While waiting in the Urgent Care facility for my Mother-in-Law to be checked out after her bad fall down the escalator, a woman seated just two seats away from me was talking quite loudly into what appeared to me to be a iPod Nano with wires on each side of it.
I began feeling somewhat irritated as the woman made call after call, each of them quite loud.
Although I attempted to tune her and her calls out, they were loud enough that I–and probably most of the people in the large waiting room–couldn’t help but hear what the calls were about. She had cut her hand and had to have it stitched up, but her two elementary school children were about to be let out of school. She normally picked them up, and was trying to find someone who she knew and trusted–and that the school knew and trusted–to pick them up instead.
I briefly thought to offer to pick her kids up for her but quickly dismissed the idea. I couldn’t leave my in-laws, and even if I could, there is no way a mother is going to let a strange man go pick up her kids.
I certainly could understand why she was making so many calls, but why did she after to be so loud? She seemed concerned but not frantic and there didn’t seem to be stridency in her voice just yet.
Then I heard someone ask her when she was between calls about the device that she was talking into. She explained, “I’m deaf. I need this device to be able to hear my cell phone.”
Now I understood, and felt bad that I’d been irritated by her volume level.
Context is everything.
This story has a happy ending. (My stories nearly always do, as I love happy endings.) I heard that she found a neighbor who would pick them up in time.
I also noticed three coincidences:
Both she and my MIL were there due to a cut hand.
Her neighbor is about the same age as my MIL.
Her neighbor and I have nearly identical surnames (hers had an “R”) and both are somewhat unusual names.)
Coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps not, but interesting to me nonetheless…