After quite a while talking with my sister-in-law at the emergency room she suggested that perhaps one of us should go visit my mother and see that she was well and, more, that my father was well. My sister-in-law is better at talking my father into calmness, so she went back first. Either way this would force him to sit down somewhere soon due to the one-visitor-at-a-time rule that must be followed because it is, after all, a rule. When my father did emerge he said my mother was feeling well, but dizzy and weak, and that they were giving her medicine. That seemed to me like they had things pretty well in hand, although it wasn't so much to talk about while my sister-in-law was vanished somewhere within the emergency room complex.
My father asked that I make some coffee. The waiting area has a (free) coffee machine, but ever since an incident at the BMW dealership my father lets other people take responsibility for actually pressing the buttons that dispense liquids. While my father was disappointed that they didn't have real cream rather than that curious powdered thing that comes in unopenable plastic packets he figured I could do fine with it. I did have one misstep, in that I assumed the coffee would be poured out of the back of the cup area rather than the front, but --- at the risk of sounding like my ego was bruised --- I don't think a two-second squirt of coffee that I miss was as funny as he thought it was. On the other hand, laughing isn't climbing the walls.
When my sister-in-law came back I had just made tea for myself and was on the brink of my first sip. My father gingerly suggested that it might be comforting to my mother if I visited. Somewhere along the lines my parents picked up the idea that I dislike hospitals; I don't know where or why but it matters so rarely that it's just this occasional little distraction. More distracted was the security guard, who was trying to figure out whether I had been a visitor at the emergency room before (if I have been, it was years ago), and ... ah, yes, that would be confusion between my father's name and mine. They don't just give out generic Visitor passes these days. Instead they either scan your driver's license photo or take your picture with a web camera so as to produce a quick little visitor badge with a horrible photocopied-picture shrunk/Moire-patterned quality image of what might be your face but might as easily be one of those lithographs of lunar cities The New York Sun ran in that famous hoax back in 1835. And yet somehow it allowed me in.
Trivia: Kha'ir Beg, Mecca's chief of police, issued the earliest known ban on coffee in the first year of his appointment by Sultan of Cairo Kansuh al-Ghawri, in 1511. Source: The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug, Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K Bealer.
Currently Reading: Ford: The Men And The Machine, Robert Lacey.
PS: Happy annual brief remembrance of the existence of Walt Kelly's Pogo!