I’m sitting and waiting in a room filled with people. I’ve brought my car to this place to get it serviced. It’s Saturday morning, early.
How much of my life have I spent like this, waiting, patiently (or not) for something to happen, for something to finish or be finished? I wish I knew the answer to this question. It would certainly be many hours or even days if you combined all those moments of idleness into one block of time.
There has to be a good way and a bad way to wait. Right? There are probably waiting artists. By that, I mean, those who have talent when it comes to waiting. Such people would be able to sit, as I am doing, but very artfully. Their waiting might even demonstrate style. Right now, I’m sitting neither artfully nor stylishly. Or even patiently. In fact, I am perturbed. I’m not graceful in my impatience.
I want to get better at this patience thing, so I decide to start practicing right this minute by taking a deep breath in and then, slowly, very slowly and deliberately, exhaling.
That seemed to work. That seemed to help. The tick of my pulse, felt in my temple, is softer than it was seconds ago. My heart, I believe, has slowed. I close my eyes and continue breathing deeply and deliberately.
This breathing practice is probably a step toward waiting artistry. I feel that I am progressing.
I open my eyes. The people around me don’t seem to notice that I am in transition. We are in our own worlds. We are all doing our best to pass this time.
I close my eyes again and the world disappears. I continue my slow inhaling and exhaling. I’m pulling the air all the way into my cells. I feel (oddly) a kind of melting sensation. This feeling starts in my chest and spreads. I sense that I’m diminishing as it grows.
The clock hands move.
I hear my name called. A man is rousing me, and I open my eyes and stand. I step toward him. He is smiling and telling me my car is ready. I feel my face smiling in return. We are mirroring each other.
That wasn’t so bad, I think, as I pay. I feel like I’ve achieved something more than having my car fixed. It’s a kind of improvement that might be hard to see. I know it’s there—I believe it’s there—but will know for sure the next time I’m required to do what I’ve just done.