On waiting

It seems rather paradoxical, if not downright wrong, to write about waiting. We all wait–for the bathroom, for food, in line, on the phone, in the doctor’s office, at the grocery store, at the movie theater. We get in line and wait. I guess that’s because we can’t all be first. I have waited for the last plane, the last metro, the last bus. Yesterday I spent time waiting to board several planes, then waited to take off, then waited for my cup of soda, then we all waited to land, and then, of course, we all waited to get off the plane that we had all waited to get on. I waited in line at Starbucks for my coffee. I waited for a cook to make me a hamburger (but a real hamburger–not a fast food hamburger). I had to wait to go to the bathroom. I waited to get my suitcase after I spent the day waiting for everything else. But I am no good at waiting. In fact, I hate waiting for someone else to do their job. Today, I waited for my lunch. I was in good company, but it took forty-five minutes for my lunch to come out (it was worth it–why am I complaining?) Waiting seems to be one of those things that is an inherent part of the human condition: you want something; you have to wait for it. I remember as a small child I saved box tops, filled out the little cardboard form, taped a quarter to it, and mailed it in so I could get some prize that was being advertised on the back of the cereal box. I waited, and I waited, and I waited, and then it finally came when I had almost forgotten that I was waiting for something. Then, once I had the thing–whatever it was–I didn’t think it was a cool as I imagined it would be, and it wasn’t. But I had waited an eternity to get it. I am currently waiting for the bread machine to finish baking some bread. Yet, I hate to wait and am impatient. I get annoyed easily when the person in front of me at the grocery story decides to write a check–I have to wait. Couldn’t they just swipe a credit card? I take a book to the doctor’s office because I know I’ll have to wait—actual planning and scheduling is not a part of any medical curriculum anywhere. Waiting in traffic has got to be a special punishment dreamed up by Dante, but it leaked out of Hell and into the world. What did I ever do to deserve such a punishment as waiting?