Monday, May 9, 2011

Are you finished reading that magazine?

“What time is it?”
“You just asked me that 5 minutes ago.”
“That couldn’t have only been 5 minutes ago.”
“How much longer do you think we’ll be here?”
“Another 30 minutes?  I wonder if they forgot we’re here.”
“Maybe I should go check.  Should I go check?  I’ll just go check…”
I have spent the past year caring for ill parents.  It’s not something I have talked about here until now.  But, when something consumes your life to this degree, there isn’t much space for the freedom thought that leads to my usually frivolous blog topics.  For today my mind can’t seem to leave this room, this waiting room.  Because of my parent’s illnesses, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a large amount of time in waiting rooms.   I’ve even made jokes about creating a waiting room ranking system that gives stars for comfort of chairs, convenience to drink machines, cell reception and magazine selection.  But, as I sit in yet another waiting room, it occurred to me that although some rooms have beige walls and some have green, they are all really the same.  There is always the family gathered together discussing anything but the one thing on all of their minds, the sleeping man, the woman escaping into a book and in this case me with my pink laptop writing this blog entry.  
Did you know that 2-3 years of your life will be wrapped up in waiting?  (And yes, I got curious and googled that while waiting.) When you consider the volume of time spent on this most boring activity, the question of what you do while waiting becomes an important one.  Whether you’re waiting to hear back after a job interview or waiting for that hot guy you met to call you, life is filled with waiting situations.  I am currently waiting for results of writing contests and reaction to a submitted partial manuscript.  Yet, I’m writing my next story.  I am waiting for my life to return to normal.  Yet, I am spending time with family.  I am waiting to get out of this windowless, overly air conditioned room with hard vinyl chairs.  Yet, I am using the time I have to…okay so I’m not really accomplishing anything right now.  But, my point is this: life is short.  Appreciate the time you have with loved ones and use every second you are granted to try and reach your goals. 
There is a long list of things you can do in a real or a metaphorical waiting room to fill the time: read, sleep, talk, pray, text, knit, write, balance the checkbook, surf the internet, watch something mindless on the TV… 
The question is how do you choose to use the small moments of your time while you wait?  What do you do in waiting rooms?


Heather Molloy said...

Unfortunately, I know a lot about waiting rooms. But now that I have my trusty iPhone, I can accomplish a lot while waiting. I pay bills, email, text, twitter, facebook, download songs and books, read, balance checking accounts, make notes about manuscripts, and finally, call people. :) I rarely read a magazine in the waiting room anymore. Plus, ewh, waiting room germs.

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