Friday, March 20, 2009


I am not a big fan of waiting. Having the attention span of a gnat, the exercise of sitting in one place, for an indeterminate amount of time, can be excruciating. In a word, I get bored.

Medical waiting rooms, airline departure lounges, arriving early for a meeting, or even long red lights all are potential boredom producers. I am left with nothing but myself to entertain me. Teenagers use the word boredom to describe the fact that they don’t like what they are doing. I use it to describe the fact that I don’t like what I am not doing.

It’s not so much that I am looking to be more productive, it’s just that I’d rather be engaged, involved, active. Waiting is so passive. I am wondering though, what is on the other side of boredom? Is it possible to push through the mental inertia, to overcome the need to move, act, or do?

Is there something to be learned by not doing, by just waiting? I honestly can’t think of anything at the moment, I’m just asking.

Time is all we have as humans. I really dislike the phrase “killing time”. We don’t get any of it back, we can’t save it up, we only have what we have right now. Waiting is just that, waiting for something else to happen. It can very easily fall into the category of killing time.

I have resolved before to always carry a book – ‘Catcher in the Rye’ or ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’. Instead, I don’t, and am left with whatever magazine matches the Dr.’s hobby – eg. ‘Quarter Horse Monthly’. I had no idea bridles cost that much.

Waiting is a fact of life – unfortunately the world doesn’t anticipate my arrival and have all that I need or want at the ready. There are those moments in time, those spaces, where the only obligation is to anticipate what is next to come – be it a root canal, or first lift on a powder day. The challenge is to not kill that time, but to live it.


  1. I agree with all of this... waiting tends to annoy me. I try to breath into the space and remember there is something to be gained. I try... and then my eye twitches or my cell phone vibrates and I 'think' I'm wasting time. What is the difference between waiting and wasting time?

  2. Time is a luxury not to be taken for granted. The punishment for a serious crime is to "do time". Taking away the freedom to spend that time mindfully or mindlessly is one's punishment. I revel in a daydream. A rare moment of "wasting time" in a society where we clutch at our blackberrys to feel busy in a moment of stillness.

  3. "I'm not living, I'm just killing time." Radiohead