“Baby I’ve been waiting. I’ve been waiting night and day” (Leonard Cohen)
I’m standing all alone in an empty schoolyard, well, all alone except for a little dog. It’s cold. Where is everyone? Anyway, more about that later.
Have you ever noticed how kids just don’t have the ability to wait? For example, there’s the old favourite – “I’m hungry.” “Ok, have an apple.” “No, I’m REALLY hungry, can we have the chocolate cake now?” And right now, there’s “How many more days until Christmas?”
But, are adults any better? I could mention here a certain golfing companion who hates waiting so much that he puts his shoes on while he’s driving to the course, but that wouldn’t be charitable so I’ll let the opportunity slide. Let’s instead consider a couple of recent events in my own life.
It’s Saturday. We’re visiting our Canadian family, so Saturday mean’s kids’ ballet classes. I’m assured there will be a special event when the class puts on a demonstration for parents and grandparents. We arrive to find the only three seats in the waiting room already occupied. No problem, there’ll be lots of seats when we go through that big door…. Forty-eight minutes and thirty-seven seconds have passed. We’re still in the waiting room. One of the mothers is expounding to her neighbour about the advantages of C-Sections (did I mention how small this room is?) Apparently the “special event” was only for the kids. Only another minute and a half and the door should open, but hey, I’m patient.
It’s Monday night. I’m parked at the Skytrain station waiting to collect David. Trains come. Trains go. And come, and go. An hour passes. Check with home. Oops – we misread the text. No worries – it’s been fun watching all the people come and go – well sort of.
And now, it’s Tuesday afternoon. I’ve offered to do the school pickup. The school is literally an eight-minute walk from the house, so I’ve made the brave decision to walk, even though the clouds are looking ominous. “Are you sure you’ll be right dad? You don’t want to be late.” “Nah, when I was a kid we used to walk to school across the Toowoomba Alps with nothing more than a stick to whack the snakes. This will be a cinch.” “Oh, and I’ll take the dog. She looks like she could use the exercise.”
In no time (like I said, eight minutes), I’m crossing the parking lot of the school. The place is deserted, and all is quiet except for the whir of remote controlled metal shutters sliding down over some of the classroom windows. I’ve heard about these – the teachers can close them if there’s any suspicious characters about. I pull back the hood of my jacket to check, but I’m all alone and can’t see anyone suspicious – I reckon this must just be a drill. Now, all I have to do is stand here, in the freezing cold, and wait. Oh, and hope like crazy it doesn’t start to rain on the walk back – because I’ll be in sooo much trouble!
It’s Wednesday afternoon. I’m back at the school yard. It’s not only drizzling rain, but the rain is mixed with snow. I thought it was cold yesterday, but this is way worse. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.