I went to see the doctor today. He was checking whether my sense of humour was still intact.
Ours is a big medical practice with several doctors and nurses. It has a large waiting room with a speaker system which plays soft music and every so often it calls patients to their appointed doctor.
“Would Mr Herbert Pixon please go to Dr Smythe’s room please?” said the speaker as a weedy tall middle-aged man got up and left the waiting room.
Now Dr Smythe may well be the best doctor in the world, but he is certainly not that good at technical matters; because he inadvertently left the microphone open in his room, and this is what we all heard.
“Do sit down Mr Pixon. What seems to be the problem?”
A lady in the waiting room suddenly got up to advise the receptionist that the mike was switched on.
“It is rather very embarrassing!” interrupted Mr Pixon.
The lady sat down again to the relief of everyone in the waiting room.
“There’s no need for embarrassment,” soothed the doctor, “we’re here to help and I’m sure whatever is the matter, we’ve dealt with it before.”
“Well … I’ve met this young lady …” Pixon hesitated.
An elderly lady in the waiting room reading her book suddenly took off her spectacles and started listening with the rest of us.
“I met her on an Internet website …” continued the hapless man, “she came to my apartment yesterday evening … for a romantic encounter …”
A man in the waiting room started tapping his hearing-aid violently to make sure it works all right.
“I understand,” said the doctor, “you want to discuss precautions …”
“Well … not just that,” muttered Pixon, “it’s that something actually happened … I feel awful about it!”
At this point the receptionist entered the waiting room. Everyone pretended they were reading a book or newspaper and not paying attention to the loudspeaker on the wall. She looked at us suspiciously for a moment or two, and then she stood on a chair and increased the volume on the speaker, and sat down with us to listen.
“The young lady arrived at 7:35 …” said Pixon, “this put me off a little because she was five minutes late.
“I took off her coat and she was wearing a nice pink blouse and a short blue skirt.
“I offered her a cup of nettles tea. She took one sip and said she didn’t like it. I offered her dandelion tea and she turned it down too. She wanted a gin and tonic but I didn’t have any tonic. And I didn’t have any gin either …”
“I understand,” interrupted the doctor gently, “what exactly happened which made you come to see me?”
“I’m getting to that …” answered Pixon, “we sat down for something to eat. We had tofu and nettles salad for starters, and quinoa with broad beans for our main. She didn’t like either and asked for some meat; but I didn’t have any. She just nibbled at a multi-grain bread roll.
“I got up to put some romantic music on. Insect sounds of the forest. Have you got that record?”
“Mr Pixon, please get to the point,” suggested the doctor, “I have other patients to see …”
“Don’t rush me!” said an upset Pixon, “you’re like my mother. She always says Herbert get to the point.
“Well the point is that when I put the music on, the young lady started running her finger through my quinoa. She had her own plate full, but she ran her finger provocatively in an enticing and beguiling manner through my quinoa moving it around in circles all over the plate. I had difficulty eating from around her fingers because I did not wish to stab her accidentally with my fork.
“Wherever I ate, she followed my fork with her finger.
“I didn’t know what to say … I asked her ‘Would you like some of my quinoa?’ and she said rather abruptly ‘No … I’ve dropped my contact lens in your plate!”
The whole waiting room chuckled and then realized that this was not appropriate in case they missed part of the conversation.
The doctor encouraged Pixon once again, rather sternly but politely, to get to the point.
“After the meal I showed her my organ pedal collection,” continued Herbert whilst the waiting room filled up with more patients and nurses.
“I don’t actually play the organ, but I collect the pedals from old ones which have been decommissioned. I have some that date back to Napoleonic times. And some from the reign of Queen Victoria, King George, and even as far back as Henry the Eighth. And of course there are pedals from modern electronic organs too …
“I brought all the pedals which I keep in separate boxes, all properly labeled. Both the boxes as well as the pedals so that each pedal goes back in its proper box. I write carefully in my best hand-writing which organ the pedal appertained to, the date of manufacture of the organ, as well as the date of decommissioning, the price I paid for the pedal when I acquired it, although mostly I got them for free, and the date and place of such acquirement.
“I have six hundred and seventy two pedals. Some are wooden and some are brass or other metallic substance such as cast iron or steel.
“I took each pedal out of the box carefully and explained their history to the young lady.
“I had reached number two hundred and ten when it happened … the embarrassing thing I came to see you about doctor … I noticed the young lady had fallen asleep. She had her face in her plate full of quinoa and she was snoring loudly.
“Doctor … are you OK? Doctor … why is your head down on the desk? Are you feeling a little tired? Have you not been listening to me?”