IN­FORMER.

WAIT­ING IS THE HARD­EST PART IN A WORLD OF IN­STANT GRAT­I­FI­CA­TION, BUT THERE’S STILL SOME­THING TO BE SAID FOR SUS­PENSE

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - CONTENTS - WORDS: MICHAEL JACOBSON

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.”

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