Just You Wait
I am not the bravest soul. (See “Fraidy Cat“). I am afraid of downhill skiing, motorcycles, clowns, and – I confess – sushi.
But I summoned up my courage on Monday, and went to the Day-After-Christmas Sales.
The scariest part of D-A-C shopping is the parking lot. I don’t mind parking far away, but just entering the lot is terrifying. Cars pulling in, pulling out, parking so close and crooked that side-view mirrors flinch. And of course the shoppers themselves are trotting between the parked cars with packages and kids swinging in the freezing breeze.
But I had gifts to return. (Not the Alpha Muff Power Combo–I’m keeping that.) But a couple of old-ladyish sweaters. So I pulled into the place with all the scary clown cars trying to kill me, and parked, and left my precious vehicle to fend for itself.
The stores had put out every bit of merchandise from the stockroom, just to make sure you could sort of see everything they had ever ordered in retail history. Only In the tiniest of sizes of course. Except for the boots – boots they had in size eleventeen. Of course, you couldn’t really pull a hanger from the rack to see anything.
And you couldn’t really form a line at the register. You just had to form a ‘cluster’.
Most people dread waiting.
But not me. I love waiting in line. (or clusters.)
In line at the supermarket, I can read trashy tabloids. I can get consumer opinions on what the other guy is buying (“Is that the best brand of blackberry jam? The seediest?”). I can make faces at little kids fidgeting in carts.
In line at the After-Christmas Exchange Free-For-All, I learned about pregnant teenage daughters, and that women who wear size fourteen have husbands who think they are a size ten (which is really sweet), and that my husband isn’t the only guy who buys dopey gifts (which is really reassuring).
I love waiting in general.
I don’t even mind traffic jams. I sing to the radio, or make up stories which I may even write down someday. Or I just chill. I appreciate an enforced slow-down. (Except of course when I need a bathroom. Like when I was caught in the unmoving miles at the end of a weekend on the Cape. (To my friend, Chris, who was with me in the car: I apologize. And I also apologize to all the other vehicles who had the bad fortune to be stuck on the same road as me. I’m sorry for the way I treated you. It may have been thirty-seven years ago, but I am sure you remember me.)
The most stressed-out waiting seems to happen at airports. People just freak when the plane is late. What’s up with that? Planes are always late. And it’s a wonderful thing.
I love long delays. I’ve had to spend the night at the airport hotel where the World Wrestlers (who say they are ‘entertainers’) were staying. I once read two long novels in one uncomfortable chair. I’ve purchased overpriced jewelry in the airport store. Once I missed the plane because the bus-like thing that takes you to the midfield terminal broke down on the runway. With me in it. But I ended up having dinner with a handsome man (don’t worry – that was back when I was single.)
So stop rushing. Take a breath. Read something trivial. Or something deep. Eat chocolate. Don’t worry about being late. It’s not your fault. You are relieved of all responsibility. You have permission to do nothing. It’s not your fault. The flight was delayed.
Waiting frees your mind.
I’ve already decided my perfect retirement hobby. The sport when you appear to be doing something, but where you are really doing nothing. But waiting.