My dad and I sat in his doctor’s waiting room for three hours last Thursday.
Even without the pandemic, doctors’ waiting rooms were flirting with extinction. But concierge services haven’t quite made it to suburban Pennsylvania healthcare.
So we waited for three hours.
We sat as people came and went like we were Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot.
Somewhere on the way to hour two of our wait, my dad elbowed me. He gestured to the other patients in the waiting room.
“I’m not that bad off,” my dad said. “When you look at some of these other people? I’m not that bad off.”
He can’t be left alone, sometimes forgets where he is, and fell three times last year. I’m pretty sure he’s exactly as bad off as some of the other people in that waiting room. But I appreciated his grit. That grit is probably why he mops the floor with his pinochle opponents.
The waiting room’s TV was tuned to The Hallmark Channel, which apparently has some kind of quota to meet when it comes to The Golden Girls.
We sat through six episodes.
Let me tell you something. That show is still hilarious. I laughed for three hours.
“You might be too old for me,” my husband said later, when I told him how well The Golden Girls’ humor holds up.
As the ladies’ adventures played out, my dad chuckled. “Rose?” I asked. “Or Sophia?”
“Neither,” he said. “Sometimes I have to laugh at my Parkinson’s disease.”
Well, it works for Michael J. Fox.
That link takes you to the AARP website. Their magazine does great celebrity interviews. And their travel guides! I love Rick Steves on PBS, but AARP’s travel guides are a close second.
Huh. Maybe I am too old for my husband.
As hour two of our wait limped by, I shared with my dad a realization I made last year.
“Rue McClanahan was 51 in the pilot episode of The Golden Girls. In three years, I’ll be the same age as Blanche.”
My dad laughed. And laughed some more. He laughed until he was doubled over. He laughed until tears ran down his face. He laughed until his breath hitched.
“Hey. I wouldn’t laugh too hard, there, buddy,” I said. “You weren’t exactly young when you had me. I might be on my way to Blanche, but you’re already Sophia.”
Anybody who laughs at their own Parkinson’s disease is going to laugh at being Sophia, too.
It’s disquieting to think of myself as The Golden Girls’ peer. I watched that show when I was in junior high school. In my teenage eye, Rose and the gang were my grandmother’s age. USA Today described them as “geriatric.”
I’m not geriatric. Right? Nobody has offered me the shingles vaccine. My doctor warns me about getting pregnant. I haven’t even had a colonoscopy. I can’t be a Golden Girl.
Although … my doctor warns me about getting pregnant because many women my age think they can’t get pregnant anymore.
Ugh. There was an episode of The Golden Girls about that. Blanche thought she was pregnant.
She wasn’t. It was just menopause.
I might be a Golden Girl.
But wait. Three of that show’s four characters are widows. The characters from And Just Like That … are, like me, the same age as The Golden Girls. Sarah Jessica Parker is widowed in the first episode of And Just Like That …
I might be graveside in short order.
So maybe my husband has it wrong. Maybe he’s too old for me.
The BBC called the ladies of The Golden Girls “sassy, sexual, and above all, funny.” I’ve nailed one of those if the doctor is warning me I can still get pregnant.
And I did make my dad laugh when I told him I’m almost old enough to be Blanche.
But I’m not allowed to be sassy. I’m a WASP. We are, on the whole, not a sassy people.
The day after our marathon wait at the doctor’s office, my dad and I strolled the hallways of the Temple of Doom, the independent living facility where my parents live. A resident I don’t care for stopped us.
“You’re always surrounded by beautiful women!” she told my dad.
“What?” my dad said, which is exactly what you want your dad to say when someone calls you “beautiful.”
My mom later explained this resident I don’t care for thinks I’m the most beautiful woman she’s ever seen.
“I still don’t like her,” I said.
Oh! Was that sass? Was I just sassy? Am I sassy, sexual, and funny?
Last night, a lingering shoulder injury woke me. I grabbed an ice pack, nestling it against my arm as I settled back into bed.
My husband — not a widower yet! — confessed the next morning he had considered taking advantage of our mutual midnight wakefulness to, well, let’s just say he wasn’t looking for me to be funny. Or sassy.
But my ice pack was a deterrent. Nobody thinks you’re sassy, sexual, or funny when you’re icing injuries.
So I can’t be a Golden Girl.
But at least my husband gets to live.