Introverted But Not Unfriendly

It's kind of a funny story.  I don't have many of those, but this one so quirkily describes my nature so that even I was surprised by its honesty that I felt compelled to share it between my more intellectual posts on God, Man, Heaven, and Hell. 

I had to go to the doctor.  I almost never have to go to the doctor, but this particular practitioner has been my physician since I was born, so I know the ropes of the office tolerably.  The whole building is set up in such a way that you make a sort of horseshore circuit of it as you pass through.  In order to get back into the lobby, and therefore to the exit, you must pass through a small separate room barred from the rest of the world by two solid wooden doors, one on either end of its little, odd-shaped space.  It is a cosy, dark wood-paneled enclosure, very familiar to me - I finally stand tall enough to see well over the receptionist's desk, but I remember the days of having to stretch on the tippiest of my toes to see the top of the lady's head.  Now, on this occasion, while my mother and I were on our way out, the receptionist remarked that she only had one more copy of The Shadow Things left.  Since the doctor knows us so well, the office has graciously been displaying copies of both The Soldier's Cross (Abigail Hartman) and The Shadow Things.  We told her that we had more copies in the Jeep and that I would be back with fresh reserves.

There is nothing like a doctor's office, however familiar, to make one feel insecure and small.  For twenty-one years I have been going to this single practice but I had to ask my mother all the same if it was acceptable for me to go in through the exit.  To this day I bore a foreboding feeling that there was some invisible Do Not Enter, One Way Only sign on that blank, solid wood door.  She told me that it was perfectly acceptable, so back I traipsed with my books in hand.  I was the only soul in the lobby, but habitual tip-toeing and reverential hush lay over me as I went in and opened the Exit. 

There was a woman there before me (behind me?), leaning on the counter, waiting to get her credit card back from the receptionist.  I think it must be rather bizarre for people to come popping back in by way of the Exit, so naturally the woman looked round as I came in.  Like Justin of The Silver Branch, I am naturally friendly to strangers, but always appreciate a show of friendliness in return.  In this instance - the space of a split second - I doubted I would get such a smiling reception, so I took the bull by the horns.  And the first words out of my mouth were

"Peek-a-boo!" 

Thus I made my grand debut into that complete stranger's life.  I did get a smile out of her, a sincere one; as I arranged my books on the counter with Abigail's and chatted benedictorily with the receptionist, I can only imagine what that woman must have been thinking about the weird little brunette who uses Exits as Entrances.  Whatever it was, it was probably accurate.

9 ripostes:

  1. Oh, what an amusing tale, Jenny! You are quite the storyteller, even when you are simply relaying an experience at the doctor's office. This put a bit of sunshine in my day; thank you for that. ;)

    Blessings,
    Elizabeth Rose

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  2. Ha! This is so something I would do!

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  3. Haha! I'm so proud of you, Jenny! It was brilliant to say something so...soo.....odd! :D

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  4. I actually laughed out loud! This was great and reminded me so much of my unofficial life motto (adapted from a quote by Siegfried Farnon of James Herriot's veterinary series): "Life offers unparalleled opportunities to make a chump of yourself." But I think you averted the "chump" part and sailed through with admirable humor. If you're taken by surprise, you can always improvise! ;-)

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  5. This is so hilarious. I too have had many moments of two-second brilliance which later turn out to be awkward. One of these was a couple years ago. I was at a Christmas party, and I had to put a wadded-up napkin into the trash. A guy was standing by the trashcan, and rather than face my fear of guys, I decided to throw the napkin from a considerable distance. My throw fell short, and it fell at the guy's feet. I promptly blushed, smiled awkwardly, stood up, and said, "Sorry -- I'm not too good at basketball."

    Yes. 'Twas quite embarrassing, but I laugh about it now.

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  6. This was a delightful tale, Jenny, and you wrote it beautifully (as usual)! Me too, I "am naturally friendly to strangers, but always appreciate a show of friendliness in return"... but I can't imagine blurting out something so funny "Peek-a-Boo!" to a stranger all the same!... I am sure the lady must have been delightfully astonished at such an unusual greeting ;).

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  7. Aha! I can just see the encounter in my mind's eye, and the picture compliments you, like feathers on a bird. ^.^

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  8. Oh, Jenny, you are a dear. I love you. That is all.

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  9. I love this story! I would have never been so brave as to open my mouth. (and anything that did come out would probably be mumbled inaudibly our come out as a squeak.) This is Brilliant! Love you!

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