Waiting with a purpose


The impatient tap of a foot, the rhythmical drumming of fingers, a wistful sigh and vacant stare, broken by the occasional glance at a wristwatch. Like plucking eyebrows, the minutes slowly tick by one by one, itchy and painful as each passes...waiting.


An ardent follower of the fashionably late, I have an incredible knack for being twenty minutes overdue (on the dot) for every appointment I make. I'm not proud of it, but in my case tardiness seems utterly unavoidable. Time to me is Dali's melted clock flung over a bough: a hopeless cause.


I've tried setting my watch five minutes fast, but then it seems I have five minutes to spare; I've tried making someone else set my watch fast, but I always figure out the difference! "En retard encore!" "Sp├Ąt wieder!" Oh time...mysterious, unnecessary evil. Will the beating wings of time's chariot drawing near ever hurry me on?


Had I been Cinderella, my dress would have turned to rags in full view of the prince, and Lewis Carroll's rabbit muttering, "I’m late! I’m late!" would have been shot long ago!

But, no matter how useless I deem time, and no matter how many people I keep waiting, waiting for me is a pleasure—I, for once, am not at fault and can steal a few seconds for myself, with my heart beating in quiet anticipation or at ease in peaceful knowledge of what’s to come. It reminds me of Samuel Beckett's tragicomic Waiting for Godot:

"Don't let's do anything. It's safer."
"The essential doesn't change. Nothing to be done."

I am by no means hopeless or pessimistic. I believe our time on earth has a purpose, and that the clock is simply a managerial device. Dressed in purple, I wait with purpose and gaze not in boredom, but in thought.