Tower Imaging is a service that provides a variety of imaging services: X-ray, CT scan, PET scan, MRI, etc. They have millions of dollars of machines under one roof, and doctors from across the city send their patients there for diagnostic testing. A few days after visiting the unknown doctor in the previous post, I waited in this room for a test of some kind. Probably an X-ray, but honestly, I don’t really know. The room is done up in blond wood and light carpet. This view is from the stairwell leading to the second floor. How they get those huge, heavy machines up to the second floor and why they don’t put them on the first floor baffles me. I guess they have their reasons.
Usually, the tests go smoothly with a minimum of waiting and inconvenience. The waiting room is never full, and they provide free Wi-fi along with the obligatory three-month-old Time, Newsweek, People, and Golfer’s Digest magazines. You have to bring your own newspaper.
Here we are in another doctor’s office. This one is an ambulatory surgery center in Santa Monica. I was there for a minor procedure to ease the pain in my arthritic hips. They inject an anesthetic and a steroid to reduce the inflammation. I have had a few of these treatments, but sadly, they are only marginally effective, and last but a few months. The curative treatment is complete hip replacement.
The surgery center’s waiting room is a bright airy space with polished wood floors and an abundance of reading material. In fact, the header photograph for the Waiting Room Project main page is the reverse view of this room. Note the figure emerging from the elevator in the background.
The treatments went well, but I have now progressed to the point where I will have my first hip replacement this Monday. While I can’t promise anything, I will do my best to shoot at least one photo before I go in for the operation.
Waiting is a transitory activity. While you are in the waiting room, you look for things to help pass the time. Magazines, your iPhone, conversation, meditation. Whatever you find to do, it isn’t really why you are there. Wouldn’t you rather be sitting on your couch reading National Geographic? Sitting at your desk checking your emails? But no, you are here filling the minutes, trying to turn that non-time into something vaguely productive. How long you will remain is a fluid interval. It might be five minutes. It might be half an hour. I once waited for a doctor for more than an hour. And that was before the iPhone.
Finally, your name is called and you leave the limbo of waiting for whatever it is you have been waiting for. Here, one lucky soul has escaped and is on his way to fulfillment. Others here aren’t so fortunate.
Doesn’t this look like a lovely living room? All that’s missing is a fireplace and some floor lamps. Well, it’s a primary waiting room in a hospital. Look at all the reading material, the TV, the comfy couches and chairs. There is even free wi-fi. Yep, you’re going to be here a while.
We were there for a minor medical issue, and I had the chance to prowl around looking for waiting areas to photograph. We were there at night, so the usually bustling hospital had the lonely deserted air most do when the crowds of people leave. Hospitals have been some of the most productive places in this project because of the abundance of waiting spaces, large, medium, and small. As previously noted, there is a lot of waiting surrounding the medical profession. Too many sick people and not enough doctors.
I visit my dermatologist about once a year. I have a lot of moles and occasionally one begins to look suspicious, so it’s off to the skin doctor. She carves the offending spot out and sends it off for analysis. So far, everything comes back negative or “pre cancerous”. I’m still not clear on what that means, but she always smiles at me and says to come back when I have grown something new for her.
Most of her business is cosmetic, I suspect, due to all the beauty magazines, and Botox brochures in her waiting room. The staff is extremely friendly and conciliatory, offering tea to all the patients while they wait. This photo of her waiting room always reminds me of a space ship for some reason. I don’t know why, but it does.
With the last three posts, starting with Hillside, we have entered the second gallery of photos, December 29, 2013 through the end of 2014. During that year, even though we struggled with the aftermath of Jake’s passing, I continued the Project. It took on new meaning as a sort of homage to him as he was the inspiration for it in the first place, so I carried on. Fewer doctor’s offices, more discovery of waiting spaces everywhere else.
It seems logical to break the pictures into galleries of years. Don’t know why, it just does. I haven’t posted all the photos from the first gallery, you can visit the Photographs page if you want to see more. Likewise, I won’t be posting every picture in the library, it would take more than a year of posting every day to include them all. If there are any photos that you particularly like or strike a chord with you, please leave a comment.
Finding a good auto mechanic is a blessing. We discovered Isaac at Quality Tire in Culver City through our synagogue, The Marina Shul. He is Israeli, a fast talker and honest. He doesn’t actually do the work, but he has a couple of great mechanics who know their stuff. He has been servicing our autos for more than five years now, and always gives us a fair price and stands by his work. The irony is that he doesn’t sell many tires in spite of the name. Nearby Costco has a better selection and cheaper, and in fact, he usually recommends his customers go there. He’ll do the alignment once your car has its new shoes.
There is a curious bleakness about all automotive service waiting areas, and Isaac’s is no exception. It is unique in that is it an expression of his personality, with posters of Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Clint Eastwood, and the Beatles adorning the walls, and stacks of National Geographic, Rolling Stone, and Business magazines piled on the credenza. The TV is always tuned to an Israeli news station, an old movie or a soccer game. The couches are vastly uncomfortable, but if I come at lunch time, he will order a Pitfire pizza and a salad for me from across the street. Come on Friday afternoon, and there might be a little shot of tequila or arak on offer. He is within walking distance from my house, and I have made the trip on foot many times, although he will drive me home if I wish. All in all, a very satisfactory place to take our cars to be fixed.
In June, we celebrated my wife’s birthday at a very upscale restaurant in Santa Monica with my mother and Jake. At the beginning of the meal, I bit into a piece of olive bread and a pit hidden inside cracked one of my teeth. It was the beginning of a two-year adventure attempting to get compensation for the damage, a story for another time. The very next day, I visited my dentist (the photo on the left) for an evaluation, and waited in one of those chairs. He determined that the damage was so extensive I needed the tooth extracted and an implant put in. He referred me to an oral surgeon (the photo on the right) and I had the surgery a few days later. Six months later I had a titanium insert screwed into my jaw and a shiny new crown. Note how many more patients the surgeon anticipates than the dentist. This is one of the first pictures that has another person in the shot. I also took a photo of the empty room, and the presence of the person lends a different import, so I amended my “rules” to include rooms occupied and unoccupied.
Who doesn’t love getting their car fixed? These three shots were taken at a Chrysler dealership that is no longer there. We took T.’s 300 to have a new radiator installed. The old one blew out on the freeway, but with our extended service contract, it was all covered. It is a great car, aside from the persistent rattles in the dashboard, great for touring. We bought it in 2005 after renting one for two summer’s worth of family vacations on Kauai. We had a chance to really put it through its paces, and we liked the car, so when it came time to replace her Acura Legend, the Chrysler was a natural choice. We opted for the V-8 hemi. Yeah, I know, not fuel efficient, but what a blast to drive. While waiting for the service rep, I discovered several waiting areas. I guess Buerge Chrysler-Ford expected that you would be waiting a while for your car, no matter where you were on the lot. Like most car dealers, they have coffee and drinks for you and plenty of reading material in the waiting room. They provided a rental car for the two days it took, and the repair went off without a hitch. She still has the car. 11 years old and it looks and drives like new.