We've all done it, been handed a phone in a business office for the case handler, or we sit and wait, and wait, and wait in a government office while time passes like frozen molasses. Someone gets creative with this time, nothing that will get them 'escorted' off the premises. -- KnitNan
[AN: I hope I corrected this prompt accurately. If not, let me know and I'll fix it]
What many people don't know is... waiting rooms are an enormous social experiment. Possibly conducted by minds far more intelligent than our own. Watching us. Weighing us in the balance... and finding us strange.
There are some who, no matter the class of the environment, cannot sit still. They drum. They fidget. They touch every last thing in the room. They look at all the pictures and inspect the plants to see if they are real. And sometimes, in desperation, they check the couch for change.
Others will read dilapidated and defoliated magazines from a bygone era. Feigning interest in fashions long past and offers no longer available. Checking the already-solved puzzles for accuracy or penmanship. Sighing at the absent pages and carefully reading articles written by long-dead hands.
Some seem perfectly capable of doing nothing. Sitting politely, and immobile form, staring into infinity until such time as the infinite stares back. Vacant and vacuous. An empty vessel that makes no noise. Leave them too long, you might imagine, and they might blend in with the wallpaper.
Others unearth their phones and either browse content via an app, or play games until such time as notice is granted from the office officiator.
But the worst ones of all are the ones who make use of their time. They immediately unearth a notebook from their bags or pockets and set to work with pen or pencil. Making faces, muttering to themselves, and occasionally cackling. They are, of course, completely unaware of what they are doing. Their entire mind is in the reality they press between those small pages. These are the inventive ones. The ones who have interesting collections of knowledge because they have to keep looking things up. The ones who can invent. The ones who think about things way too much. The ones who ask all the wrong questions.
The observers have done what they can to suppress them. Discourage them. Enhancing the idea that the only work worth doing is that which is done under another's rule. That which raises a sweat. That which cricks the neck. That which burns the eye under a fluorescent glare. That which locks a body inside a little box with no windows and measures productivity by the forms filled and the reports filed. That which recites by rote. Phrases like, "working hard or hardly working" or, "thank god it's friday" or, "a bad case of the mondays" said with mock joviality that melts the brain.
But despite their best efforts, the dreamers persist. They always have a notebook. Or a pencil. Or a file on their device. Something that makes a window. Something that peeks beyond the accepted reality. Something that makes its own escape.
If they could crush those types, they know, they could win.