On waiting

Waiting is a very odd experience that is filled with both anticipation and frustration. Waiting in line is the ultimate human frustration because one never knows if one’s petition will be fulfilled or if one will be sent to the end of the line, again. Waiting in line at the grocery store to check out and pay doesn’t seem to bother most people, but if I only have a handful of items, why is the person ahead of me trying to go through the express line with an entire cartload of items? Getting in and getting out of the grocery store in a timely fashion is almost impossible because no one wants to wait. Waiting in line at the airport to do almost anything–check in, get re-booked, get on the plane, get off the plane–is a complete fiasco given the complexity of the tasks at hand, especially trying to get re-booked after a cancellation or delay or missed flight. Yet, waiting with anticipation for a package to arrive is an interesting state of mind, giddy almost. Waiting for the weekend can be both exciting and frustrating, especially if you are standing in line to get re-booked because your flight was canceled. Some people have an enormous capacity for waiting, or they have given up hope and are resigned to their fate in life–to wait eternally. Others are waiting for the end of times, which they see right around the corner, but of course, they are still waiting. Personally, I hate waiting at stop lights especially when I am the only car at the intersection and it’s 2 a.m. Waiting for the commercials to end and the television program to begin again is like waiting for Godot, and when the program comes back on I have frequently forgotten what it was that I was watching in the first place. Waiting for the bread to bake or the cookies to come out of the oven is definitely worth it–they taste that much better. Waiting for the bus on a cold winter’s day is no fun no matter how you slice it. Waiting for your date to show up and you are all alone and the whole world knows it is an empty feeling which needs no explanation. Do you wait for the mail with anticipation or dread. Can you wait to collect your first social security check. I’ll probably get my first one while I’m waiting at an empty stoplight in the middle of the night somewhere. Apparently, waiting in line at large amusement parks is not fun, and if you have no morals or scruples, you can cut the line. Waiting in a traffic jam, especially when you are late already, is liable to cause a complete breakdown. If you are waiting for someone to call you back about a job, stop waiting because they aren’t calling. I have a personal loathing for waiting rooms, especially if it is a doctor’s waiting room. I think we should be able to bill doctors if we have to wait more than fifteen minutes after our scheduled appointment time. Waiting to get your car back from the shop is nightmarish. Some people wait all alone in the dark, as Billy Joel once sang. I suppose heaven can wait. I am not a patient man, do not bear fool’s lightly, and I hate to wait especially when I’m not the problem. Yet, there are those people who wait patiently, smile, bear up, stay in good humor, and kindly wait until it is there turn. This is either an enormous virtue or a miracle, but I can’t decide which.