The pediatrician's office is small with no windows. To liven up the drabness of the waiting room, they've posted colorful pictures of cartoon owls on the walls, and a TV hanging in the corner plays a kid-friendly movie. The last time we were here, they played Benji; today, it's The Waterhorse.
It's Thursday morning, and another family is waiting with an appointment ahead of us. The mother is dressed in too-tight-in-the-ass gray sweatpants, and the two teenage girls with her have on hoodies. They all look up from their phones to briefly coo at my baby.
I barely get any cell service in this small box of a room, so scrolling Facebook as this family seems to be doing is out of the question for me while I wait. The boyfriend is at work; otherwise, I would have looked over his shoulder as he paged through reddit looking at funny memes. Instead, I alternate between staring at my sleeping baby and looking up at The Waterhorse as I listen to the family's random commentary.
"I'm not going to text my daddy," says one girl, who's wearing glasses. "My grandma say I need to text and call him but the phone work both ways." She pauses, and I wonder if the mom will say anything. She doesn't. "He get on my nerves anyway."
The mother seems intent on scaling down her friends' list, which is made up of more than 3,000 people, she tells them. "I don't even know half these folks." She asks if there's a way to block a bunch of friends at once, or if she has to go through her list and block them individually.
"What the hell was I thinking. Lord God," she says.
The teenager with the glasses addresses the other girl. "Did you know Darian is pregnant again?"
"I told you that."
"How old is she again? 15? 16?"
"She say she 17, but I think she 16."
Neither look up from their phones during this exchange.
When the nurse finally opens the door and calls the family back, the mom accidentally leaves her keys in the seat. The nurse retrieves them, joking that they must want to give her their car. They laugh.
For a good 30 minutes, I shared a space with a mother and presumably her two teenage daughters I otherwise would have never crossed paths with. We exchanged no words. They know nothing about me, besides the fact that I have a little girl, and I know nothing about them, outside of what tidbits I learned from their Facebook-distracted dialogue.
But there's a story there, if you pay attention to the details.