I can wait. In fact, I consider myself the king of waiting. Waiting doesn’t faze me. In fact, I kind of like it. I can wait 'til the cows come home, 'til the hens come home to roost, and, no doubt, 'til pigs fly. I can lie in wait, stand and wait, wait around, wait about, wait behind, wait in the wings, wait in the weeds, wait and see, wait and not see—all with a smile on my face. I can hurry up and wait, and like it. I can’t ever hardly wait; I can heartily wait. I can wait my turn, and everyone else’s. I can wait for “it”—and, yes, I can even wait 'til that insufferable phrase dies its well-deserved death.
I never say “excuse me”; I just wait for an opening. I never look to see if the bus or train is coming. I never push the button more than once on elevators or at crosswalks. You’ll never find Xs on my calendar or hash marks on my prison cell wall. I love Christmas but am never in a hurry for it to get here. I care not for countdowns, even on New Year’s Eve. I never take a number, but still get served—eventually. I’ve never had hard feelings toward a cable guy. I have only pleasant memories of doctor’s waiting rooms. I never have a purchase sent overnight delivery, and not because I’m broke.
I have a natural talent for waiting. I learned this when I was six years old. One day after some minor misdemeanor not worth mentioning, my mother scolded me and said, “Just wait 'til your father gets home!” I took her literally. I thought, mistakenly as it turned out, that the waiting part was my punishment—my mother’s version of “go sit in a corner.” So I stood silently by the front door for three hours, waiting. And I kind of enjoyed it! And not because of my rebellious streak either!
Waiting gets a bad rap. Isolate waiting itself from what comes at the end of waiting, and what bad can you say about it? That it’s boring? Well, that’s on you! And if you do connect waiting to an object, well, I’ve come up with two rules as I’ve matured from my six-year-old self:
- Most things people wait for turn out in the end not to have been worth waiting for—so what’s the rush?
- If something does turn out to have been worth waiting for, well–it was worth waiting for!
I’ve been actively advocating for waiting to become an Olympic event. For selfish reasons, of course—who wouldn’t like to be an Olympic gold medalist? But I also want to see waiting’s reputation enhanced. I’m not sure how a waiting competition could be structured, but I have given it some thought.
Here are my notes:
Competitors are confined to room in the Olympic Village for the duration of Olympics. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, TVs, radios, reading materials, etc. are strictly forbidden. Conversation is limited, perhaps 1-2 hours/day or a certain number of words/day. Style points are deducted for finger-drumming, toe-tapping, sighing, grumbling, eye-rolling, lip-pursing, cheek-puffing, pacing, yawning, frowning, scowling, etc. Medalists are declared after the closing ceremonies, and they must wait next Olympics to receive medals.
I'm just spit-balling here, but I’m pretty confident my efforts to get waiting made into an Olympic sport will yield fruit. After all, if housekeeping on ice and toy pistol shooting can become Olympic sports, why not waiting? I’ve even begun to train in preparation. My training regimen includes things like waiting in lines at Six Flags without actually going on any rides, identifying highway construction zones using Google and driving into them at rush hour, and calling customer help lines and when I finally get a real person saying, “Sorry, I called the wrong number.” Through these efforts I’ve increased my waiting “muscle” considerably.
So I look forward expectantly to the day I ascend the Olympic podium and receive the first ever waiting gold medal. I know it may take years, even decades, of both effort and non-effort on my part to see my dream come true. But if you know anything about me by now, it should be this: I can wait!