The pizza guy is coming or so the girl told me on the phone. She’s the girl who sounds like she just graduated from grade school and my phone call is an inconvenience in her pending but unplanned life. We rumble through our conversation often repeating things three times, but the plan is finally set. “One hour,” she tells me as I suspect she tells everyone who interrupts her cell phone fumblings.
But now what? The “what” is that I need to wait one hour.
What to I do during this forced “time-out” awaiting a delivery that their website promised “quick service?” This is my unknown-time between hanging up the phone (Who does that these days, anyway?!) and the delivery. Dust? Vacuum? Tolstoy? Run to the store and buy a pizza and be back in time for “delivery boy?” I just wait just like I’ve always done for those delivering services to my humble abode.
Cable guy is the best person to wait for. Do I shake his hand and welcome him or just direct him to my dysfunctional TV box? “Coffee, water?” After all, it’s not a dinner party but I’m thinking I also invited this guy to my house.
Plumber guy is the worst person to wait for. I would pay top dollar if he (rarely a “she”) would just quickly arrive and do the magic to my toilet so I can stop pacing with my legs crossed.
I’m told that U.S. folks love to wait in line more than other countries but you’d never know it at a traffic stop sign. We’ll wait to save some money on a television at 5:00 a.m. on a Black Friday but will dart out in traffic at the one-second sighting of the yellow light. We’ll patiently stand in line for hours for tickets for a show but will wait (but not “wait”) for the phone to ring about your cancer diagnosis. “Two weeks,” the doctors tells you. Doctors love to say “two weeks” before they know the results.
Waiting is the emptying of the mind when it is usually full of thoughts and activities. We’re left with nothing except that damn ticking clock and this expected person who has not arrived yet. The clock marks nothing except that we are still waiting. (I’m writing this only to kill time until the clock stops ticking; alas, it has not.)
“My daughter said she’d call me tonight, I guess she was busy,” says the mom who waited. “My son was all set to visit me but something came up at work, he told me,” says the dad who was waiting for that visit for two months.
We have a automatic disposition about waiting, I guess. We either “blank-out” or are energized by this timeless period which actually has a set “time.” We don’t mind waiting for those things that are important, fun and exciting for us at a particular time and we dread the hour that felt like two, waiting for those things that we need. Like a cancer diagnosis and a pizza on a Friday night.