The Quest Diagnostics’ office near my house is a smooth operation, though they always seem to get bogged down with the paperwork. You’re taken into an examining room so fast, they practically call your name before you’ve finished parking your car. But once they seat you in the room, you sit there for about five solid minutes as the lab technician clicks through various pages on the computer, printing out five, six, seven sheets of paper that are stamped, stapled, highlighted and then attached together with a paper clip. It reminds me of the when I was a kid and would go to work with my father. I’d play “office” with the stapler and hole punch and the ink pad and stamper that said “Invoice Past Due. Please Remit,” stamping it on everything from scrap paper to my hand, despite not knowing what the word ‘remit’ meant.
I don’t know why this part of the Quest process always takes so long, but I’ve come here enough to know not to put my newspaper away, even though they gently try to tug it out of my hand when they seat me.
“I’ll keep it thanks,” I say, tugging back on the paper.
But this morning, the lab technician’s long french manicured nails clicked rapidly on the keyboard like talons and before I’d even unfolded my newspaper, she was thrusting the forms in front of me to sign.
“Wow, that was fast,” I said.
“Coffee,” she said.
“Geez, I bet you’ve got tomorrow’s work done already as well,” I said, thinking I was real cute. She said nothing.
What she gained in speed she lost in gentleness. When she jabbed the needle into my arm for my blood test, it pinched more than when I get it done by the woman with the old face and the young ponytail, or the tall thin woman who looks like Scooby Doo’s owner.
The deed is done. And now I wait.