Yesterday I had an appointment at a health clinic I had never been to before. All I had was a street address and I figured that would be enough to get me to where I was going. I gave the coordinates to Henrietta (aka Google’s driving directions AI) and off we went.
The clinic is located in a city I don’t live in but I’m familiar with. Still, it didn’t occur to me that the clinic might be located downtown. Downtown is a whole different story. There are parking meters which like to be fed quarters. I didn’t bring any quarters and they don’t accept plastic. How quaint! Furthermore, downtown just feels like a whole different city, a far away city, like you might find in Washington or Oregon, for instance.
So, Henrietta announced that we’d arrived at our destination. Except, we hadn’t. I saw some sort of automotive place and a dance studio. We drove around the block. On the second pass, I noticed that the address I’d been given was the address of the dance studio.
My husband was driving so he let me out in front of the dance studio and went in search of free parking. I told him to try the alley as there seemed to be cars parked there.
I felt a little lost as he drove away. I went to the doorway of the dance studio and stepped inside. What I saw was a long hallway. It was dingy and old. Maybe it was my imagination but I thought I heard a voice cry out in – what? Surprise? Pain? I don’t know. I felt like I’d walked into a scary scene in a movie.
To my left was another door with the name of the doctor in the clinic I was looking for. Why doesn’t she have her own sign posted outside on the building? I stepped inside the office. I relaxed a little. It was decorated nicely. It was much nicer than the dingy hallway.
I spoke to one lady who seemed to work there and she told me to take a seat in the waiting room, even though I was already seated. Maybe I should have waited to be invited to take a seat. My husband came in after he found a parking space in the alley. He didn’t wait to be invited to take a seat either. Another lady, who was the designated receptionist, I think, came in shortly afterward, and he asked her where the restroom was at. She took him back behind a golden curtain hanging in the doorway and showed him the men’s room. She then came back to the waiting area.
She looked at me and said, “Have you ever been here before?”
Instead of answering directly, I began to tell her the reason I was there.
She interrupted me. “Have you ever been here before?” She gave me a very pointed look.
In this particular place? “No, I haven’t been here before.”
“Let me show you the restrooms,” she said.
Well, I did need to go, actually. Nice of her to anticipate that. But I was waiting for my husband to return first because he’d handed me his hat and I didn’t want to take it into the ladies room with me. I followed her anyway.
“We share the restrooms with the dance studio,” she explained, as we walked along. “If you use the restroom make sure you lock the door after you finish.”
Huh? Sure enough there was a deadbolt on the outside of the restroom door. I’d never been in a restroom where you go inside, leave the door unlocked, and then lock it when you come back out.
When my husband returned (he’d been told the same spiel earlier) I handed him his hat and went to the ladies room.
I unlocked the deadbolt and stepped inside. I shut the door and saw that the inner lock had been disabled so that you couldn’t lock the door from the inside. Directly across from me was another door standing wide open which led into a locker-room. Someone had left a lone shoe lying on the floor there. No one was in sight. Still, I felt exposed, so I shut that door. To my dismay there were only curtains on the two bathroom stalls, no doors. I felt uneasy and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. Why does the clinic lock the dancers out with a deadbolt and take great caution with telling new people to make sure that they lock those doors? What kind of dance studio are they neighbors with anyway?