It’s the waiting that gets you. Waiting to be born. Waiting on the doctor to give a physical. Waiting to get to age twenty-one. Waiting for an interview. Waiting in line for a Disney Ride. Waiting in line at the grocery store or at the movie theater for a ticket to a movie we don’t even want to see, then it turns out dreadful the way we thought it would.
Oh, the anticipation.
Then there’s waiting on a date. Waiting on tables, then getting no tip for all your service. That sure hurts. Waiting to get out of school. Waiting for your tax return. Waiting for someone to answer the 800 number you called. How many thousands of minutes do we spend in our lives waiting? What a way to spend a life. The waiting we do is almost as long as Proust’s memories of things past.
There’s a joke about waiting in line to get into the Pearly Gates. It goes something like this. Guy was waiting to be let into Heaven. He gets to St. Peter and St. Peter turns him away with, “You were so stingy in life that you married a woman named Penny. Get thee hence.” St. Peter points to the place downstairs. Second guy St. Peter says to, “You were such a drunk in life you married a woman named Brandy. Get thee hence.” Third guy waiting in line turns to the woman behind him, says, “Guess you know what that means, Fanny.” And he gets him hence.
Guess what? When you get thee hence you have to wait on the boatman. You reach into your pocket and find you don’t have the coin to pay him. There are no free rides. You’ll have to spend a lot of years, begging for a quarter, waiting for someone, anyone to help you out. Nobody can see you. You’re just thin air. So how are you going to get your two bits?
Here’s just one example of waiting which many of us go through: Asking a girl out for a first date. Or being asked out. You see her across the room, and you say to yourself, “Gee, sure would love to ask her out.” But you hesitate and wait to get up the nerve. What if she rejects you? I mean you’re a nice enough guy. You’ve been known to find stray animals a home. You may not look like George Clooney or Robert Redford or Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling but you do dress decent. You don’t have b.o. or bad breath. At least, as far as you know. So why is it that your feet feel like lead as you walk across that room? When you get to her, you stutter your way through your first words.
And, girls, you see the guy across the room. He looks like a nice guy, the kind of guy you might want to go out with. You’ve heard that he may be interested in you. There you stand, chatting with your friends, waiting for him to come over. Every so often you look his way. Hoping he’ll get the hint. But he seems clueless. You think maybe you should go over and ask him out. But what would he think? So you stand where you are, waiting for him to make his move.
Guys, you head on over to her. Stumble over the word, “Hello”, give her your best smile and continue with the “Are you enjoying the dance?” Then you go for the gold. “Would you like to go out?” It’s with fear and trembling that you wait for her answer.
“Sure,” she says. “What did you have in mind?” She waits on pins and needles for an answer.
Now that is the sixty-four thousand dollar question. If you say a movie, you won’t get to talk. It will take the pressure off. Help you get comfortable with her. So you ask, “Want to go to a movie?” You give her the name of some chick flick you think she might want to see. Then you wait.
Girls, he’s asked you to a movie. The last three dates you’ve been on have been movies.The guys always pick something you really don’t want to see. Now this guy is doing the same as all the rest. But he’s asking you to a movie you really want to see. At least, he’s put some thought into it. So, you say, “Sure.”
What’s next? Girls, you’re going to have to pick just the right thing to wear. You go through your closet, going no to this dress and definitely not to that dress. The night of the date you’re on pins and needles, waiting, hoping.
Guys, you don’t want to be too early. She’ll think you’re too anxious. So you wait till the last minute. Then you show up at her door and she opens it. The dress she’s wearing is your favorite color and she’s smiling. That’s a good sign. A very good sign.
Girls, he even opens the car door for you. Your last three dates just said, “Jump in.” This guy is a gentleman like your dad. This is looking positive. Downright positive. Maybe this guy is the One. He even buys you popcorn and a drink for the movie. “Why don’t we share?” you ask.
Guys, she wants to share her popcorn with you. It looks like you hit the jackpot when you picked this movie. You’re watching the movie but you’re not thinking about it. You’re thinking about whether you should ask her if she would like to go out for coffee afterwards. But you have to make it through the hour-and-a-half long movie.The waiting for the end is killing you.
Girls, you can’t keep your mind on the movie. You’re wondering what will happen after it’s over.Waiting for him to put a move on you. Trying to decide whether you’ll let him.
After the movie, guys, you ask her out for a drink. Instead of coffee, you suggest a little wine bar around the corner.
Girls, he’s asked you for a drink. Is he wanting to get you drunk? Maybe he thinks you’re easy. But you get to the bar, have several glasses of wine with some cheese. The two of you have this good conversation going. You’re thoroughly enjoying yourself.
Guys, now it’s time to take her to her door. This is the part you always hate. The evening went well. Now there’s the close. Some guys would make a pass. But you’re not that kind of guy. You really like this girl. Would it be too much to do the goodnight kiss? You wait for that perfect moment to try for an answer.
Girls, you’re at the door and he’s telling you how much he enjoyed the movie and the conversation. Is he going to make a move on you? Try to get you into bed? A couple of guys you dated made their move at the door. You had one heck of a time getting rid of them. Thought you might even have to call the cops. You’re just waiting for him to turn out to be one of those kind of guys..
Guys, you take her hand as you’re saying goodnight. Finally you get up your nerve and lean over and give her a goodnight kiss. It’s not a passionate kiss, that will have to wait for another time. It’s the kind of kiss that says I like you and I would like to see you again. Then you ask, “Can I see you again?” She shakes her head yes. You watch as she opens the door and goes inside.
Girls, you close the door. You’re almost giddy that this guy may just be in your future. As you get undressed and crawl into bed, you spoil the night you just had. You start asking, “Why didn’t he make a pass? At least, a little one? Am I not sexy enough?” You’ll just have to wait to see if you blew it.
Guys, you’re driving home and you’re smiling. You enjoyed the evening. It was everything you hoped. Then that old doubt creeps in. What if she expected you to stay the night? How long do you have to wait to find out?
Girls, just about the time you are dozing off, your cell rings. You pick it up. It’s him. It’s HIM.
And so it goes, on and on. It’s a lot for one word to bear but “waiting” is the word. And it does bear up under the weight very well..
What does the word “waiting” remind you of?