By Sean McVeigh
We live in a society with an understood social order. When we leave the house each day, there are certain things we assume we will encounter throughout our day and other things that we just don’t expect to come across. This is New York though, and “social order” can be a looser term around here than in other places. More and more, we see situations where that social order is completely thrown out the window and chaos, its replacement, fills the void.
These days, when taking the subway, for example, most people are prepared for the worst. It is likely that you will come across a fellow citizen, living in the same society, and yet they do not abide by the same social contract as yourself. Other places in our lives, we expect that order to be maintained. When we go to a doctor’s office, as another example, being on the lookout for social order disrupters is not usually top of mind. Well, maybe it should be…
Going to the doctor’s office is not something that gets people excited. You are usually there for an unpleasant reason and, more times than not, you feel like crap. When the decision is made to go to a doctor, you give them a call and make an appointment. Everyone has busy lives, including doctors. You understand that. It’s not convenient, but you make do when they give you two 15-minute windows to choose from two weeks from now. Wednesday at 1:30? Sure, I’ll clear my schedule.
The day comes and you arrive 15 minutes early. “Maybe they’ll be able to fit me in quick!” You check in with the front desk. “Why don’t you have a seat, and the doctor will be right with you.” If you’re lucky you’ll also get, “And while you wait, please complete these forms.” 20 pages to fill out requesting information that they already have and/or will never use.
Quickly, your 15 minutes early turns to 15 minutes late. You look around and notice that there are a lot of people who were here before you. Did they just get here super early too? Or are their appointments before yours. 15 minutes turn to 30 and before you know it, your 1:30 appointment time has you in a waiting room till 2:30. Just when your brain is about to explode, a nurse pops her head in and calls your name and pairs it with a smile that cuts your blood pressure in half. That must be a job pre-requisite. “Exam room 3, please.”
As you sit on the table that’s too big for a seven-footer, you realize you’ve been duped. This isn’t just an exam room, this is the secondary waiting room! You can only play with the ear/eye examination tool thingy (technical term) and the blood pressure machine for so long.
The doctor arrives and you are in and out of there in 15 minutes. Your multi-hour doctor’s office visit is finally over.
Why is this acceptable behavior? It shouldn’t be. It is not acceptable from the other way around. If you have an appointment and call to tell them that you’re so sorry but you are going to be an hour and a half late, they are probably going to tell you to reschedule. Which makes sense! I understand that things happen, and appointments run long, but how have we not come up with a better system? Inform people that they should not show up on time because they will not be seen on time. Don’t let people believe everything is on schedule. This kind of behavior is airline adjacent, and we all know how I feel about the current state of air travel…