Thursday, July 21, 2011
What you do while you're waiting
In Venezuela the other day, a reporter recorded 117 people standing in line outside a government building. Waiting. Like so many Venezuelans they were starting (or spending) their day waiting in a line. This line was to use the only working elevator in that building. There were, of course, other lines after reaching the correct floor.
This NYT article about waiting in Venezuela mentioned what the people were doing as they waited. Waiting is interesting - it's an inescapable part of life, even with all our hustle bustle. I wait for the bus in the morning, wait in line at the cafeteria, wait for the water to boil so I can make pasta.
How do we spend all that time waiting? Stephen King says he keeps a book on him always, so whenever he's slogging through a line, at the grocery store or waiting to pick up his kids from school, he can pull out his book and read a few lines. I've tried to adopt that habit, and having a book in my purse certainly makes me a lot more patient when the bus is running late or when my lunch appointment gets lost. I don't have a smart phone (nor do I want one) so I can't check the internet, but that's often what my husband does when he waits.
Some people seem to do nothing while they wait. No books, no newspaper. Part of me thinks that seems like a horrible waste of time. But part of me thinks that maybe my imagination could stand to be let loose a bit when I wait, or that I could work on "being present," as they say.
How do you wait? Is that a good place for writing?