Here’s another guest post, this one from my friend L. While not technically a waiting room, he was waiting to see the doctor and I love this shot. The neatly folded gown, the clean paper. It’s as if they are waiting for the patient. You can wait nearly anywhere, and as this Project expands, we are seeing more interpretations of the concepts.
The more people participate, the better this gets. Thank you, L. for thinking of us and for the wonderful shot.
The Waiting Room Project adds another contributor. This guest post is from a friend who takes the Los Angeles Expo line from her home in Santa Monica to work downtown. She has been posting wonderful pictures of her journeys, and today, sent me this one. I love it. It embodies everything of what the Project is about. Excellent photography taken with a smartphone (in this instance a Galaxy III), the variety of waiting areas, the feeling of a nearly abandoned space, and there, in the distance, a lonely soul or two waiting for the train. Perfect.
I am excited that the WRP is gaining a little traction with other people. Please send me your waiting room photos to share. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be a room. I will be posting them as they come in, and want to thank all the contributors past and future, in advance, for taking this project to another level.
I have been wearing glasses since the 5th grade, and have been through the developing technology of contact lenses for the past 50 years. I now have extended wear disposable contacts which I love. Contrary to Dr. Chen’s recommendation and in line with the manufacturer’s, I often sleep with them in place. Dr. C wants me to take them out every night, something I did for years and years. It is a mild inconvenience which I don’t wish to impose upon myself. We have reached a compromise in that I do remove them a couple of times a week to give my eyes a little more oxygen, and have switched to a very aggressive hydrogen peroxide cleaner that bubbles and fizzes away the gunk.
I usually visit her once a year in September for my annual check up. That’s when I snapped the first photo. Clearly, this woman has had her fill of waiting for the day.
In February of this year, I developed a strange bump on one of my eyes, and off to Dr. Chen I went. It was sun damage caused by years of outdoor exposure. After some antibiotic drops and a break from my contact lenses, it subsided. While I was waiting for her, I took the second picture of a new patient filling out the first visit paperwork.
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.
Another doctor’s office, more empty chairs. I cannot for the life of me remember which doctor this is, nor why I was there. I do know that a couple of days later, I was in another waiting room for an imaging procedure, but I can’t remember which one. I assume it followed this appointment, but I’m not sure. It is somewhat disconcerting that having been in so many doctor’s offices in the past three years they all blur before me.
The Santa Monica Sears and Roebuck has been on the corner of Colorado and 4th street for as long as I can remember. It used to span 4th street, with the Automotive center on the east side and the main building on the west. There is a little booth at the top of the building where a parking attendant used to sit and direct cars to the vacant spots. In its heyday, Sears was the place, the store was modern and you could get most anything there.
Not much of that glory has faded. The automotive center was demolished to make room for the Santa Monica terminal of the newly extended Expo line, the parking guy in the sky is long gone, and the whole store seems a worn and a little seedy. I still like going there for the Craftsman tools in the basement, but little else.
Now Land’s End has an outpost in the store itself, and I was there getting some Dockers Khakis, the only brand that actually fits me. I had ordered them online, and while I was waiting for someone to fetch them, I browsed the shirt section just to kill the time. They had the well-made pique polos on sale so I got a few. After completing the sale, I was directed to this string of chairs. If you order online for in-store pickup, this is where you will wait while they fetch your merchandise. It was only a few moments before a courteous employee emerged from the stainless steel clad door with my pants, sealed in a plastic bag and tagged with my order info. Fairly painless, the pants were on sale online, and I didn’t have to pay for shipping. Such a deal.
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.
All these images are from the St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica. Most of them were taken during a visit there in January of 2015. As previously noted, hospitals are rife with waiting areas of all sizes and comfort levels, and varying degrees of aesthetic value. I think the top left is my favorite. It perfectly encapsulates the essence of what is it to wait.
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.