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Waiting For The Door Bell: On Impatience

“Order placed.” Now it’s a game where the clock is the only rule. It doesn’t tick anymore. No. It changes whenever it feels like, stretching moments as far their arms can go until they finally snap into the next position. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Anticipating the future. Filling every room with the stink of anticipation, hungry for completion, for climax.

Anticipation promises that when it finally arrives, it will do nothing less than melt reality.

But it’s that emotional resonance of anticipation that’s cold butter dropped on a hot pan. It sucks up your consciousness. Leads you like a dollar on fish wire. Wrapping you tightly in a swirl of thoughts that would be better used to flush toilets. Living in a future that will probably arrive, but definitely not soon enough.

“Patience is a virtue.”

Where does impatience come from? Tempting to say that the infatuation with what has yet to arrive is the promise of green fields, of a better tomorrow, the land of milk and honey in a 40-year-desert. That is an escape from the unbearable present. As if I was trapped on Elephant Island, having given up on praying, thinking no thoughts because no thought can take another punch to the jaw from the cold wait.

The anxiety of anticipation fills the mind with mud, staining the present’s floor.

Seeing anticipation external to myself like a shadow on the wall may itself be the issue. I am my anticipation. Embodying it completely when it takes hold. Wearing it like a tattered coat and parading my ass up and down Main Street, past the only authentic New York pizza in the state.  “I want it now… I want IT NOW!” This need for immediate gratification: more than childlike; spoiled with instantaneous desires. And for what. For what?

In a way, I’m admittedly arguing for presence. For living in the moment. To be immersed in the immediate sensations that make up the world around. Herein lies the calming sigh spilled out of hundreds of thousands of yoga studios at 7:30 am daily. A sign that states awareness without the ego: almost universally known in the Western after its cherry-pick absorption of Eastern practices. Fine to rehash, difficult to follow.  

Unfortunately for retired airport gurus, I’m not arguing for presence.

I’m arguing for impatience. Be impatient. Life is too fleeting not to declare impatience to the world, to stick a flag in the dirt and scoop it up into fat clumps until it finally spits out what you’ve been waiting for. At least as far as trivialities are concerned. Like pizza. Or, a new Switch game.

Yes, yes. I understand the importance of immediate experience. But is anticipation not a part of experience? Another faucet to turn and see what happens: we know the sink will overflow a priori, but there’s a part of us that still wants to see it happen.

To be content with sunshine and a fine pot to sit in is a fine thing, but my Amazon packages arriving on time is far finer. That moment is the finest. The release from the jaws. The waking moment after a long sickness; the prying open of a wreck; the breath of fresh air after choking on a lozenge. And then…

When the object of my anticipation moves from the winter-worn mat at the front door to the kitchen table, I feel nothing. The tide has retreated from the earth. A tsunami in reverse. All that emotion evaporates instantaneously and the reward rarely resonates as powerfully as the tease. The gratification that follows anticipation wanes in proportion to the amount of conscious energy dedicated to the desire. The more I want, the less fulfilled I feel.

It would be over-drawing if I said something about goals, and the journey, or some other aphoristic line created for American fortune cookies. The truth is likely tamer, closer to some sociohistorical condition. Something constructed and lurking, something smart and boring, a schizoid sickness in the water: to be recited at a dive bar about technology and capitalism and labor. Something mysterious and, and… and boring.   

What’s not boring is waiting in impatience. It’s all consuming, all becoming. A great way to spend Saturday, a passive victory that only requires a credit card and a stable internet connection.

Impatience is an excited anxiety, one that will make me believe in God if Ontrac delivers on time.

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