In the waiting room at the dentist’s office. Nobody here but me. The walls are thin. I can hear the unwelcome sounds of the dentist at work. It’s like a muffled tree full of angry cicadas. I look around for something to read. All I find are news magazines, thinner than ever, and an Omaha Steaks catalog. I should have brought a book. I spot a pamphlet for the local rail trail. I pick it up and read.
On the cover it says, “Four miles of paved adventure through time and nature!” I open the pamphlet and learn that the rail trail is a “passage of varied terrain and experiences that you will not soon forget.” Somewhere along the way, the rail trail visitor enters “a deep canopy of trees.” Each rock cut is “a reminder that this was once a major thoroughfare for moving goods and materials on rails.” Eventually the rail trail visitor arrives at a bridge that spans a considerable river. Nobody knows what’s on the other side. The pamphlet doesn’t say.
Meanwhile, here in the waiting room things have gone painfully quiet. Save for the faint and faraway groaning on the other side of the wall, the stillness of the waiting room is undisturbed. Then a door opens, and a voice on the other side says “Next.”