In “Stranger In A Strange Land,” Michael Valentine Smith typically said “Waiting is.” It was a zen-like inscrutable comment. Like 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.”
The long pause of waiting doesn’t get you anything but a seat on the bus or maybe an opportunity to explain something to a bureaucrat when your 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.
Sounds good on paper, but what does it mean? If it means “the baby won’t come until it’s fully developed.” That’s good. When it means let the bread rise before you bake it? Okay. These are not anywhere like being on hold while someone on the other side of the world finally gets around to taking your call … then disconnects you.
The pause is between times. A longer pause is stasis. 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 get told you aren’t allowed to talk, read, or leave the room until someone says you can? That is waiting at it’s finest because 90% of the time, someone will come in to tell you to go home. You were paused. For nothing.
I wait only for things to bloom, develop, be delivered, cool, bake, dry, or land at the airport. Otherwise, there other things to do.
“Stranger in a Strange Lane” was a fine book in its day, but I will not grok at the motor vehicle bureau.