Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Fine Art of Waiting

"I've been studying the fine art of waitng, like a good thief planning his crimes;
I’ve been studying the art of patience, in this time between the times.”
-Bill Connet

Waiting ...

  • For the traffic to clear.
  • For our turn at the doctor’s clinic, the checkout lane, the FX terminal, the automatic teller machine.
  • To board the plane at pre-departure at some busy airport.
  • For a daughter, son, or spouse to come home.
  • For a friend or a date to show up.
  • For someone to call or text.
How do you wait? Coolly (humming a tune)? Expectantly (belting out an aria) ? Nervously? (twiddle-twiddle-twiddle thumb) Murderously? (twirling a rope with which to strangle the awaited the moment the son of Tarzan comes!) ?

How much of your life have you spent waiting? How much of this waiting is the kind that plays on your nerves or flirts with your fears?

I know someone badly traumatized by waiting. “I have spent half of the first half of my life waiting," she fumes, "with murder in my mind."

“When he’s late for dinner and I know he must either be having an
affair or lying dead in the streets, I always hope he is dead.”
- J. Viorst

Over the years, though, we pick up coping aids. We stop fussing or cussing, or drinking ourselves numb. Yeah, soon, but never soon enough, we get over being dumb. We learn, we learn to help ourselves.

Writers and bloggers, for example, would often stuff notepad and pen into their pocket for just in case they fall into the waiting trap. They look around wherever it is they're waiting – the airport, the supermarket, the semi-dark of their bedroom, the total dark of their fear -- for ideas to write about. How can there not be -- if they looked hard enough -- a topic to ponder and make grist for the blogging mill? And why not, while waiting, write about waiting and how to turn it into an art?!

Serious scrabblers carry around precious word lists to memorize and anagram every which way for all imaginable word combinations. I suppose that’s how a scrabble nut must have found the time to scramble “dormitory” into “dirtyroom,” “dictionary” into “indicatory,” “motherinlaw” into “womanhitler!”

Dedicated chess players play their previous games over and over in their minds – trying this and that brilliant move they could have played to win the game instead of lose devastatingly as they did.

Many of us remember to bring a half-read paperback for good measure. A reading man is never a man alone, after all. Come to think of it, that is just about the only way I finish a book these days – at waiting places.

And not to forget the most wonderful time cruncher ever invented by man. The mobile phone! During a stretch of waiting, we squeeze the blessed thingie of all its worth in calling, texting, gaming, music playing. picture taking.

I took a course in speed waiting and I now wait an hour in only ten minutes.

But these are all just props -- not much different from infantile thumb sucking and carrying a security blanket around. How infinitely easier life will be if we changed paradigms and view life as a series of waiting games.

Waiting, it's all waiting, can you see? Waiting to be done with school, find a job, get a promotion. Waiting for the one for whom we are intended. Waiting for the children to grow up, graduate, get settled. Waiting to drop out from the rat race, or to drop out -- period.

We are told to enjoy life in all its stages -- and that means ALL.

It is relishing the outcomes as well as the processes.

The cake as well as the bake.

The baby's birth as well as the nine months preceding it.

The unfolding of the story as well as its end.

The coming of the awaited AND the waiting itself!


vernaloo said...

pag uwi sa probinsha ang pag-uusapan. I always bring a good book with me coz I'm always early at the airport (mahirap ng maiwanan ng eroplano gaya ng dati hehe)

For something to happen in my life...I dunno. Am I waiting? Yeah, but while waiting what do I do? Well I'm doing something so that that "something" will i making sense? hehe

ScroochChronicles said...

There is this proverb, which I'm sure you're familiar with, that says "Good things come to those who wait."

Me I just sleep. Para di ako mabagot. When sleeping is not an option, I just daydream. Malay mo may maisip akong award-winning thought dahil sa paghihintay ko. Or worse, I people watch tapos inookray ko silang lahat. Malamang kasi naiinis na ako sa kahihintay.

ladycess said...

i am reminded by a preaching made by a popular pastor, that waiting is a blessing, bec it can shape our character.

jerry said...

I also get impatient waiting. So I bring Sudoku and crossword puzzles. I agree with you life is waiting for things to come but we should enjoy what you call the process aside from the outcome. Enjoyed. This article is worth waiting for. :)

julie said...

One of the most important life lesson/skill that I teach with my students. This includes just still still while waiting for me finish writing noted in their notebooks. No book reading, no toy playing. If they make a fuss, I tell them I can not write and if I can't, they would not be able to go home in a while.

Case closed.

ysrael said...

In any contest between power and patience bet on patience :-)

MrsPartyGirl said...

i don't mind waiting, either. had i not waited, the song "bakit ngayon ka lang" would have been my theme song for my perfect hubby who would have not become my hubby at all. :)

also, a good book is my fave waiting companion. and people-watching helps pass time, too.

though i also believe that we can't just sit and wait for things to happen. as the old adage goes: carpe diem! :) what's the use of waiting if just allow life to pass us by, di ba?

MONACO said...

unfortunately, patience is a virtue I lack. I hate waiting, don't like golf, don't enjoy chess at all or any activity that involves patience! good thing modern technology gave us cellphones to keep us busy during those unavoidable times that we have to wait.

Leah said...

My daughter and I were just at a walk-in clinic. If were not for the TV and some little conversations, it would have been a bad wait. It took us an hour to finally be called in and the doctor took less than 5 minutes to diagnose the ill.

On long drives - sleep (when I'm a passenger). When I'm driving , music or audio books. It passes time nicely.

“Kiss your life. Accept it, just as it is. Today. Now. So that those moments of happiness you're waiting for don't pass you by.” - quoted

rhodora said...

I don't like to wait anymore on - kids to graduate, retirement, etc.

I just live my life a day at a time. And before I even start waiting - things are done! :)

Anonymous said...

to while away time, i either read a book (i always have a book in my bag) or write anything that comes to mind (also have mini-notepads in my bag. i have a huge bag! it's like my portable aparador.).

Gypsy said...

I don't mind waiting if I have a crossword or a sudoko puzzle, a good book to read or someone waiting with me. I like to kill two birds with one stone (the other bird might presumably be the person who made me wait..hehe.)

snglguy said...

I hate waiting, seems like I've been doing it my whole life. *sigh* :-(

Major Tom said...

Waiting in traffic is the most bile of all, and I spew quite a number of unholy words for this---once in a while.

But generally, I play games on my CP. It's good that nowadays, the games are just better and waiting is not anymore as rigidigous.

monaco said...

I have something for you in my blog.

myepinoy said...

This partly explains some questions I had in mind about people who are always on stand by or istambay or tambay.

Pag tinanong mo sila bakit nakatambay ka? iisa ang sagot, we are waiting - for luck, for work, for visa, for money to come by, for the sun to rise or set and etc...

As you have said "Waiting, it's all waiting, can you see?"

Just stand by to enjoy or not to enjoy life in all stages.

So, what are we all waiting for?

Please do not mind me. I am always kidding, the result of waiting for hours to pass by.

Another great post. Thanks.

Lazarus said...

There are times when I waited long enough only to regret it afterwards.

But I do know how to wait, and have fun in betweens.

rowena said...

oh i hate waiting but can't do anything about it. so i just chat with whomever is beside me, either in the bank, mrt, doctor's clinic, atm queue, airport, bus, take-out counters and even cab i have compiled so many life stories of people i just met in the course of my's quite a list, he he.

Heart of Rachel said...

Hi Annamanila. Another great read. Thanks for sharing.

I'm afraid, patience is not among my strong points. I'm quite impatient although I still try my best to wait for things that are worthwhile.

I used to carry a booklet of Sudoku puzzles. It helped ease waiting for my son in school, my turn at the bank, waiting for my son's service, etc. I got tired of them now and usually spend waiting time texting or talking to friends on my cellphone.

Now, I don't have to worry about waiting for my son and being idle in school because I spend my time at the gym with other fellow moms.

Chateau said...

Waiting could well be my other job, next to mothering!

I love the last paragraph.... and of course the quote by J. Viorst. hehe

Gina said...

I think I'm constantly waiting.
My longest wait and one that I'm not yet ready to give up on- you know what it is,probably.

The worst wait-- lining up at the Nat'l Census/Stats Office Manila to get some important documents.Whole day standing in different lines with a heavy period. =(

Em Dy said...

I set a limit to my waiting. I once went to a party at 5 pm (as was printed on the invitation). Left at 7 PM even if the party has not started and only a few has arrived. I already gave them 2 hours of my life.

My cellphone keeps me company while waiting. I love games.

carlotta said...

this year has been a test in patience for me especially in waiting for my friends to come to the appointed time. my very good waiting companions are my moleskine and fountain pen. sinusulat ko ang mga nangyayari sa paligid ko at minsan nag-eeavesdrop pa sa katabing table hehe. anywho, naubos ang ink sa fountain pen ko agad kahihintay sa kanila hehe.


Abaniko said...

For some reason, this post reminds me of Dr. Seuss' "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" Our lives are filled with waiting games.

exskindiver said...

i tell myself to stop worrying about tomorrow.
it will come soon enough.
i always tell myself:
live in the now.
(very zen like)

it does not work all the time.

Tani said...

I hate waiting. But most of the time, I have to wait. I cope. But usually I fume. :) hehehe...

Who's the mutual friend? My email ad is

I'm new to your blog. I'll read your other previous posts whenever I can. :)

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