Sitting in the waiting room of the surgery center of Kaiser this afternoon, I noticed that I could not identify the sole man sitting across from me. His phone was in his face the whole thirty-three minutes I was (as patiently as possible, but I had to be somewhere by 5:30) waiting.

Another man came about ten minutes into my stay; he loudly announced that he’d been informed that he needed to have surgery immediately. I tuned in, listening as intently as possible. Nothing. I still don’t know what he was in for, but this trying to listen was a good distraction for my increasing impatience.

Putting the deaf in defeated, I thumbed through my phone, reading an article or two from Slate and responding to a couple of emails before strolling through the sixty-seven photos I had taken since Thursday: a lot of Halloween lawn decorations, a bunny rearing up on the lawn, a Dia de Los Muertos altar, Christmas stuff I stumbled into on a trip to Lowe’s, and (now, number sixty-eight) my practically patient toes.

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