Monday, March 13, 2006

How Latin is this?

You’re sitting in a doctor’s waiting room with six or seven other people, everyone is bored to tears, lost in their own thoughts when the main door opens and a new patient walks in and exclaims “¡Buenos Dias!” Everyone in the room, without hesitating mumbles back “Buenos Dias.”

Today I saw this scenario play out several times as I waited to see my orthopedic doctor. It made me wonder, is this strictly a Latin custom? My guess is that it is. Being bicultural, I can say that the thought would have never occurred to the Anglo side of my brain.

Musing about doctors’ waiting rooms reminded me of one time I was at the urologist’s office in the waiting room, about 20 elderly Cuban men and me. Of course that waiting room wasn’t quiet at all. There was quite a lively debate going on among perfect strangers. They were talking about castro and the revolution of course. This was before I launched my website but I had the seed of the idea already in my head. I listened to these men talking when I was struck with the urge to relieve myself. This waiting room has a restroom connected to it by door that must have been made of balsa wood. I didn’t miss a word of the debate while I was inside. Suddenly my intuition got the better of me and I thought to myself, one of these guys is going to mention el tren blindado. And sure enough while I was in the restroom one of the men mentioned the train and how it had been “bought” by Che Guevara. I zipped up and washed my hands as quickly as possible and came out of the restroom, saying, “Who was talking about the tren blindado?” And so I joined in the discussion. Weird, how life works.

Anyway here I sit in the doctor’s office as if I’m waiting for Godot.

1 comment:

Stop the NCC said...

Yo - that is a Cuban custom - I don't like to say Latin because it is word that is not used correctly - we ain't really latin - but thats another story. I can see it and its very natural for Spanish surnamed individuals to be open and friendly especially in a doctors waiting room. Anglos would never do something like that - well big city folk won't - but I can see that being done in like the American south - HOWDY y'all!
There is something about country folk that is honest and good and a lot of Cubans have that attitude too - which isn't a bad thing. My mom lives in Miami and she goes to the doctor with all the viejitos and they treat them good - they even give them cafecito and little sandwiches for free!