Thursday, October 18, 2012

Almost everyone feels impatient when there is a long waiting period before some action. We all feel frustrated when we are "put on hold" when doing business over the phone. The little messages that come on to tell us how much we are appreciated don't ease our pain. Sometimes the music that is supposed to soothe us does the opposite, but at least it lets us know that we are still connected to some phone somewhere.

One of the songs from World War II, "Waiting for the Train to Come In," indicates a different type of waiting. Anticipation of something pleasurable at the end of the wait may not make the time go by any faster, but instead of frustration we can spend the time daydreaming about the event we are awaiting.

Standing in a line to be admitted to a room, a ticket office, the school cafeteria or to go to recess is a lesson in discipline taught early in schools, but not really fully accepted by most of us in adulthood. One benefit of this waiting style however is that you have companionship. Conversation can either distract you from the tedium or add to your displeasure depending on the topics discussed. Nothing can turn a peeve into fury quicker than having several other people sharing your complaint. This can be seen easily at a sporting event when you have noticed a flaw in a referee or umpire's decision. If others share your view you can soon be adding to the yells, even if you are alone in your own living room.

Some people are able to use the time spent in a line with creative thoughts, singing to themselves or planning for the rest of the day. Many people spend the time talking on their cell phones. If you are not using one yourself you may be the interested or bored eavesdropper on another's call. If it's nothing more exciting than what to have for supper, that doesn't help pass the time very well. That is especially true if you are hungry while you are standing in line.

In a restaurant the time between placing your order and receiving the food can be a wonderful time of conversation, or a tense time spent watching your watch. It is no wonder that fast food places are so popular. As a nation we seem to be in a hurry all of the time, and waiting for food to be served can be an irritation. To me it is relaxing to realize that I am not the one scurrying to get the food prepared and on the plates. I could wait a long time with that thought in my head.

Traffic lights force us to wait when sometimes we are in a big hurry. When there is no traffic coming through the green lights on the other side it almost tempts us to disobey our red signal. It's not a good idea to yield to that temptation. The car you hadn't noticed may be a police car.

Caution lights test our patience at times. They have been installed for a purpose, but we are often not aware of what the purpose is and see no reason to slow down. Doctors tell us that slowing down is good for us. There is much to experience if we allow ourselves time to enjoy the moment. However if those moments are ones spent waiting for something else, we seldom find constructive use of the time.

Right now I am waiting for the birth of our first great-great grandchild. It doesn't seem possible that we are old enough to have a fifth generation in our family, and it certainly doesn't seem possible that Marilyn is old enough to be a mother. Sometimes things move too fast. I remember waiting for her birth just a couple of years ago it seems, or even her mother's birth not too much longer ago.

I'm ready for things to slow down. I can't wait for the day I won't be waiting for something.