Accepted Paper:

Stories in the waiting room  


Nicoleta Colopelnic (Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca)

Paper short abstract:

The waiting room can be regarded as a space that is sometimes saturated with stories making the waiting time bearable. My aim is to explore the narrative dimension of the uneventful in the specific setting of an iridologist´s waiting room.

Paper long abstract:

My aim in this paper is to explore the narrative dimension of the uneventful, by analyzing stories told in the waiting room of an iridologist in a town of Romania. Waiting is seen as an integral part of going to the doctor, as waiting time can extend anywhere from 10-20 minutes, to 3-4 hours. How do people manage this waiting time is one of the questions I seek to answer. Despite its irregular character, waiting time is ordered by the construction of waiting lists - mental, or written, that makes it more predictable.

Waiting time is also shared time, as one waits after others and along with others. One shares not only the waiting time, but also the space - the waiting room. This sharing of time and space facilitates the sharing of stories, giving the uneventful a narrative dimension. I want to explore what is shared in the waiting room, sometimes through stories, and sometimes through silences, or through bodily signs - like finger tapping, or pacing up and down.

I will proceed by describing this waiting space, and how people give it, or not, a narrative dimension by sharing stories while waiting to be received in the consulting room. I want to argue that "wasted time" is transformed through the sharing stories into "passed time". The sharing of stories makes time bearable and reduces boredom or anxiety.

Panel W095
Waiting for Godot & Co: modes and moods of the uneventful