Thursday, January 15, 2009

Not Playing By The Rules

"Don't move the chairs."

I don't get it.

The sign, posted six or eight times in a small dental clinic in Corpus
Christi, Texas, doesn't make sense. Why would I want to move the chairs?

We visit the office because, well, we need emergency dental care and
this is the place we find (and it wasn't easy). So we walk in, read the signs and don't move the chairs (heck, there are only about 12 of them anyway).

Other patients spill in and I notice a pattern: moms and kids. I hear giggles from examining rooms, then cries. The patients I see leaving do so aloft in their moms' arms, usually with wet, reddened eyes.

Have we chosen a pediatric clinic? The office help says no. Hmmm.

Soon, Allen is called to the back. As he enters the world of giggles
and cries, three little kids exit and immediately find three little
plastic chairs they pick up and move about randomly, having a great time. Hey! I chuckle to myself. Can't you kids read?

The musical chairs continues and as the kids giggle, so do I. We talk, and immediately, I whoosh into their little world, drawn into their play. They are Edmar, 8, Gismar, 6, and Nona, 1. They are waiting for the doctor to finish with their 4-year-old brother Fidel before heading back to their grandma's house, where they have lived since Hurricane Ike tore off their Raymondville, Texas, roof.

While they talk, they continue to move the chairs about like a shell
game. They grin. They giggle.

No one dares make them stop moving those chairs.

What possibly could those signs mean?