The places your mind wanders when you’re not paying attention is astonishing. One moment you’re thinking about walking your dog, the next about hot air balloons and clowns and taking a painting class. The mind is a strange thing.
The clock. That’s what it says. 2:43 PM. I feel like I’ve been waiting here for hours.
I glance around me. People are sitting, people are standing, and some are walking. It’s that sort of waiting walk, where you pace the same section of floor over and over, until whatever you’re waiting for happens.
The room is abuzz with conversations. Cell phones ring and vibrate. A voice murmurs occasionally over the loud speaker. There seems to be a lot of action going on. But honestly, there isn’t. People are talking and walking and children are laughing as they play, but these things are all forms of waiting. We’re all waiting.
Time never goes slower than when you’re wishing it would go faster. The more glances I throw at the clock, the more it seems time has stopped. The clock isn’t moving. It knows how anxious I am and is biding its own time and wasting mine.
I try and come up with productive things to think about. I need to go grocery shopping. I need milk and yogurt, bread, some chicken breast that I can freeze. I’m out of snack food too, though I really shouldn’t buy anymore… Maybe Oreos and some popcorn, but nothing else. I need to clean my apartment and check the oil in my car.
I try and I try to occupy my mind, but the urge to look is too strong.
I become a pacer. Back and forth and back and forth in front of the same 6 seats. Back. I walk by a women with blond hair and a young boy playing with a smart phone. And forth. I notice that the boy is playing a racing game and the woman is reading Eat. Pray. Love. The building rumbles from the departures and arrivals above. There’s a voice on the loud speaker again as I turn back.
There’s a commotion. People are getting up from chairs, ceasing their pacing. They’re walking toward the doors, smiles on their faces. The time had finally come. From the doors new people are spilling into the room, carrying bags and tired faces. I watch impatiently, craning my neck this way and that way. The crowd starts to thin as people walk off with those that had just landed.
It’s just me and a nearly empty waiting area. I sit back down, alone.