Waiting Means Watching

Flat screens have made it possible to put TVs in every doctor’s office and, sure enough, they’ve now installed one in the waiting room at the West Side Health Center (part of the IATSE health plan). For your enjoyment, the audio is turned up to full listening volume. There were four of us sitting there recently. Three were reading, the fourth was looking around aimlessly. The TV was tuned to the Food Network. I asked if the sound could be muted, since nobody was watching. No, the receptionist was very clear about this. She has to make the TV available for patients. I didn’t bother to point out that I was a patient, too.

It used to be that putting a blaring TV in a waiting room was cheesy — something you’d find in low-rent diner or a Greyhound bus terminal. But today, with flat panels appearing everywhere, the unwritten rule is changing. Now everybody watches–and listens. In my book, that’s not an improvement. If you’re going to make me wait, at least let me do it in peace.

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4 Comments on “Waiting Means Watching”

  1. It’s funny, with the prevalence of smart-phones and portable computers (and now -ebook readers), it seems like more and more people are carrying their own entertainment around with them. I think a kind of equilibrium will develop between the two, and we’ll see some of those TVs go away.

  2. Frank Reynolds Says:

    I concur with what Brad says. In fact, I wonder if, in the future, if a TV is in a waiting room, it would be on mute, and your phone/laptop/whatever could connect wirelessly with the audio signal on the TV so you could listen to the TV with your own headphones if you want to.

  3. Steve Says:

    Maybe. What technology takes away, it gives back in other forms. But I don’t much like listening to other folks talking loudly on cell phones, either.

  4. Philipp Says:

    I agree with Steve. And I hate noise pollution, e.g. in super markets or stores in general, where they want to stimulate your buying behaviour.


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