My sister Nancy used to say:
(Capybaras, from the Animal Embassy)
You know how you go to the zoo, and you get to the Capybara enclosure, and your whole group says, "What in the world is THAT!? Is that a rat? No, it's too big for a rat. Is it a pig? No, it's too hairy to be a pig. Is it a beaver without a tail? No, that can't be right. Wait! Here's the information tag: (reads out info on capybaras)." Then everyone stands around and admires the capybaras, and talks about how cute the babies are, and how they are related to guinea pigs, and you had that guinea pig, remember?......
Then a new group of people come up, and you move aside a little bit, but you are still THERE. You are not done yet. And then the new people say all the same things that you just said. EXACTLY. And you feel scornful of those people, because are they idiots!? Also, those are actually kind of YOUR capybaras now.
That's the Zoo Conundrum. Because you didn't know a thing about capybaras before five minutes ago, but now you do, and you want these people to go away and stop looking at them! Clearly they are annoying the capybaras. And, of course, you.
So, I have a doctor, and I go every three months for a checkup. It's in Lewisville, which is not very convenient, and the construction traffic on I-35 is horrible. It is just 20 miles away, but today it took me an hour to get home and longer to get there.
The waiting room is about 11 x 11 and always full. Ugh.
I arrived on time for my appointment and was told it would be about 20 minutes before I was seen. I took a seat in the waiting room and started to read a Time magazine. There were children with balls, which I later learned the doctor had given them. Thanks, Doc.
Two of the women in the waiting room started to talk, and the one seated next to me had one of those voices that you could hear through the wall of a submarine. So loud. SO loud.
They talked about a great many things, including car trips in the US, camping, various states and their terrain, chickens, egg colors, vegan diets, curing your own cancer with vegan diets, child care arrangements, travel in Europe. Then they started talking about how important international travel was, and how EVERYONE HAS TO DO IT! Blah blah blah, Eiffel Tower, blah blah blah.
And I found myself experiencing the Zoo Syndrome in a way. Because I am 300% for the importance of travel; educational travel was my life's work for 23 years. Yet, because of my annoyance, I found myself thinking evil, evil thoughts about it all. Scornful thoughts. "What do THEY know!? If I went to the Eiffel Tower and they were there I'd leave forever!" Etc.
So, I updated my Facebook status:
"Stuck in the waiting room from hell with the most annoying people ever. Help."
And I got so many nice comments from friends, including my favorite from Eileen: "can you write a nice short story about it a la Flannery O'Connor?"
Aw, I wish I could.
But I've never been a fiction writer.
On the way home, though, I thought of how it was kind of like the Zoo Conundrum.
So there's my story. Clearly God is trying to tell me something. Perhaps to take the advice from Cynde's comment, "I've started carrying ear buds with me everywhere. Even if I don't listen to anything, they help."