God?
- Do you believe in Jesus?
He closed his self-made pedestal introduction with “You need God, you need Jesus to get through this life.” And the man never even spent just two or three minutes simply and courteously speaking with the classy, well-mannered lady and listening to her at least twice as long! Had he just done that, he would’ve quickly realized the sheer stupidity of his first two opening questions to her—which ironically bordered on interrogation, in my pissed-off opinion with his lack of basic etiquette!
As I sat there grinding my teeth, biting my tongue listening to this Snake Oil salesman, I said to myself, Mister, you better not address me with your presumptions and scam-sale, because if you do I am going to QUICKLY put you in your place and make you look dumb!
Just about that moment my delightful 84-year old neighbor who speaks five different languages fluently and reads/writes them as well… came out. She was finished with the neurologist, or the neurologist with her. I was literally SAVED by Rose! We call her Spanish Rose, because she is a wonderful firecracker of a tiger she is. 😄 Rose is very refreshing with her raw honesty.
I was so relieved she came out at that moment; my patience, blood, and blood-pressure was rapidly rising listening to this evangelical non-sense from this man. Believe me, my readied salvo-response to him would have silenced the entire lobby and office, including stunned looks from the clerical staff behind the window.
Here is my question to all of you. What would you have said (or not) had this total stranger of a loud-mouthed man asked you those two above questions?
Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Learn Always
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