WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART IN A WORLD OF INSTANT GRATIFICATION, BUT THERE’S STILL SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR SUSPENSE
What happened to waiting? When Informer was growing up, I waited for everything. Everyone did and it was OK. It taught us patience of a kind that doesn’t exist anymore. We learned that for something to be worth waiting for, you really did have to wait.
Not today. Today waiting is hating. We’ve all become like the White Rabbit in Alice in
Wonderland, always “late for a very important date”.
Except most often the date is not so important and, let’s be honest, neither are we. Yet still we rush about, our every second packed with urgency, convinced that we don’t have time to take our time.
We don’t like silence either, because there’s waiting in it. I was at the Commonwealth Games hockey and sound was everywhere. Thumping beats as players set up for corners. Thumping beats between quarters. Thumping beats as one customer replaced another in the hot chips queue.
It was the same at other venues, the lesson being that while medals may be golden, silence no longer is. Somehow we’ve lost the ability to wait quietly for something to happen. Something else must be happening while we wait for something to happen.
As kids, waiting could be painful. Like when Dad was in the loo and you needed to go. But once he moved from the dinner table to the bookshelf — always selecting Sir Donald Bradman’s The Art of Cricket — you knew that unless you took your chances and whisked by him, the smallest room was offlimits for the duration of Dad’s innings and for at least an hour afterwards. I do not miss the one loo house.
Christmas, Easter and birthdays were the holy trinity of waiting when Informer was a tacker, and my birthday was always the first of the year. Still is, obviously. Being the eldest, my presents were the ones most worth waiting for — new cricket bats, footy boots, bikes, the first pair of Levi’s and so on. By comparison, my brothers got crap.
As for Christmas and Easter, counting sleeps only heightened the suspense.
Today, however, there’s no suspense at all, because Christmas starts in September (at least the advertising does), Easter gets under way on Boxing Day and, at my age, birthdays no longer matter.
Last week I was waiting for the tram. The electronic read-out said the next one would be along in three minutes which, going by the expletives from the bloke next to me, was a lifetime. Since when has waiting become such woe? Except when it concerns coffee. Coffee used to be instant; now it’s interminable, with people happy to wait eons for an overpriced, half-full cup of tepid, unpronounceable affectation with a dodgy Elvis in the froth.
How did our thinking become so skewed? How did quick become symbolic of quality? Why is having stuff done “while you wait” no longer a plus?
We used to say wait a minute; then it was wait a second. Now we have neither a minute nor second to spare.
Come on, people, slow down. As much as it goes against the grain in our health-conscious world, Informer thinks it might do everyone a world of good if we all took some time to ... wait for it ... put on a little wait.
“SINCE WHEN HAS WAITING BECOME SUCH WOE? EXCEPT WHEN IT CONCERNS COFFEE.”