The Waiting 9

For the ninth installment of this bizarre little serious on waiting, a creative essay. The narrator isn’t me, so in that sense this is fiction. But you won’t find much of a plot. This is more about the mood, the feeling, of waiting.

It was fun to write, but I still hesitated to make it this week’s ‘fiction’ because it’s so lean on story. However, it fits the theme, and I’m already a day late, so yeah.

My commitment to my craft is inspiring, isn’t it?

the waiting 9

This is my life now. I wait.

Which sounds kind of horrible when I just say it. I mean, who likes waiting? Certainly not most people.

Then again, I’m weird.

I never go anywhere I might have to wait without a book in hand. When I do have to wait, it means I get to read. I’ve done that my entire adult life.

So waiting has become something I enjoy. Something I like. Something I kind of hope for.

True story. A couple of years ago I stopped going to a doctor because he was always on schedule. I didn’t get any time in the waiting room. My ass was barely in the chair before a dead-faced nurse was butchering my last name and holding the door open for me.

Fuck that shit. Give me to time to read a damn chapter.

When I’m in line at the store, I play on my phone, or read via the Kindle app, or even skim the headlines of all the gossip magazines. Sometimes I watch people and eavesdrop on their conversations. I never get upset if my lane moves slow.

It’s the same when I’m in traffic. I always leave the house early, so I’m never worried about showing up late. If the freeway slows to a crawl, I turn up some music and enjoy the time to myself.

People are overrated, anyway. I think that’s the great thing about waiting. It usually means I’m alone.

But this waiting—the waiting I’m doing now—it’s different. I’m not enjoying it.

This is more like a holding pattern. I’m circling above some metaphorical airport, and my fuel tank is running a bit low. Sooner or later, I’m gonna need a clear runway.

Or I’ll crash.

I tried explaining this to Thomas the other day. But Thomas is weird. Not my kind of weird, either. Different weird. He didn’t get it at all.

He’d be the guy in the plane screaming, “Just fucking land! Trust me, if there’s anyone on the runway, they’ll move!”

I’m glad Thomas isn’t flying my plane.

He did listen, though, and that was helpful. Well, not pragmatically helpful, but it made me feel just a scooch better, and that’s something. Still, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do next.

This is long-term waiting. I’m ill-equipped.

And that’s what I think I like about most waiting. Most waiting is very temporary. We act like it isn’t. We say things like, “Oh my God, this is taking forever.

But nothing takes forever.

I’ve never waited more than 10 or 15 minutes in any line at any store. Once, just once, I waited 45 minutes at the doctor’s. Even the DMV is escapable.

But the thing I’m waiting for now, waiting through, really, this thing is taking, well…forever.

And right now I hear my grandfather’s voice. He’s chuckling the way he used to and, with a jovial lilt, saying “This too shall pass.”

(Will it, Papa? Will it really?)

Which brings us to my thesis. My theme. My message. The scoop.

I’m used to waiting. Most of the time, I embrace waiting as a welcome opportunity to slow things down. I rarely complain about waiting.

Waiting. I’m a fan.

But not this waiting.

If this waiting were a person, I’d want to take him/her (equality, yay!) out back and beat the shit out of him/her. This waiting sucks donkey balls.

But what can you do?

More to the point, what can I do? Answer: Not a damn thing.

Except, you know, wait.