How to Amuse Yourself in the Waiting Room

We all have to do it. Whether for it's for an annual physical, the dentist's office, or the chiropractor, most of us are familiar with the "waiting room." For those of us that need a refresher, it's usually an off-white room with 70s inspired upholstery, stock images of plants, and cheesy disco music played at a barely audible level. When you're sick of reading last year's crumpled magazines and pamphlets on adult acne, here's what you need to do.

1. Know what you're working with.

Doctors' offices are usually very busy, even if there's no one in the waiting room. You never know what's going on behind the scenes, so know that going in. What will help is asking the receptionist if the doctor is on time, or held up. It can't hurt to ask.

2. Come prepared.

You're going to be extra ornery if you're waiting, bored, and hungry. Snacking can be helpful. But be mindful that some waiting rooms may discourage eating. If you're not in the dentist, try a sucking candy or chewing gum.

3. Look inward.

When there's nothing in the physical universe to entertain us, we can resort to our minds. Recall a lovely memory, imagine a beautiful vacation, or make up a story. You can also play memory games with yourself. Go through the alphabet and try to name one item in the room with each letter. Then try to memorize them all.

4. Doodle.

Bring a pad of paper with you, or ask the receptionist for it. Make funny caricatures of the receptionists and other patients waiting. Entitle your creation, "Scenes from the Waiting Room."

5. Play with the kids' stuff.

Some doctors' offices will have amusing toys for children. Just because you're not a child doesn't mean you're exempt from these toys. Go ahead. Play with some blocks. Draw an Etch a Sketch. Go wild.

Hey, the nurse has been calling your name for five minutes already. And look how much fun you had waiting. Next time, just bring a book, okay?

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