Ad-libbing in the face of the NHS
Updated: Jan 10
Performing Does Not Always Require A Stage
I was sitting in the GP waiting room suitably preened for a smear test when a nurse appeared…calling my name.
Like the rest in the waiting room, I was masked and over-egging my smile to what I thought were familiar faces.
I spend way too much time on my own — — enough to talk to spiders.
My “hubby” lives on the other side of Scotland. He is from Bangladesh and works with other men from Bangladesh in a restaurant so busy they sometimes forget I’m there.
Catching his attention is like trying to catch a trout without a fly unless, of course, we are in bed.
Too many days on my own and I am craving laughter like a coke addict craves coke. A trapped audience has me excited as said addict with a fix — — sparking a spin of steamy jokes and one-liners, like the sort a parent makes that embarrass their children.
I have a joke for every occasion.
I find sex jokes work best on the NHS and old men. And years of teaching Belly dancing have given me a repertoire of fanny jokes that could rival Joan Rivers.
Anyone who listens to me is fair game for a routine, but I had met my match with the elderly gent heavily breathing over his zimmer frame in the waiting room.
His idea of banter was complaints, double entendre winking, followed by more complaints; being deaf didn’t help, nor did his daughter trying to keep him in line.
He, mid-rant about the GP’s inability to make appointments stopped when the nurse lent close to my ear.
“Would you mind awfully if a student practices on you?”
“Student?” Huffed the elderly gent “no students coming near my bits and pieces, they’re in enough trouble as it is.”
“She wasn’t talking to you…dad,” blushed the daughter.
The nurse smiled at him.
“Can’t even get a good night’s sleep thanks to my friggin prostrate, and you want some whippersnapper to have a rummage?”
“Dad,” hissed his daughter, her face now beetroot. “She was talking to the lady next to you.”
He peered at me over his mask and winked. “You have a prostrate too?”
I laughed through my mask as the nurse led me down the corridor, asking me again if it was alright for a student to “have a go?”
I couldn’t give a damn who did it as long as it didn’t hurt, no one walked in and I didn’t fart during the process.
“Mind?” I chirped, “My fanny’s had more viewings than a house auction, what’s one more?”
This was not strictly true but I’m a slut when it comes to getting a laugh, menopause can do that to a woman. Sometimes I feel like all I have left are jokes plus, perhaps, a more whimsical look at life than the younger, more intense me.
The nurse chuckled and with a crisp rustle of her plastic apron opened the door to a slip of a girl, who didn’t look old enough to order a pint let alone be a student doctor.
I couldn’t help myself.
“My fanny has seen more strangers than the London tube — — — ”
I caught the student’s eye.
“ — — — — Not that there have been many complaints.”
She definitely laughed.
I toyed with the idea of cracking my standard, “at my age, you got to take what you can get” joke but decided against it.
It didn’t really fit with the “I’ve been around the block so many times I’ve lost count” theme and in my experience,
it’s best to coordinate jokes rather than throw them out randomly like an amateur fisherman.
Especially in a clinical room with all the warmth of a morgue. That has the sort of cold atmosphere no amount of heating could destroy, enough implements to have me sitting with my legs crossed and more lubricant than a sex shop.
You can have your work cut out for you in such places and it is best to warm up with one theme, build a narrative of expectation.
I was going for a “good time girl rather than a desperate old yin”.
The nurse told me to strip, gesturing to the bed with a “make yourself comfortable” — — -like the two go together.
The nurse and the underage student disappeared behind the curtain.
I removed my bottom bits, and jumped onto the bed.
“The last time I did this for a stranger, I was pissed,” I said.
Was that a laugh?
“And that wasn’t yesterday.”
They pulled open the curtain.
I positioned myself into the sort of pose that required a lot of deep breathing.
“And this is where the cleaner comes in,” I joked.
The ever youthful student slipped on her gloves with a condom-style flick, smeared ‘gel’ over her “larger-than-life” implement then with shaky hands turned to the nurse with a “which bit” look.
There was a certain amount of prodding and fumbling; enough to make me glad she wasn’t male, and I hadn’t eaten gas-inducing cauliflower before I came.
As I left the examination room comfortable in the knowledge that according to the nurse it was the last one. That at my age smears were no longer necessary I bumped into the elderly gentleman and his daughter. He was huffing up the corridor and she, looking at his prescription.
He caught my eye.
“Curing the prostate is a piece of piss according to him.”
“Dad he didn’t say that.”
“May as well have.”
He stopped for a breath.
“We’re off to the chemist for a carry-out.”
“At my age, it’s a carryout.”
He leaned toward me. The days of a half bottle and a bit of how’s your father are gone for me. Now it pills, creams, and if I’d lucky a few hours kip.”
“You sleep like a horse dad.”
I laughed. “A carry-out for me is a tube of lubricant and a tub of denture cream.”
“He looked at me and smiled, “well make the most of it honey, one day it will be Senokot and a hot water bottle.”
Out ad-libbed, I headed to the chemist for my carry-out, (I was heading for the hubby that weekend).
I liked to think I had an answer and generously gave him the last laugh. The truth was I was dealing with an expert, a man who had probably spent his whole life embarrassing his family, with jokes, that should be heard only once.
As I entered the chemist there he was, seated by the foot fungal creams — — minus a daughter.
The chemist handed him his “carry-out” bag.
He cracked a joke, and headed out the door as I headed in, the chemist still laughing.
He caught my eye and with a wink muttered. “My work here is done.”