On Waiting

Thursday, January 04, 2018

I went out to town today for some errands. As I head back home, I stopped by to get a box of those cheap, unhealthy, delicious pizzas. The place where I decided to get them was by the roadside, and the hustle around was enough to entertain me as I wait.

The first thing that caught my eye was a sorbetero – a man peddling "dirty" ice cream. I made a note to get some as soon as my pizza's done. The sky was a metallic gray, I thought, like my hair. The air smelled of rain. The cacophony of jeepneys and tricycles was befitting of the bustling scene of students walking home from school and market-goers doing some shopping. I stared at the criss-crossing power lines above. They look like a suspended Cat's Cradle. I knew that come sundown, birds (maya?) would descend upon these wires and fill the town with poop and caw. A pair of highschoolers walked by, ogling my hair, giggling. I'm used to this reaction. Even with normal hair, I still got these looks.

I moved my eyes to the direction of the ice cream vendor and felt my heart sink when I saw him gone.

In postponing, I didn't get my ice cream.

I realized then that much of our day is spent on waiting. And postponing. And waiting some more.

Before I went to the pizza place, I was at a bank. Spent almost an hour waiting to get cash deposited. Imagine that. An hour of my life gone simply by sitting there. Thank goodness I had an ebook of Barry Lopez' Arctic Dreams on my phone to pass the time.

I waited for my pizza. I waited to get on a jeepney. I waited to write this. You too, reader, is waiting, perhaps for me to get to the point. Or for this to be over.

Is waiting such a bad thing? If I hadn't waited, I would have missed all the details of today, the beautiful chaos that was the marketplace. If I hadn't waited, I wouldn't have regretted postponing buying an ice cream and this story wouldn't be penned. If I hadn't waited, I wouldn't know that whales produce oil that power street lamps.

If I hadn't had the patience to wait, to go slow, the things I waited for wouldn't taste, wouldn't feel, as sweet. I wouldn't value them as much. The time spent between not having and having is crucial. In those moments, our characters are formed. The waiting defines us.

Postponing and waiting are basically the same thing. There is virtue in delayed gratification.

So now, when people ask "why wait?", you'll hear me say, "Well... 'coz it's worth it."

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