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Reality shows and exploding blood pressure gauges
Sarcastically Southern
reality shows and exploding blood pressure gauges

My mother-in-law always tells me that I need a reality show. I often wonder what type of show it would be… something like “Snapped,” where my anxiety and attitude get the best of me? Or more like the “American Idol” bad auditions since I’m always singing despite my obvious lack of talent? 

While I do this wondering, I always end up back on Ashton Kutcher’s show “Punk’d.” I swear, it’s like I’m being punked on a daily basis and I’m just looking for the camera. 

Prime example: A few months ago, I was in the doctor’s office waiting for my appointment. I have what is known as “white coat syndrome,” which basically means my blood pressure is high whenever I go to the doctor because I’m nervous. I’ve always thought the worst-case scenario was going to happen at any doctor’s visit. 

Not only do I have white coat syndrome, but I also have what I have diagnosed as “noise induced anxiety.” Which is basically a fancy way for me to say that noisy people, places and things annoy the hell out of me…my blood pressure rises, my mood isn’t good and I am irritable. What kind of noises? Smacking of gum, the police scanner, someone having a conversation on speaker phone in an open office, the clicking of a phone keyboard, someone chomping their dentures together, chewing ice… really it would be easier to make a list of what DOESN’T set off my anxiety! 

So, as you can imagine, a doctor’s waiting room is hell on earth for me. 

On this particular day, I was there to have stitches removed — something I had never had done before — so naturally, my anxiety was really raring to go. I’m sitting in the waiting room, and there’s only four other people in the waiting room. This one lady walks in with some really rancid smelling perfume on, and instead of sitting in any of the dozen or so empty chairs scattered throughout the room, she (of course!) plops down two chairs from me. And that perfume wafted over and assaulted my nostrils. (Cue dramatic zooming in with camera and some dramatic music).

While I’m trying to not let the scent singe my nose hairs, this woman directly across from me is messing around on her phone. And apparently, trying to multi-task. Y’all, I swear she must have been retyping the FULL Constitution of the United States… all 27 amendments and everything! You might be wondering… “Ashlee, how did you know she was typing that much?” You might be wondering… “Ashlee, how did you know she was typing that much?” 


(Cue voiceover narration) I apparently have a problem with my facial expressions. Some folks call it RBF, others say that my “face is talking.” To state it plainly, I can’t hide my thoughts behind my facial expressions. My mouth might say one thing, but my face says another! (End narration)

Here I am sitting in this waiting room and I don’t even realize that I am staring daggers at this woman. But another woman in the room DOES. She looks at me, glares at the noisy typer and then giggles. 

I glanced around the room to see if anyone else saw me glaring and halfway expected to see a hidden camera and see a crew come out and for me to hear “I’m John Quiñones and this is ‘What Would You Do?’” 

Noisy typer finally finishes her dissertation and decides to browse Facebook. Again, you’re wondering how I know that aren’t you?


I don’t know how many of you have watched a woman attempt to keep her head from exploding, but that is exactly what you would’ve seen if I really had my own reality show. 

The worst part is that most cooking videos I watch on Facebook don’t even have to be heard! You can watch them with the sound off because they place text on the screen that tells you what ingredients are needed. It doesn’t tell you aloud that you need two sticks of butter… it TYPES IT ON THE SCREEN FOR YOU TO READ! So, this woman is listening to that annoying little ditty for NO REASON other than to annoy me! (Yes, I’m aware that wasn’t her reason… but that’s what it felt like, OK?) 

Finally, by the grace of God, I was called back to the exam room. But first, the nurse had to take my blood pressure. I could just visualize one of those little cartoon pressure gauges going from 0 to busting the needle off the dial in 2.5 seconds, but these blood pressure cuffs are digital now, so it wasn’t quite as dramatic. Here’s where we’d hit a commercial break, I’m sure… 

I’m sure that none of you will be surprised when I tell you that the nurse said “Well, honey, your blood pressure is pretty high.” 

It took all the willpower in my body to not say “No s***.” (Remember how I told you earlier that my face talks for me? I didn’t HAVE to say it… my face did!). 

I don’t understand why people can’t be more considerate of others in public places. This is a prime example of someone with no “home-training” being allowed out in public. Even if I didn’t have some weirdo tendency to get all anxious when someone is playing loud noises on their phone, it’s just common courtesy to use your headphones or mute the volume. 

I could go on and on about the lack of manners and courtesy in public places, but television shows always have a time limit and columns have a word limit! 

So let’s cue the theme song and stay tuned for episode 2, coming in the June/July issue of Discovering Bulloch.  And be sure to check out my Facebook page (@sarcasticallysouthernAC) for videos and teasers.