Sometimes people along the way are a source of regret for the encounter. This particularly unfortunate rendezvous was with a woman working at a government hospital in the reception area for new patients. Clearly, there was never a more unhappy woman than this one. Sitting behind a glass wall absolutely insuring her insulation from the great unwashed, she was the poster child for gloom and doom. There were a few holes for hearing and a slot at the bottom to insert the documentation she would so bruskly demand from the unfortunate people cursed with having to deal with her. Her countenance issued the clear message that, you, by your very presence, had hastened the undeserved despair that was her lot in life and you were going to be treated as the scum that you so incontestably are. One leaves her presence knowing that she could brighten any room (or even the universe for that matter) by simply leaving it. Escape from her disapproving gaze could not be faster than it was.
But then there was the medical assistant who would take the vital statistics that will tell your Doctor whether you were sick or well. A grandmotherly type, her little corner of the world was festooned with several pictures of grandchildren. An inquiry was made as to the many pictures on the wall and that launched an enthusiastic verbal narrative on her many children of her children. Throughout that discussion, she was doing the job of taking blood pressure, pulse, and asking all the preliminary questions that would assist the Physician who would be seen at some point. She was gleeful in her pride of these many grandchildren. Incredibly, in the midst of her dissertation on the pride of her family, she included many questions regarding status of health and reason for coming and even one’s own family. All done with that special quality of gentleness observed only in Grandmothers. The day was much improved by the time spent with her. Oddly enough, this matron of gentle touch and demeanor was within a short rock throw from the queen of occupational wretchedness.
One can’t help but wonder at sadness and happiness all in the same place. One in extreme discontent and the other the very picture of a life fulfilled. It is one of the great mysteries that people will work in a job they detest and, in so doing, impart their gloom to all that encounter her/him. One wonders….