I recently had to spend four hours in a busy hospital waiting room. I’d been to this place before and knew I was going to be there awhile, so I came prepared, bringing not one but two books (children’s books, but still). What I found interesting was this particular waiting room offered no reading material of its own, nor was anyone in it besides me reading anything that wasn’t a phone*. But surely I can’t be the only person who brings their own material anymore. So what do you bring to waiting rooms?

(*This is not entirely true; there was another woman who was reading a book of undetermined religious material (I did not want to stare too much, but I never quite determined what it was about, other than God). I suppose a waiting room is a good place as any to exercise your desire to get to know God. It’s one of the places where you might need Him/Her the most.)**

(**I, too, was getting to know God, through a Judy Blume book, but more on that later.)

My last visit to this particular hospital, when I was not anticipating such a long wait, I mistakenly brought a book I was more than halfway through. Admittedly, I’m a speedy reader, but it was still frustrating when I finished it and still had plenty of time to kill. So my rules for reading are: something new and something I won’t be (A) too engrossed in that I can’t hear my name called, and (B) something I won’t be too upset to put down when I’m inevitably called. After all, that’s the purpose of waiting room magazines, isn’t it? They cater a bit to modern day ADD culture, but it’s a necessary sort of thing, since you’ll have to be getting up and going at some point.