Recently, I found myself sitting in a vet clinic waiting room dealing with a bad batch of pup chow. Recommendation for dog owners... check expiration dates before buying. The aftermath is not enjoyable. However, at 8:20 in the morning it appears everyone in the vet waiting room is doing the same thing... staring at a screen and getting updates. Whether it be Facebook, a News outlet, or just texting - everyone was on their phone.
And then there is me. The paper guy. I have a 75 lb. yellow lab tucked between my legs who is terrified of the vet and of course the 4 lb. baby kitten across the room has him thinking he is a lap dog due to pure fear of the small creature. Spoiler alert - my dog is a wimp named Tank. Very fitting. Anyway, it's a recipe for disaster so I move to another seat. And as I move I notice something... a BIG stack of magazines. I don't know about you, but for me it's essentially a jackpot. Some people wouldn't call reading a 6 month old edition of Sports Illustrated a jackpot, but to each their own.
See, I remember the days of having to make the dreaded trip to the doctor or dentist without phones, tablets, or any other fancy device that provided distraction. The days when all you had were those crumpled 6 month old magazines that covered anything from sports to recipes. And it seemed my parents, particularly my Mom, would always grab one to look over and discuss. As a kid, I hated this. I read and discussed in school - no need to do that at the doctor's office in my opinion. But, time changes things I guess and as I was reading an article out of Home & Garden about how to make your yard "Pop in the spring of 17" (It's Fall season already and Sports Illustrated wasn't available), I noticed a lady next to me somewhat glancing at the article over my shoulder. I made a joke about the article, she chuckled and we started talking.
Next thing you know, the 4 or 5 of us sitting there were all talking. We talked about the weather, our pets, road construction and of course the kittens that were still making my dog shiver with fear. As we talked I noticed all phones were out of sight and people were interacting. This went on for what seemed like hours, but it was maybe 15 minutes. When conversations are enjoyable, you don't pay attention to time I guess.
One by one as everyone was called back to see the vet people would say good luck or what not as they left, but the conversation kept on with those remaining. As the last customer was called back I said my good lucks and went back to my article that I was reading prior. I didn't even get the 2nd paragraph finished before it was our turn to see the vet. As I put the magazine down, side stepped our way around the terrifying kittens and headed back to Room one I thought back to some of those doctor visits in my childhood. My parents would always be talking with someone in the waiting room. Sometimes it seemed like it was a best friend and they wouldn't even know their name. But, it always started with a magazine.
Maybe that's the point of out dated magazines in waiting rooms or maybe that's just another benefit of paper. A light read and the possibility to shoot the breeze with others. I'm sure my Mom never read the actual magazine, but I know she had a lot of good conversations over the years.
I guess you could add "Conversation Starter" to the long list of things paper products provide us... I know I will.
P.S. The dog is fine, but still a wimp.