How much time do we spend waiting during our lifetimes? One source I found says 26 days; the other reports 27. Close to one month? Is that all? I would have guessed much more than that. Mainly because I don’t like to wait. Two minutes feels like two days, especially when I’m in a hurry.
Today after work I had two items to return to our favorite big-box retail store: Wally World. Upon entering the door closest to the Customer Service desk, I took my place behind five other individuals whose body language and heavy sighs told me they had been there for a while. A quick glance behind the counter revealed one lone soul struggling to operate the register. Her turtle-like pace and deer-in-the-headlights expression irritated me. After all, didn’t she know that I had already had a long day? Didn’t she care that I had other things to do? Like hurry up and get home and cook dinner and go through the mail and….and…and….
And then….I heard a little girl’s innocent laughter. She was in line in front of me and we began to play peek-a-boo. Maybe her mother had just endured a long day at work as well. I noticed other parents and their children rushing in the same door I had entered. They probably had dinner to prepare and homework to complete. I spotted the older gentleman, only there to pay a bill, who uttered not a sound of complaint when the associate couldn’t get the payment applied properly. And I realized that the line had grown from six to ten.
There we were. Ten of us. Different stories. Various reasons to be there. But with at least one thing in common: waiting.
“I’m in a hurry to get things done. Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun. All I’ve really gotta do is live and die. But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.” — Lyrics from I’m in a Hurry by Alabama
My daughter, whom I had been texting while I was in line, was surprised to hear that I planned to “wait it out” given the length of the line. She knows my level of impatience. But, as I stood there and noticed the others around me, I sensed this was a lesson for me. I needed to wait. I needed to be still. To notice. To glance. To play peek-a-boo with a toddler girl.
I think I might hurry up and wait again very soon.