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Saturday, 24 January 2009

Guardian All Ears 24th January

(Article by Michael Holden)

I was sitting in hospital, early for the earliest appointment of the day, when a couple came in-an elderly looking woman and younger man-who had taken the audacious move of turning up exactly on time and then paused for a moment to take in the queue of sickly swots that had already assembled. I’ve seen people flip out before at this but their credit they did nothing more than frown and check that they were indeed on schedule.

Woman (presumably the patient) “What’s the time?”

Man (possibly her son) “Nine. Bang on.”

He helped the woman to a seat where she sat panting, seemingly exhausted by the act of sitting down.

Man: “You want anything?”

Woman: (staring into space) “No.”

Man: “Want tea?”

Woman: “No.”

Man: (evidently pursuing the protocols of a familiar routine) “Coffee?”

Woman: “No.”

Man: “No hot drink?”

Woman: “No.”

Man: “Want a cold drink?”

Woman: “ No.”

Man: “Orange?”

Woman: “No.”

Man: “Plain water.”

Woman: “Yeah.”

Man: “Want something to eat?”

Woman: “No.”

Man: “A roll?”

Woman: No:

Man: “Crisps?”

Woman: (wildly affirmative) “Crisps! Plain!”

As he walked away she belched louder than anyone I’ve ever heard at which he turned back and smiled at her as if to say, “that’s my girl.”

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