"...a most useless place. The Waiting Place...for people just waiting...Everyone is just waiting."
I realized that I do a lot of waiting. Waiting for a coffee. Waiting in lines. Waiting in traffic. Waiting at doctors. Waiting for kids to get ready. Waiting for Monster to get out of school. When I'm not in a hurry, I really don't mind waiting. In fact, I rather enjoy it. It's my down time. However, the other 99.5% of the time, the waiting drives me nuts. I'm the person who, if I'm actually doing something and have a goal to accomplish, must be moving at all times. I don't want to wait those 5 minutes at Starbucks for my coffee. I want the coffee, but don't want the wait. In a society that is based on instant gratification, there is a lot of waiting around. And rarely, do you ever see anyone waiting who is not impatient. I firmly believe it's our society that has done this. Everything is so fast paced. We are constantly being shot with all forms of stimulus. On the way to my parents house, there's an electronic billboard with changing messages. Now, this might be a normal thing in big cities, but this is the one and only billboard like this in good old Cleveland. How is that safe? America is where fast food started. People couldn't just wait for their food to be cooked, they needed it instantly. When I was in Europe, eating was probably the most difficult thing. There, eating is not just something you do because you're hungry, it's an experience. It never took less than an hour and a half for a meal there. For the first week, we were very antsy. By week, two, we enjoyed it.
I decided to be more "European" this week. I decided that instead of being in such a hurry all the time, I would embrace the wait. It actually went pretty well. The best example is my wait at Chipotle. It was dinner time. They were understaffed. They also had an online order to fulfill. I waited for about 15 minutes before they could get to my order. During that 15 minutes, I looked around at all the people. I watched the line form and saw all the impatience on people's faces. I watched the stress on the staff. I watched the people eating and interacting. All the different dynamics were quite interesting. When it was finally my turn, I didn't feel a ton of pressure to rush through and get out with my food because I had hungry kids waiting. I actually felt grateful that there were people doing the job they were doing to make it easier on me to "make" dinner for my family. At the grocery store this week, I decided not to go to the shortest lines, but the lines with the cashier who was smiling. Makes all the difference. The wait is more pleasant because there is a happy person waiting at the end. At the doctor, I took my ipod and got lost in music. I know this new take on waiting isn't going to be an everyday thing. Everyone gets impatient, but I'm sure going to use that wait time more effectively by taking time to really see the world around me instead of being inside of my own head and frustrated with all the things I'm not accomplishing by having to wait.