Usually the only people you’ll find that aren’t squirming in the waiting room seats of a doctor’s office are women. By the time we can finally claim the title of “woman” we’ve been violated, poked, and prodded so many times by strange men in lab coats and hospital scrubs that we look forward to a beer, a cigarette and a little cuddle time when it’s over.
On this particular day I had my protein bar, coffee and Ipad in hand, looking forward to relaxing while I waited until 11:00 for my 10:00 appointment. I absentmindedly plopped down on the seat closest to the registration desk to update my paperwork, letting my coffee cool, when an elderly couple walked in the door. They were so adorable in that way that 92-year-old couples have of being absolutely mindless of fashion, formalities, and voice control. They sported fanny packs, practical sneakers and matching khaki slacks. And they spoke to each other in conspiratorial voices, occasionally giving me the stink-eye, unaware that at a certain decibel level, the secret’s out of the bag.
They shuffled along their way to the registration desk coming to a halt no more than 18″ from me. I returned my attention to my medical history. Heart disease. No. High blood pressure. No. Hemorrhoids. You tell me. And then abruptly there came a timid squeal followed by a puff of air that blew gently against my bangs. I straightened my hair thinking maybe the A/C fan had switched on. A few short seconds later I heard another squeal, slightly angrier this time, and again, that mysterious puff to my face. Maybe there was trouble with the fan? Maybe I imagined it.
The happy couple finished their business at the desk and turned to start their long journey to the chairs by the door. And then things got weird. Weird because the ole guy’s butt insulted me. He let go a turd tremor right in my face! It was loud and it was authoritative. I actually saw the coffee in my cup tremble and questioned if it was safe to drink at this point. The air encircling my head got all warm and stuffy and then a strong odor singed the hairs in my nose. The noxious substance seemed to trickle into my throat and I tasted something akin to lye soap.
I tried to keep it together and be respectful. Apparently I was the only one who seemed to notice anything out of the ordinary. So I brought my hands to my face in prayer formation, squeezing my nose between them and clenching my eyes closed. I did actually ask our Lord for composure and a quick end to my suffering.
Shortly thereafter I stood to return my paperwork. Growling Butt and his wife, Head in Sand, were hot on my heels as I sat back down. And would you believe that stinker blew another anal exhale right as he passed me?!? I steeled myself against the onslaught of the bubbler heading my way. I tried holding my breath, but I’ll never make it as a free diver. My eyes watered when I inhaled and I would have sold my grandma for a tongue scraper right then. What in the world had these people eaten for lunch?!? And still no reaction from the happy couple.
Upon my recovery, it was all I could do to stifle hysterical laughter that was begging for escape. Yeah, I admit it. I’m still childish enough to think farts are hilarious, even when I’m the one bushwacked. And I realized at that moment how I envied that couple. They had been blessed to grow old together. They had reached a point in life that, as a younger person, I had yet to experience. They had achieved such bliss and confidence that it didn’t matter if they wore fanny packs or farted, quite loudly, in the faces of innocent bystanders. They had earned the right to love unconditionally and unapologetically.
The nurse called my name and I stood up to follow her down the long corridor, tossing my full coffee cup in the trash. I smiled at Growling Butt and Head in Sand, hoping for just a tiny bit of their magic as I headed toward my gastroenterologist and the physical boundaries we were both about to violate. And I thought to myself, “What in the world did I eat for lunch?”