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.
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.
Through no desire of our own, we are home to three cats. A mother and two sons. One December afternoon, five years ago, the mother, a small black cat, showed up on our back deck meowing ferociously. We lasted three days before capitulating and letting her in. Somehow, she had chosen us as her new family. We named her Lola. The night before we were going to take her to be spayed, she disappeared and returned three days later pregnant. Two months later, she gave birth to a litter of 4 kittens in our bedroom closet.
We were able to find homes for two of them, but as they grew out of kittenhood, and couldn’t find anyone who wanted an adolescent cat, we discovered we had created a cat family, mother and two sons. The Katzes. From zero to three in just under five months.
This is our vet, Dr. Dean’s waiting room. We were there getting regular shots for two of the three Katzes. T met him through her orchid society. She grows the most beautiful cymbidiums, cattleya, and dendrobium orchids in our back yard. For a time, she went to regular meetings where she met Dr. Dean. He is a caring and knowledgeable vet, and he takes care of our Katzes with compassion and skill. If you need a good vet in Culver City, let me know and I’ll pass on his info.
Here are two photos sent by M.M. I don’t have any info other that to infer the was at the doctor’s. While not technically a ‘waiting room’, it is clear that he was waiting for his health care professional and needed something to do while he was waiting. Thank you, M.
Keep those guest photos coming. If you have a photograph you would like to share, please use the Contact the Project form, and I’ll send you my email address so you can send me your picture. This project belongs to everyone.
I received this photo in my email today from a friend. A talented Director of Photography I have known for years. It speaks for itself. I didn’t convert into black and white because I love the 70’s avocado green of the couch. He didn’t send any other information along with the picture.
It has always been my hope that others begin to participate in the Waiting Room Project, that’s why I call it a project – an ongoing documentation of these ‘non-places’ and by extension, the documentation of our lives.
Thank you Marty, you are the very first guest poster. I have had others send me photos and I will scour my emails to find them and share.
While most waiting areas are set up for adults, there are some which have made provision for children. Most notably in doctor’s offices or medical centers as children get sick too, or have to wait with their parents who may be there seeking medical advice. It has been many years since I was in a pediatrician’s waiting room, but I remember Jake’s doctor had an awesome one. Toys, books, things to climb on; they had put a lot of thought into furnishing it with stuff to keep kids occupied.
The bottom picture, however, is at the Pacific Division Station of the LAPD. It struck me significant in some way that there would be kid-sized chairs and tables and a Little Free Library specially for children in a police station. Obviously, enough children had come through there with parents to warrant this area by the door. You can see the ATM through the window should you need to get some quick cash to bail someone out – perhaps the parent of one of the kids who might sit in these chairs and read a book while mom or dad concluded whatever police business brought them there.
I was there inquiring about a handgun that had appeared on my back deck when we were on vacation one summer. J. our house-sitter phoned me in a bit of a panic to tell me she had found a chrome plated ‘Saturday night special’ just sitting on our deck the 4th of July.
Apparently, some miscreant had been passing by and had tossed it over the fence. It was unloaded, had no magazine, and I told her to call the police. They came and collected it and informed her that if no one had claimed it within 90 days, I could keep it.
After the requisite three months, I went to the police station to check it out, and the amount of paperwork I had to fill out was staggering. The gun, a cheap, unreliable thing, wasn’t worth it, so I just let the cops destroy it.
Kaiser Medical Center, West Los Angeles. February 2014
Kaiser Medical Center, West Los Angeles, February 2014
I had taken my mom to Kaiser for some tests before a minor procedure she was having. While she waited, I prowled the halls looking for some of the multitude of waiting areas found in any hospital. These are two of the most interesting photos.
The West LA medical center is huge. Several buildings cluster around a central courtyard: the main hospital, medical offices, gift shop, cafeteria, parking structure – all the usual suspects. More buildings lurk behind the main wing. It serves thousands of people daily many of whom will wait in these rooms, or ones just like them.