I always nod in agreement at their cuteness. Fact is, they are cute, up to a certain age, though their cuteness at the cutest ages can be ruined by obnoxiousness. Anyway, after dropping Miranda off, I went straight to the local Goodwill thrift shop and spent about twenty minutes checking out T shirts before deciding on one which I liked so much I changed into it. I was pretty proud of this T because it advertised one of my favorite drinking haunts in San Francisco back in my hard boozing days.
After parking, I took the elevator to the clinic and entered the waiting room, which was undergoing a mini maelstrom. I found a chair at a far end, as far away from four families, all Latino, as possible. Evidently Miranda was already seeing her doctor. There was little reading material, and usually, in doctor's waiting rooms, I choose not to read, but to observe those leafing through magazines or studying their smart phones. And, since I am in my seventies, the waiting rooms I go to are for geriatrics, a glum lot healing from various surgeries, near death experiences, or awaiting bad news.
There were no men in this waiting room, just mothers and their progeny. The loudest child was possibly 5 or 6 and named Angel, or, as his mother shouted, “ AN-HELL, NO!” Angel appeared to me, like his older brother sitting beside their mother, to be from a very southern area of Mexico, perhaps Oaxaca, or maybe Latin America. There was a table with toys, and certain other toys fastened to the table, and Angel was attempting to obliterate them by repeatedly slamming them, beating them, bending them and intermittently growling because he could not succeed in breaking them and screaming out of frustration. Having done this, he managed to hurl the toys that were not fastened across the room, chasing after them, still screaming and growling, and hurling them again.
“AN-HELL! NO MAS!”
Angel ceased. The mother, who, like the other mothers, was young and plump and pretty, scolded Angel in Spanish and ordered him to sit. He did as told, running and jumping up to seat himself beside her. Two little girls, beautifully dressed, with red ribbons in their hair, sat across the room from them and giggled at Angel's mischief. Another woman sat with a possible one year old girl on her lap, rocking her. Another lady sat to the right of Angel and his mom and other hefty son who might have been twelve, and beside her was a boy around 5 or 6 and a female toddler. The little boy had been quietly observing Angel with obvious fascination. He seemed in possession of himself. His mother, like the other mothers, was cheerful. Meanwhile, Angel's mother was speaking Spanish into her large smart phone, despite there being signs on the wall of the waiting room in both English and Spanish forbidding use of cell phones.
What I liked about Angel and his brother, who were decked out in what seemed spanking new matching hooded jackets, baggy pants, and sneakers, was that they, along with their mother, were oblivious of my observing them, possibly because the older brother was trying to keep Angel from grabbing the phone from his mother, who, unlike most mothers of white children I've observed, was not one bit flustered, or over wrought with the impossibility of parenthood, but utterly serene, as though no amount of chaos moved her one way or another.
She, too, wore a jacket with hood like her children and even allowed Angel to finally snatch the phone away and quickly jump off his chair and sit on the other side of his brother, who tried to snatch the phone away from Angel, who squealed and screamed as if being tortured. At this point the mother calmly said, “Hay-Soose, no mas.” Indeed, possessing and staring at the cell phone quieted Angel down—at least until Jesus shoved his finger in Angel's ear and Angel screamed and began crying. The mother scowled at Jesus, who became sheepish, while Angel's meteoric crying jag instantly ceased as he transitioned into staring into the smart phone.
The other very quiet 5 or 6 year old boy sat down on a tiny stool at a table that was part of several tables connected into a circle and began assembling little objects on a board. Angel immediately dropped the phone and tore across the room and pulled up a chair, dropped it over the circle of tables with toys and climbed into the circle, sat down on his chair across from the now occupied boy and began stacking little round objects on the other end of the boys' board. He smiled at Angel. Angel smiled back and picked up a toy and flung it across the room, jumped up, lifted a leg over a table, knocking the circle of low tables askew, lifted another leg to release himself from the circle, ran after the toy he'd flung, picked it up and placed it on the board of his now seeming friend and ran across the room to grab the smart phone from his brother, but his brother refused to release it, so Angel screamed and cried and ranted and waved his arms around until his mother yelled, “Hay-Soose!” and jabbered at him in Spanish.
Jesus gave Angel the phone. The mother spoke calmly and firmly to Angel, who handed the phone over to his mother just as a lady in a medical smock stepped out from a door and called a name, and the mother and the two polite girls with ribbons in their hair walked through the door. Meanwhile, Angel was again stepping over the now askew circle of tables into the middle to sit across from his new friend, who was still assembling objects on a board, and commenced to pound a toy on the table and laugh wildly.
As a new plump lady entered with two little boys, the one year old who'd been rocking on her mother's knee began squirming, so the mother released her and she walked unsteadily toward me, smiling, then wobbled over to the table to observe Angel and his new friend, and then the toddler-sister of the boy stacking objects on the board slipped off her chair and stood beside her brother to observe Angel knocking things around, screaming, squealing, growling, laughing, and then Angel jumped up and lifted a leg over the table and landed on the other side of the circle of tables and began running around in circles screaming and laughing and waving his arms until he landed beside his brother who yawned as he stared into the smart phone, which Angel tried to grab, but this time Jesus, a very patient and understanding and mellow big brother, refused to release the smart phone, but at the same time had difficulty studying it with Angel grabbing at it and yelling and screaming and now crying, but then the phone made a noise and the mother spoke to Jesus, who handed her the phone, into which she began talking in Spanish while Angel jumped down off his chair and ran past the circle of tables to a so far ignored book rack of slender volumes, picked one out and tossed it across the room...
Eventually Miranda came limping out of the door into the room, always dressed fashionably and smelling of a fine perfume, holding some sheets of paper with reports of her tests. She had to move quickly to dodge a careening Angel as I rose and we headed toward the door just as the girl in smock notified the mother of Angel and Jesus that a doctor was prepared to see them.
Once in the elevator and away from the waiting room chaos, Miranda smiled for the first time that day and exclaimed, “I love your T shirt! It looks brand new, and looks so much better on you than that ratty thing you had on before.” When we arrived at the bottom of the complex, she added, “You should throw that one you were wearing away. It's really ugly.”
“I'll wear it a few more times,” I explained. “Then use it as a rag.”