Afternoon delights

AFTER MANNING the Out-Patient Department (OPD) triage at 11 am and handling one patient at the Dermatology Clinic, I went home to sleep. I woke up at 4 pm and noticed that a region of my hair, particularly the right temporoparietal area, was flattened—a Grade A recommendation for me to get a haircut immediately.

Realizing I still had a couple of hours to spare before my 7 pm ER post, I barged into my favorite barbershop. My barber Vio was having siesta and had to be woken up. If he didn't wake up I would've gone back another day. I don't just let anybody trim my hair, especially after that childhood incident that involved my father leaving me alone, the barber mowing my hair like it was Bermuda grass—a tale that deserves an entry of its own.

The barbers and manicurists were seated on the couch, watching what seemed like an Asian telenovela. I don't care much for television these days, but the sight of those people, their eyes glued on the TV set, spewing random comments about how evil this or that character was, and resuming the chattering during commercial break, made me miss home.

Ate Alice, our househelp of many years, and the many helpers that came after her (some having stayed with us for three years, others for three days), used to watch similar afternoon shows. Our house gets eerily quiet in the afternoons. My father would be out having coffee with his friends; my mother would be in her clinic; Manong would be in his room, reading yet another book; Sean would be outside, playing basketball or riding his bike somewhere. And the silence would be broken intermittently by the Tagalized conversations overheard over the TV.

I sat on the barber chair, overwhelmed with nostalgia, wondering what I had gotten myself into. For a while I wished I were like them, ordinary people who had 7-to-5 jobs, folks who had the pleasure of watching afternoon TV shows. Why does medical training feel like torture sometimes? Is this really the career path that the Lord intends for me to pursue? I spent a few minutes asking God those questions, and my heart was quieted by my remembrance of His Word—that He is in control of all things, that I am where I am now because that is what He intends.

Before I fell into more nostalgia Vio showed up, his face showing creases from prolonged sleeping. He emerged out of his stupor and started trimming my hair the way I wanted it. As soon as he was done, reality hit me eventually: I had to be at the ER before 7 pm. I was hoping that I wouldn't have a lot of patients to deal with—if only for that night.

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One thought on “Afternoon delights”

  1. a Grade A recommendation for me to get a haircut immediately.
    What an evidenced based decision! :) -aa

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