It occurred to me that half of my life is spent waiting. I was waiting for an elevator at the time of this astute revelation. Elevators are so slow. They seem to never be there when I am. Somehow I get the feeling that they might be hiding in the basement, snickering like children and just waiting until I get halfway up the stairs to speed up to my floor, ding the bell, and pop open when it is too late.
I also spend a great deal of time waiting in traffic. I commute to work from the suburbs and the “daily drive” is nearly always the “daily wait.” I’m really not an impatient person. No… really! Some delay in life is unavoidable. As I wait in traffic, or in a line, my life keeps slipping by without me. I sometime feel that I might leave home in the morning a normal (more or less) middle-aged woman and arrive at work years later, a wrinkled and gray old codger. When they ask me what happened, I will say, “The traffic was murder today. Worst commute I ever had.”
I’ve read helpful time management hints, which suggest taking thing with you to do while waiting. Then when unexpectedly delayed, there is something productive to do with the time. Great idea, but I usually forget to take anything. I did try balancing my checkbook while waiting in the doctor’s office once. The man waiting next to me kept looking out of the corner of his eye see what my balance was and grinning. Also, I really hated having the whole waiting room see me nearly cry when I couldn’t get things to balance.
For a while, I carried a paper back book in my purse which I could whip out and read. I picked up that helpful suggestion in a time management class also. It really doesn’t work too well. Just as I get to the juicy part, I am at the front of the line, breathing hard, and then can’t remember what I wanted because I’m still thinking about the book. Anyhow, the line at the post office is usually just long enough to be inconvenient, not long enough to actually get much reading done.
My newest aggravation with waiting is at the pharmacy. Not too many of us seem to be able to get a few years past prime without having a pill of some sort or another that is necessary to keep us ticking. There is always a line at the pickup window, and the person at the front of it always has a question about their medicine, a problem with their insurance, or wants to stand and chat with the pharmacist assistant about their ailment. Good grief, lady, can’t you see there are 8 people in line? Who cares about your gall bladder?
Lines and waits seem to be a part of the inevitable future on our over-crowded planet. No matter want we want to do, if it is worth doing, it must be worth waiting in line. I thought I had learned patience long ago. It was a part of my higher education. They taught us patience in college by having us stand in long waiting lines to register – psychology students called it behavior modification.
I wonder if the necessity of unavoidable waits is a large part of our affair with the cell phone. It is something to do while waiting. We can always use the time to text home and say, “I’ll be late.”
Well, I might as well get used to it. “Time lost is gone forever,” as they say in the book of familiar quotations. Maybe I’ll just be like the little old ladies who carry their knitting wherever they go. I could probably knit sweaters for all the homeless in the city during the commute to work in the mornings. Of course, I’ll have to learn to knit first. Wonder if the homeless could use some cross-stitched items instead?
It all seems so hopeless. If you have any suggestions, be sure to let me know. I’ll be waiting….