The summer after I graduated high school I got a job working at a Doctors Medical Practice around the corner from my house. I would be working as a “Medical Secretary” which basically included everything from Reception desk duties, answering the phones, making appointments, checking the patients into their rooms, all of the filing and clerical duties as well as running Echocardiograms on any of the patients with heart problems (basically all of them.) I was also expected to get the doctor his coffee, meals and clean the office once all the patients had left and all for minimum wage. Basically it was the equivalent of a sweat shop only much much worse.
The main reason I had gotten this job in the first place was because the practice predominantly dealt with patients of Macedonian heritage and I being Macedonian also speak the language fluently. About 80% of the patients were also over the age of 60. They all loved me instantly and treated me like a granddaughter always chatting and bringing me candy. It was highly unprofessional of me but who I was to deny them this small joy. The previous secretary hadn’t spoken any Macedonian so they basically thought she was a rude cow for having the audacity to not speak or understand this random eastern European language even though she lived in Australia and was in no way, shape or form a Macedonian person herself.
There was one old lady in particular who took a real liking to me. She was in at least once a week either for herself or her husband, who were both patients, so we built a nice rapport quite quickly. The thing with Macedonians is that we are over sharers and tend to become overly familiar with people very early on. The older we get the more we have a complete disregard for personal space and boundaries. It is also extremely difficult to extricate yourself from one of these overtly uncomfortable conversations.
One of the first things she asked me was if I was married. I was 19 at the time.
I said “Well, I’m 19” to which she responded “Oh that’s nice, but are you married?” I told her that I was not married. Then she asked if I was single to which I replied “yes”.
This was my big mistake.
Something inside her brain told her that I needed to be with her grandson and from that moment on it became her sole reason for living. She told me that she had a grandson who was the same age as me and any time she was at the practice she would bring him up in conversation and tell me everything about him as if she were trying to convince me to date him. Like I had turned him down or something. I HADN’T EVEN MET HIM! To be perfectly honest I probably would have dated him anyway because being 19 and all my clock was ticking. I didn’t want to get left on the shelf, or so I was told by all my old relatives and other complete strangers at the practice.
I played along affably because I didn’t want to upset her and it’s not like I would ever meet the guy anyway. The only problem with having to pay so much attention to this lady was that it was impossible to get any of my other million tasks done before the end of my shift but I didn’t really have much of a choice in the matter so I kept chatting and multi-tasking hoping she would eventually drop the subject or at the very least get tired and take a leave of absence from it.
Then one day, to my horror, she walked into the practice dragging a young guy around my age in with her. I was paralysed. It was all happening in slow motion as my brain was trying to process what I was seeing.
She had carted her poor grandson down to a medical practice to meet me and praise me in front of him. He clearly thought he was just being a good grandson and accompanying his grandmother when all the while she had planned on pimping me out to him.
I just stood there dumbly as she prattled on about all my virtues while this young guy (admittedly he was very cute) stood there looking confused. Neither of us was equipped to deal with this situation. Also she was having a difficult time realising that I was not there to socialise, and potentially get engaged to her grandson, and that I was in fact at work. She just kept pushing him closer to me and watching us with a proud grin on her face while we just stood there awkwardly staring at each other, floating further out into a sea of social anxiety.
My potential marriage was ruined however when the Doctor walked out to collect the next patient and saw me standing rigidly in the waiting room, completely disregarding my work. I quickly stumbled back behind the reception desk and refused to make eye contact with anyone else for the rest of the afternoon.
The little old lady was visibly displeased that the Doctor had interrupted our beautiful moment and she kept trying to insinuate that her grandson and I exchange numbers.
I skillfully avoided further embarrassment by pretending to be on the phone until they left.
Clearly old ladies love me and hot guys don’t.