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Rated: E · Short Story · Experience · #1299647
A humorous lesson of patience and humility
You all know it well, the "check in" window at the doctors office. Some are thick, like bullet proof glass, with a square opening at the bottom, others have a sphere of those tiny holes punched out where the mouth of an average height receptionist would naturally line up, the one in my office is clear glass, it sits in a sliding track and has a small shiny chrome handle that I can use to cheerfully whisk open with delight when I see a friendly face, or that I can slam shut abruptly when I have been greeted with "how long of a wait will it be?".

A petite middle aged woman with yellow skin arrives at my window. You might be wondering if she suffers from jaundice this little yellow woman, but she is just a tiny Chinese lady, or Japanese or Vietnamese or Filipino or whatever... she is something Asian, I really don't know!

What I do know is, this lady clearly doesn't speak English and it's making me mad, I don't have time for this!

After I slid my window open, I asked the woman for the patient's name, and she looked at me coyly and replied in a soft yet high pitched voice "huh".
"HUH" I say to myself, as I'm thinking how rude? How about "excuse me", or "pardon"? Even "what" would have been more polite than "huh".
With irritation and volume now, I repeated slowly "AND... THE... PATIENT'S... NAME... IS....?"

I don't know why, but when someone doesn't speak English, I start talking louder as if they will understand me now that I'm yelling.
Perhaps they are careless for not learning the language, but certainly not deaf!

Anyway, she replied the same way "huh". My shoulders have sunk now, and I have lowered my head, deflating from frustration. As I sigh, I see the woman is rifling through her bag, she reaches in and out comes her drivers license, she extends her arm nearing my face with her thumb nail underlining her last name when she says to me (albeit accented) crystal clear.... "Lisa Ha, I here for docta appointment".

I'm a thirty something, with a 10th grade education, I have a lot to learn yet. I work in a highly emotionally charged environment where I am schooled regularly. I may have dropped out of high school, but I did not stop learning. Today's lesson was in patience... taught by my patients.

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