Select Page

It looks like the office staff at the endoscopy clinic got a new plastic-sign engraving machine. Sprinkled throughout the office are variously-colored plates of plastic with white letters gouged out in all-caps Helvetica Narrow, all with an admonishment of some sort:

AUDIBLE PRIVACY CANNOT BE GUARANTEED IN THIS AREA

HELP STOP SPREAD OF DISEASE BY WASHING HANDS

LEAVE DOOR OPEN WHEN DONE

And this one, which I noticed as I was swallowing the last drop of the tea I’d been drinking for the past half hour:

PLEASE

NO FOOD

OR DRINK

OUR

PATIENTS

ARE

FASTING

Good thing I’d rethought the cheeseburger and fries.

Apparently no punctuation came with the engraving machine and so they are forced to rely on line endings to get their points across. I envision the office manager – who mentioned at least 10 times in 5 minutes that one patient was very early and did she realize that she was very early? She’s very early, you know. No, not yet, because she’s very earlydreaming of new signs she can make between patients the next morning. Too many people are taking magazines back into the recovery area:

PLEASE RETURN MAGAZINES TO LOBBY

Too many people ignoring the no food and drink sign:

WE WERE NOT KIDDING ABOUT THE NO EATING AND THE NO DRINKING

Too many people asking if they have a bathroom:

BATHROOM IF YOU MUST BEHIND THIS DOOR AND RIGHT

The first sign one notices, though, is right there on the front door, clear to everyone before they’re even out of their cars:

DRIVERS
MUST
STAY
ON SITE

I’ve been a driver to here before, which is how I know these signs are new. I can’t think of what sort of tomfoolery might have occurred so regularly that it required a blanket rule prohibiting you from leaving the premises during Dad’s colonoscopy. In the past, they’d ask for your cell phone number in case you, the driver, wanted to escape the horrible local radio station playing from the tinny-sounding clock-radio on the front counter of the tiny waiting room/lobby. Really, has anyone in history ever enjoyed songs containing the lyrics Hot diggity, oh what you do to me? The announcer was reeling off birthdays of big-band-type musicians I’ve never heard of: The one that caught my attention was the guy born on this date in, “Oh, lets see here, yes, yes, hoo, boy, born in, heh, heh, 1820.” I’m pretty sure I heard him say he’d been a close personal friend. The only time one hears this radio station is in local businesses that must be practicing a kind of Chamber-of-Commerce solidarity.

Because this is a place where the business-end of a camera transmits images of various body cavities by way of insertion through any of a number of orifices, the patients are given sedatives, hence the need for someone to drive them. My first thought upon seeing the sign through my windshield was, “Unless you have a badge and a copy of the RCW in your back pocket, don’t tell me I have to “must” do anything.” I’d intended to stay there, but that sign all but forced me to leave, and I would have if the procedure were going to take more than a half hour. Next, two women, obviously sisters, wider than they were tall and clearly victims of their lifestyle choices, wheezing on the ends of their canes, walked through the door in mid-conversation:

“See, ‘drivers must stay on site.’ Oh yes, they’re very strict about that, so you’ll have to stay here. Well, I guess you could sit in the car. Or you could stay in here and just call Tammy waiting out in the car [10 feet from where we are sitting] on your cell phone if you need anything. But you have to stay here. See, it says so right there.”

“Oh, I see. You’re right. Well, I guess we’ll have to stay here, then.”

Ten minutes later another couple of women walk through the door:

“Look, ‘drivers must stay on site.'”

“Oh, is that okay? Do you mind staying?”

“No, no. That’s fine.”

Then, a couple of minutes later,

“You can leave your purse with me when you go back, since I have to stay here anyway.”

I’ve figured out how to achieve world peace: Just make a plastic sign that says:

BE NICE
TO
EACH

OTHER