The waiting room is nearly full and I think to myself, “This is going to be a bit of a wait.” I begin to scan the room looking for a good magazine or newspaper left behind. As my eyes roam, scanning the coat closet, the end tables, and the empty seats I spot something a lot more interesting. Tibetan monks! I had to rub my eyes, refocus and look again to be certain I was seeing what my brain had just told me was there. Sitting across from me, swaddled in orange off-the-shoulder robes and sandals were two Tibetan monks. What?!!? I don’t exactly live in an international metropolis. I live in an average American suburb in upstate New York. Upstate. Not New York City. I’d have to drive 6 hours to get to New York City. There just are not Tibetan monks wandering around my neck of the woods very often.
The monks and I regarded each other warily. There was two of them and one of me. They didn’t appear to be armed, but with those loose robes it was impossible to tell what they might be concealing. I gave them a nod and a slight flex of my biceps as I folded my arms across my chest. If there was going to be any trouble I wanted them to know exactly what they were up against. As the phlebotomist called their names in turn, the monks each went back and returned a few minutes later with a small bandage on the inside of one arm. I was still in my seat, arms folded, maintaining my gaze. By now, I was sure that these two knew just who the alpha-dog in this waiting room was. They spoke to each other in hushed tones as they exited the waiting room. I don’t know Chinese, but I think I heard the words “Phil Factor” just before the door shut behind them. I breathed a sigh of relief as it appeared that the confrontation was over and I thought to myself, “I hope those two morons realize that after Labor Day, the sandals and off-the-shoulder look is completely out of season.”