WAITING ISN’T

Waiting Room – “Good things come to those who wait.” Do you agree? How long is it reasonable to wait for something you really want?


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In “Stranger In A Strange Land,” Michael Valentine Smith typically said “Waiting is.” It was one of those zen-like inscrutable comments. Kind of goes well with Bill Belichick’s “It is what it is.”

Both translate loosely to “The moment contains what it contains. Since we can’t do much about it, we might as well shut up and go with the flow.”

Waiting doesn’t get you anything but a seat on the bus or an opportunity to explain something to a bureaucrat when that little numbered slip of paper is finally called.

Nor, in my opinion, do the meek inherit the earth, unless you count a grave as an inheritance. Waiting — a lack of activity or withdrawal from events in progress — may keep you out of trouble, but it won’t get you noticed. The doctor won’t come out and see you on the bench. It won’t make anyone pick up your manuscript and decide to publish it. It won’t get your job done — any job, anywhere. It won’t get you a job.

It’s an expression which sounds good on paper, but what does it mean? If it means “the baby won’t come until it’s fully developed” … okay. If it means you need to let the bread rise and bake before you can eat it? Fine. Both these are active attempts to create something which coincidentally requires some waiting. Not like being put on hold while someone on the other side of the world finally gets around to taking your call … then promptly disconnects you.

The baby didn’t self-create nor did the bread. Nothing gets started by waiting. Waiting is stasis. What you do after you’ve acted, implemented, and are passing through an interval necessary for fruition.

Hey, anyone been up for jury duty, sat in a big room with a lot of other people who don’t want to be there … and then be told you aren’t allowed to talk, read, or leave the room until someone says you can?

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That is waiting at it’s finest. 90% of the time, someone will eventually come to tell you to go home.

I won’t wait on lines in restaurants or at movies. If the grocery is very crowded? I leave. I’ll shop tomorrow.

I wait only for things to bloom, finish developing, be delivered, cool, bake, dry, or land at the airport. Otherwise, there are lots of things to do. I’ll always prefer to do than wait.

NEVERENDING AUTUMN – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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Not only has this been a particularly beautiful Autumn, but it has lasted longer than any in my memory. It started in September … earlier than normal … and it has not quite left us yet.

On our way back from the mall in Millbury, we left Route 146 via Lackey Dam road and when we got to the pond, Marilyn spotted a flash of white. A swan!

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I found a place to pull of the road and we took our cameras and walked the short path to the pond. The leaves were russet and red, the sky bright blue. Reflections were perfect mirrors of the sky with crisp leave floating like boats across the surface.

It was a John Ford afternoon. I could hear the music softly in the distance …

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THE SATURDAY SCHEDULE

Another Perfect Plan by Harold, A Truly Organized Man

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As usual, Harold awoke before the alarm announced the new day. He laid in bed awaiting the arrival of a new dawn and a new beginning for his perfect schedule.

When the ringing began, Harold looked up and noticed the sun was not attacking the window as usual, but when he went to open the curtains and look out, he discovered it was just a stray cloud that had blocked the sun. It looked like the weather would be better than even Harold, Perfect Predictor of Organizational Outcomes, could imagine .

Mr. CoffeeHe went through his normal routine smoothly. Everything was laid out and prepared the night before to allow for maximum efficiency, so Harold was able to move through each task effortlessly, just as he had planned. When he reached the kitchen, he was pleased to see that the coffee maker was just completing its chore. He had been a bit worried about the coffee since his well used coffee maker had seemed a little sluggish in recent days, but today it was working just like it was new. Harold was certain that it only needed a minor cleaning to be as good as the day he bought it.

When his breakfast was prepared, Harold went to the front door to retrieve the morning paper.  He was ready to hunt around for it as was usually the case, but when he opened the door he found the paper lying at his feet.

“The paper boy must have improved his aim,” Harold thought to himself.  In reality, the “paper boy” was actually a college student at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota where he aspired to greatness at the Van Wetzel Performing Arts Hall.  Harold would never learn this little detail of something that intersected with his daily routine.

As the morning hours passed, Harold began to look forward to his twice weekly trip to the Wild West Restaurant and Sports Bar. He considered this an important part of his Wednesday and Saturday schedules. He dressed in his best, old-fashioned, sports shirt and slacks, found his favorite baseball cap, and made his way to the door in time to make his arrival exactly at the appointed hour.

When he reached his car in the drive way he heard a bit of a commotion down the street. He shot a quick glance down the street fearing his neighbor was headed his way to derail his perfect plan. It was just two old timers, however, talking about the weather or some such time killer and of no importance to Harold. He got into his dependable car and drove away.

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There was no trouble finding a nice parking spot and Harold was able to reach the door way of his favorite eating establishment at the exact moment called for by his schedule.

“Hello Harold,” each staff member called out as he looked for his favorite seat in view of a television screen where sports headlines could be seen all through lunch. He was pleased at his good fortune as he waited for someone to come take his order.

“Why, hello there,” a man bellowed behind Harold. Instantly he feared it was his neighbor, Bill, about to disrupt his well-ordered day. But as the person walked by toward another table, Harold discovered it was no one that he knew. There was no Bill to kill off some of his allotted time at the Sports Bar. Harold smiled at his good fortune.

Soon a waitress arrived at his table. “Hello, Harold,” the familiar voice announced. Much to Harold’s surprise, his favorite waitress was looking right at him, pencil and order pad at the ready.

“Tiffany!” Harold exclaimed. “What happened to the girl with the maroon hair?”

“She didn’t work out,” Tiffany said. “So they asked me to come back. I had been working for them at another restaurant.” Harold was all smiles at this news. As he started to order, Tiffany cut him off.

“I know, you want the soup and sandwich special, and iced tea,” Tiffany said with a smile. At that she headed off to take his order to the kitchen.

When the meal was over, Tiffany brought the check to the table. On the back was a big smiley face drawn by the favorite waitress. As she set it down before Harold, she planted a light peck on his check and declared, “It was good to see you again.” And Harold was happy to see her.

He left a more generous tip than was his custom as he was pleased as to the perfect outcome of his regular lunch. When he got up to leave, every staff member shouted out to Harold, as if he was some sort of celebrity. “See you soon!” And they would see him soon, on Wednesday for the next Soup and Sandwich Special.

As Harold walked to his car he congratulated himself on scheduling the perfect Saturday.