I was sitting in my doctor’s waiting room Wednesday when it happened.
The Marianne Incident.
I was there for my yearly physical. I was feeling friendly and chipper despite being denied my morning coffee (stupid fasting cholesterol test!).
After I checked in at the front desk, I scanned the waiting room to decide where I would spend the next 5 to 45 minutes waiting to be called.
As with any waiting room or public sitting situation of any kind, it’s nice to always keep at least a one chair distance between you and the next person. More room is obviously great, but you’d like at least one empty chair as a buffer if at all possible. Who wants to skim arms with a total stranger if you don’t have to, amiright?
As I surveyed the situation, I saw two possible seating situations. There was a seat with TWO chairs between the next closest person. (YAY!) This looked good except that the next closest person was coughing vigorously. I just knew he was totally capable of hacking a pathogen straight into my lungs. Not optimal.
Thus, I chose the only other obvious seat…a chair on the end of a row separated from a normal looking lady by one chair. I plopped down.
To review the seating chart it was….ME….EMPTY CHAIR…MARIANNE. (I know her name was Marianne because later she went back to the catacombs of the examination area after the name “Marianne” was called)
Oh, except for one thing…the empty chair actually wasn’t totally empty. Marianne had her purse sitting in it right next to her.
After I took my Kindle out of my purse to settle in for a nice bit of reading, I zipped up my purse and also set in the empty chair right next to me.
The chair was wide enough so that our purses were not touching at all. In fact, there was a sizable gap between them. I wasn’t rummaging through my purse or touching it. I just sat it there next to Marianne’s purse in the empty chair and turned my attention to my Kindle.
Or at least that’s what I did until I had the feeling that someone was watching me. It turned out to be a disgruntled Marianne looking something like this…
Marianne: WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING? THAT’S MY CHAIR!
Marianne: YES, YOU!!! YOU PUT YOUR PURSE IN MY CHAIR!
Me: Oh…I just thought we’d share the purse chair.
I mean, isn’t that the purpose of a purse chair? It forms a comfortable distance between you and a stranger, and nobody has to balance her purse in her lap or put it on the floor. Everybody wins!
This was not Marianne’s philosophy. I know this because after she finished yelling, she dramatically snatched her purse out of the chair, shot straight out of her seat, and moved all the way across the waiting room to get as far away from me as possible.
All remaining eyes were on me. Without trying, I had repelled a grown woman across the room. She’d rather sit next to a guy would would almost certainly give her TB than spend one more minute next to me. Awkward.
I immediately did what any normal person would do. I whipped out my cell phone and began excitedly texting the entire story to Ashley! Ashley’s verdict: Marianne was a nut.
But now I want your opinion. Who was the crazy one here, me or Marianne? Did I brazenly step over the line of normal societal behavior by putting my purse next to hers…or…was Marianne obviously overreacting in a way that suggests stability isn’t her strong suit?