As a group, we Americans are terrible waiters. I don't mean the job as in 'waiting tables,' I mean the physical act of doing nothing in anticipation of something. The online dictionary, found here, tells me that waiting has many uses in our language.
Noun - a period of waiting, pause, interval or delay
Adjective - serving or being in attendance
Idiom - in waiting - in attendance, as upon a royal personage (really? this sounds the same as the adjective to me)
Verb (used without object) - to remain inactive or in a state of repose, as until something expected happens
(THIS is the one that suits my current state, which I will get around to explaining here after a bit)
Verb (used with object) - to continue as one is in expectation of (waiting one's turn)
So, if it is a word with such vast application, why do we do it so badly? Is there something inherently painful in being bored? Certainly, we've come up with enough distractions for waiting to be tolerated for at least the next three millenia, but sadly, it's not enough.
Efficiency is a god and the highest and best use of our precious commodity - time - is a goal on many lists. Maybe that is one of the things I don't get about the world. I like waiting. I like having to wait. I like anticipating an expected happening.
It lets my mind go anywhere I want to go. I get to notice the people in line who look like they will next end up on here. Or in my next book. Frankly, we miss lots of what makes up life when we try to distract ourselves from the nothingness of waiting. That's too bad.
"Ah!" you say, "I have to wait in line at the post office with small children. What's to enjoy about that?"
I didn't say you had to enjoy every moment of waiting. I think the people in Haiti right now are thrilled to wait, because they have hope and expectation of something happening. It's all in how you look at it.
So, today I wait. For a good thing. A new piece of furniture that I am lucky to be able to afford, and find, and have a place for. It's not about the furniture, or the inconvenience to me of having to leave work to wait and then go back. It's about being lucky enough to have the luxury of waiting. It is a luxury.
We have the whole world to meet our daily needs, but the delivery of those services makes us wait sometimes. At least I don't have to wash my clothes with a rock in the river, or kill my food in order to be able to have dinner tonight. I'll wait.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
As I write this, I am supposed to be writing a paper for my English class. It's due tomorrow, but - whatever. I don't wanna.
I'm a grown-up and you can't make me. There.
Somehow, the paper has not magically appeared, perfectly written and formatted, during my hissy fit. How come the world doesn't work like that?
Of course, I could chose to not do the paper at all. I would then have the ramifications of a bad grade (ee-gads!) But - totally my choice. By signing up for this class, I implied that I would be responsible for the work assigned. Responsibility is a heavy thing sometimes, but in this case, it is my own sense of responsibility that holds me to a certain standard. No one will be injured if I do not complete the paper. But I'll do it anyway, even when I really, really, really don't wanna . . . because I said I would, and for that promise, the task must be completed.
They know who I am, those responsibility police, and they know where to find me.
In these days of Internet anonymity, it is possible for us to hide behind screen names and "Anonymous" comments, but I think that erodes our sense of feeling tied to what we say or do. I chose to use my real name in my Internet presence because I think it implies a certain sense of ownership. It makes me think before I hit "send" and at times, I say less than I might in a real life situation because I know that many will read it. I wonder if that is me censoring me for a good reason, or is it an external censorship - the possibility of popular opinion that I don't want to come crashing down on me?
I'm the "get-along" girl. I can get along with almost anyone, and I find it easy to see the common ground between people instead of their differences. There is a role for that, both in real life and in cyberspace. Many people use blogs as the way of putting their opinions out into the ether, hoping perhaps that it makes those opinions valid, as if they are published by the sheer force of will. Me, I just say what I think, not really pushing any kind of agenda. I'm absolutely amazed that people find even that small offering interesting at times.
I totally understand those who chose not to use their real names, and I'm not impugning that decision. I'm just saying that, for me, it made me feel less responsible when I used a pseudonym, so I stopped doing it. A few days ago, I read a very interesting post from one of my favorite blogs on how this anonymity can be not just irresponsible, but hostile and dangerous. Here is the link, and this wonderful woman puts the problem into such an interesting context.
Funny thing, but I just realized that the topic of my paper is the transgression of irresponsibility. Perhaps I've been working on it after all.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I hope the title hasn't scared you. I usually do wear clothes. But I started a new job on Monday, the day which happened two days ago, and it's the kind of job where you sit at a desk and you wear regular business clothes.
This is only remarkable because, at age 44, I have the first job I've ever had wherein I don't wear some type of uniform. I worked at Baskin-Robbins and wore the uniform and silly hat, I worked ambulance and wore a jumpsuit (my personal favorite - step in, zip up: dressed), I was a nurse for 16 years and wore scrubs everyday with the requisite stethoscope and various tools and papers stuffed in my pockets.
Now I go to work in "clothes" versus "scrubs." So far, it is very fun, but I haven't had that day yet where I stand in the closet thinking I have nothing to wear.
Yesterday, when I was in the hospital cafeteria with my dear friend Holly (who bought me lunch! - thank you), someone - I don't remember who - remarked loudly and with great enthusiasm, "You are wearing clothes!" Now I know, and everyone who works in a hospital knows, that her comment meant that I was wearing clothes and not scrubs, but the poor elderly lady sitting in the corner got a most painful look on her face that I could only mentally transcribe as "did she used to walk around nude?"
I was entertained by this for the rest of the day.
There have actually been a few variations on this theme, such as "oh, I didn't recognize you in your clothes!" and "isn't it nice to wear real clothes?"
Again, these things, said around anyone who works in the hospital, would not make them pause their thinking or activity. But sometimes, there are visitors or patients nearby and I just smile as I look around and see them regarding me with confused expressions. The explanation is too long. It is an inside joke.
I live in a small town. My writer brain goes immediately to the coffee shop on Spring Street where the old folks sit and chat and I can hear them saying "Did you know - I heard them saying she didn't used to wear any clothes!"