Reading is my number one occupation in waiting rooms. Something riveting and escapist is best. If not, research for something I’m working on is also good.
Rule #2: Always bring a pen and notebook.
Because I’ll need to take notes on that research. Or, if not doing research, maybe I’ll have the presence of mind to work on my most recent project, or a blog piece.
Rule #3: Sleeping is an option.
No one cares if you fall asleep in a waiting room. Most people wish they could do the same. Snoring, however, is bad form.
Rule #4: Don’t hog.
If the waiting room is busy, use one chair.
Rule #5: The receptionist will let you use a bathroom, if you ask.
This comes in handy, especially if the wait is long.
Rule #6: You don’t have to carry a conversation.
People in waiting rooms tend not to be happy people. No one expects you to be conversational. Don’t be rude, of course, but if you’d rather not talk, an acknowledgment, small smile and return to your reading of choice usually is signal enough that you’d rather not talk.
Corollary: If you want to talk, you might not find welcome listeners.
Rule #7: Eat your lunch elsewhere.
Seriously. That’s why hospitals have cafeterias. Bad enough you have to wait. Worse is smelling someone’s meal while you're hungry. Worst is being sick and having to smell food that increases your nausea.
Rule #8: If you like to people watch, be discreet.
This is where listening is better than looking. But really. Is it any of your business?
Rule #9: It’ll smell funny.
There’s nothing you can do about it.
Rule #10: The wait will come to an end.
I find this especially useful to remember if I didn’t follow rules 1 and 2, and can’t sleep. There are just so many times I’ll want to read the posted notices. Magazines get boring. And I really, really, REALLY dislike the noise from TVs. But sitting back and working out a problem about a novel, daydreaming about what else I could be doing, or just relaxing is infinitely better than obsessively checking my watch and wondering, how much longer do I have to wait?