The Waiting Place

It seems I’ve been stuck in the waiting place where, according to Dr. Seuss, people wait for all kinds of different things, like “the phone to ring, or the snow to snow, or waiting around for a Yes or No, or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.”

Despite knowing I’m not alone there, it’s an uncomfortable place to be.

I’ve been thinking about the different expressions we use to describe waiting:

  • Waiting in the wings
  • Waiting for one’s ship to come in
  • Waiting for the dust to settle, for the smoke to clear, for the other shoe to drop…

I texted a friend who was waiting for Hurricane Nicole to arrive, to see how she was doing. She replied they had lost power but were otherwise alright. For some reason, I felt compelled to quote the immortal words of the now deceased Tom Petty, “the waiting is the hardest part.” I added, “Of course, that’s not objectively true.”

Though I suppose it’s subjectively true, when all you can do is wait. Waiting for biopsy or other test results, when there is no bandage that requires changing, no medication to take in the meantime. Waiting in the hospital for the surgeon to scrub in. This waiting is interminable.

Last week I spent many hours waiting—for the election results, for red lights to turn green, for my arm to get numb so the dermatologist could remove the keloid that was impervious to cortisone shots—and this week I expect to wait many more hours.

I may fail in my efforts to find pleasant distractions or sustain focus on prolonged tasks. Then I’ll remind myself I’m not alone and, after a few deep breaths, I’ll settle into a comfortable chair to wait.