Sunday, May 21, 2017

FREE brings them out of the woodwork!


The word is a magnet. I saw an advertisement for free skin cancer screening at a local cancer center from 8:00 a.m. ─1:00 p.m. on a first come, first served basis. I arrived 45 minutes early and happened to be the fourth in line. Inside the building I realized there were two women ahead of us, which made me the sixth in line. We were instructed to take one of the fifty seats in a reception area.

Now, having taught for many years, I know what happens when everyone wants to be the leader, be first in line, or loses their place. I knew the six of us would line up accordingly, but what if more people arrived? They arrived in droves. A woman about 80 years old, announced to the people in charge, and the entire room, she had been the first one here at 7:00 a.m. and should be seen first.

Nobody was going to deny her line leader. Having dealt with people who get butted out of line, I knew the best system would have been to hand out numbers like at the supermarket deli counter. But nope, the people in charge continued to direct everyone to take a seat. With every new butt planted in chair, #1 got more and more antsy and kept announcing SHE was the first. In fifteen minutes all of the seats filled.

The people in charge handed out clipboards with registration forms attached. I could see a problem. The five of us is "line" behind #1, were younger and filled out our forms in less than three minutes. We were instructed to give the completed forms to a receptionist and move to the other side of the room and occupy one of those fifty chairs.  #1 complained, finally completed her form, joined us on the other side, and told every new arrival, "I am first."

As we waited, people continued to file in like ants at a picnic, and soon there was standing room only.
My husband says I'm nosey...

I gazed around and decided there were enough characters in that room to fill a book.
A very well-dressed woman, about seventy-five, had Betty Davis eyes. Over each bulging orbit rose a replica of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. I'm not just talking arched brows. Much like the real Arch that towers 630 feet over the city, her brows rose into the skyline up onto her forehead, which gave her an astonished expression.  

The couple seated behind me sounded like young, squeaky-voiced newlyweds, sweet talking one another, teasing with love words. I turned around to see a couple of gray haired hippies. She was lovingly flicking breakfast particles off his face, and he was responding like a cat, raising his chin for her to scratch, and she did... as he purred in public. 

In waltzed a couple in their fifties, California dreamers wearing flamboyant caftan shirts, white Bermudas and flip flops. They discussed their wealth, their Mazarati, golf dates, and generally flaunted their high lives in high volumes. 

The more I gazed, the more I gaped, so I focused on the woman with an armload of clipboards. She stood before us and called, "Arlene Smith." Several times she repeated the call out, scanned the room, sing-songed, "Arrrleeene." 

Finally, I pointed to #1 who was busy telling the people around her she was first. She stood, slightly bowed to the room, and announced, "I told you I was first!"

I was called fourth. I was in and out of my clothes in record time, and the doctor was in and out of the exam room in a flash. She left me with a pink piece of paper declaring me skin cancer-free. I left her with a blue paper gown, got dressed, and  hustled out of that place. 

I saw a  lanky, six-feet-tall, elderly woman with flowing, wiry, platinum hair, wearing a blouse, baggy micro shorts exposing skinny legs, wearing red high heels!!! She was riffling through the trunk of her car. As I drove away, she straightened up and exposed a painted face: heavy bright blue eye shadow, red cheeks, and a beard... HE was a cross dresser. 

And they say kids these days dress and act crazy! Next time I see a sign for FREE anything, I think I'll pass, unless it's dark chocolate, but with my luck it would be Ex-lax.


Sandi said...

Sometimes it is better just to pay! :-)

Funny how the "first" lady almost missed her turn because she was too busy telling everyone else she was first...oh, the irony!

Congrats on a clean bill of health!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Linda--Are you sure no one was trying on your clothes at home while you were gone? Your friend in the parking lot could have found a friend in Sas...

Connie said...

Haha! Sounds like a room full of characters for sure. You describe them very well. Glad to hear you are skin-cancer free.

Bookie said...

Yes, people watching will give you a chill on some days!!! Glad you got clean bill of health though.

Val said...

I wonder if any of them went home to their blog and wrote about "the lady who was number four." Nah. Probably not.

Susan Sundwall said...

Ha! You and I could be sisters. LOL I do the same thing when I'm stuck waiting. Boy, ain't the world full of wonderful? Love this piece. But do hang in there when they're giving out chocolate!

Susan said...

That was quite an experience, Linda. I forego "free" anything to do with the medical world. I do like "free" things on the side of the road that are still usable. Maybe the cross-dresser was the "I'm first" lady's hubby. You just never know these days. Susan

K9friend said...

Free has people shouting "Wheee!"


Kathy's Klothesline said...

People watching is becoming my new pass-time. The weekend is upon me and I can hardly wait to see what it might bring! HeWho will often send me a text asking "is that a man or a woman?" .....