And there you were thinking I was communing with the Undead. Sadly (?) the reality is far more mundane, but before that, more pithy and urbane musings on the state of the world at large and our little corner of Borsetshire in particular.
First, no matter when the "last-surgery-before-Christmas" happens to fall (Friday afternoon 22 December on this occasion) a weird phenomenon is to be observed. The surgery, which has been thereto a heaving mass of afflicted humanity sore in need of "the tablets", is transported wholesale to a parallel dimension. Wind howls across the deserted waiting room, sporting fitfully with the tumbleweed that appears from nowhere to fill the void. The phone, till now red hot in the operators hand, forgets all on a sudden how to ring.
Every five minutes or so someone feels the need to lift the receiver just to check, but there really is nobody there. (That should probably be "there really isn't anybody there" on reflection.)
The truth is, the whole of Ambridge has suddenly found something better to do with their time than be ill, and for most of them that means packing up work early and clearing off for the Holidays. Surgeries will be like this for the next fortnight, frequented only by lost souls who forgot to get "the tablets" in good time for Christmas, those unfortunates slated to work between the two holiday weekends who find themselves too hung over and in need of an exculpatory sick note, and the odd poorly person in amongst the others just to keep us on our mettle.
Second, if you can have "second" three paragraphs after "first", (makes mental note to look again at avoidance of circumlocution in New Year, I blame the reappearance of Ronnie Corbett on the telly, so anyway the producer said to me just now..... ) the roads of Borsetshire are bereft both of fog and of traffic. The same phenomenon that has whisked off the punters has done for all the road users in the county. Every single one. Except for sad specimens like the Bin Men and me. Somehow I quite like that juxtaposition though, especially since the Bin Men probably make more of a contributuion to public health on their weekly rounds than I do day to day in surgery. (And they helped me get to work in the guise of Gritter Lorry Men the year we had the blizzards, but that's a whloe 'nother story.)
Right, now that's off my chest as it were, back to business. Ruth brings in Ben and Josh today with a bit of a cough. You see Ruth is not a believer, and so failed to bring them in for the laying on of hands last week. As a result no-one in the household has slept for three nights because the lads have had a bit of a cough.
Every ten minutes or so.
They haven't even managed to synchronise paroxysms so that's every five minutes on average. All three pasty faces the other side of the desk look a trifle frayed. Or at least the two I can see properly do. Josh has decided, probably quite wisely, that he doesn't want to see the Jesterly "Christmas Jumper" in all its resplendent glory, and so has hands clamped firmly over his eyes.
With impeccable two year old logic, Josh figures if he can't see me then he too is invisible. He is disabused of this quaint notion by the cold bell of the stethoscope making contact with his back, but so long as I remain invisible, my stethoscope can't exist and it can't be happening so that's ok then isn't it. If he believes hard enough perhaps it'll go away. And so it does, in the end, as do the fingers feeling for "swollen glands" in the neck. The ordeal is all over.
Suddenly we can all become visible again, the hands drop and a pale but cheery Josh emerges into the light.
Later it occurs to me that Josh is simply enacting something we are all capable of metaphorically in this all too literal form. We all have things we perfer not to face, and so clamp our hands tight to our eyes, only to drop them when the visit to the dentist is over, the tax return is filed or the annual appraisal has been completed. Then we drop our hands, wonder what all the fuss has been about and carry on.
Until the next time.