I have become a self-proclaimed expert in the area of waiting in rooms designed for such. My knowledge of “all things” waiting room related comes from years of first hand experience. In the early years I would approach a waiting room entirely unprepared. It took me a few hours of mind numbing boredom to realize that a waiting room lives up to it’s name. It is fine if all you want to do is actually sit there and wait. I do not have the capacity to just sit and wait. Type A personalities and waiting rooms are not compatible. My early waiting room experiences caused fellow waiters some distress. Sitting next to a leg jiggler and feeling the vibration three seats down is not pleasant. People constantly told me to shut my motor off. I did learn to control the nervous movement of my limbs by pacing. Pacing cannot comfortably be done in a waiting room. There are feet to step on and trip over. Although I needed to move, the zig zag nature of maneuvering around chairs and their occupants would only increase my anxiety.
Thus the natural extension of a waiting room for me and many others is the hallway. Hallways quite naturally catch the overflow of waiting rooms when space is limited. It is also a perfect pacing zone. Most are nice and long and serve as a sort of runway for people left taxiing around facitlities until their business is concluded. Hallways are also not very far removed from the original waiting area and you can still be located quickly if you are needed. The only drawback to hallways are the acceptable use of cellphones in them. Cellphones are always off limits in waiting areas but hallways are usually posted as cellphone friendly. Many people like to fill up their waiting time with phonecalls to everyone they know in order to break thier boredom. I still do not own a cellphone. My thought on that is this. My mother raised ten kids and dealt with emergencies all the time without a cell phone. We are all still alive. It would irk me to get a phone call at the grocery store from one of my kids because they can’t find any clean socks. That is not an emergency in my book and I don’t need to pay for a phone to field such calls.
Beating The Boredom
Learning to beat the boredom of waiting rooms has become a game for me. I have a large canvas tote bag that is packed with constructive activities that are appropriate for waiting rooms everywhere. It is packed and ready to go for emergencies or for planned appointments. I have a notebook, pens, calculator and a current stack of junk mail in it. I can’t throw out any mail unless I open it first. Some mail that I thought was junk was in fact not at times and now I go through everything. I also pack bank statements and use my waiting time to reconcile the books. Even though I use online banking I still get statements mailed to me so that I can balance the accounts on the go. Also, my bag contains a knitting project and supplies. I always have two fresh bottles of water and packaged snack crackers. I like to include two books, one for entertainment and one for education. If I am feeling particularly tired I may grab the fiction on that day. Otherwise I prefer to read something educational and enhance my cerebral activity. I am not a fan of going brain dead in waiting rooms.
I deem any waiting time successful if I have something accomplished in the end. There is nothing like the feeling of driving home from a Boston appointment with freshly balanced bank statements. Especially if I don’t have to run home and search for a check online. If the end result is a finished, handknit sweater than I am especially grateful that I had the good fortune to warm a waiting room chair for two hours. Approaching any waiting room situation is no longer viewed with disdain. It is a form of free time for me. It is an opportunity to connect with fellow waiters. Some of whom I am quite humbled by. I consider it an honor to be blessed by the story of a stranger. It never ceases to amaze me how some people have the ability to gracefully shoulder their burdens. The most successful waiting room experience by far is when a small child decides I can be their friend. Those waiting room conversations are priceless. Sometimes, if I am having a bad day, all I have to do is wait awhile in a room designed for waiting. Carrying out much more than my tote ever carried in is precious. A bit of inspiration, garnered from a wiser person with years of waiting experience on me, is successful waiting indeed.