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HONORING MY MOTHER | Waiting in vain

The frequency by which we have endured numerous queues to the cashier during these pre-Christmas weeks just felt like these sorties have nearly eclipsed our quota for the year. Quite sadly, lining up frequently doesn’t necessarily mean practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to trying to master one’s ability to remain patient. As a matter of fact, particularly for most people like ourselves old foggies, one can only reach and scratch clean the bottom of one’s patience long enough before the personal Mr. Hyde comes out and makes it presence felt. In fairness however, there is one lesson that is worth noting though, in spite of one’s ordeal. As in the children’s rhyming catch-all phrase rich, poor, farmer, doctor, which pertains to “everyone”, here is the glaring truth: nobody wants to wait in line.

Likewise, I might just like to point out, the term “waiting in line” could be a contradiction in terms. While ‘waiting’ may mean to bide one’s time until it’s your turn, the second word ‘line’ implicitly refers to having order in place. Unfortunately the reality in the Philippine setting is that these two might as well be oil and water. Quite simply, the image of a simple line of people ‘waiting their turn’ towards any terminal, be it the cashier’s, the ATM or the toilet, is a case worthy of serious study and reflection; much like Siddhartha’s river. Why can’t we just wait for our turn? Reasons may vary: political clout, social standing or other forms of entitlement, all these make mincemeat of this simple rule.

Line violations have almost become pet peeve for me; so that with hair standing on end and senses alert, I could almost predict the intention of some who sneak and slowly inch their way toward the middle of any queue. Some line-cutters even employ small talk as ruse to soften those in the proximity before casually inserting themselves, as though they’ve been there much earlier but just left for small emergencies.

There’s even a standing joke that if you’ve not experienced such, you must be rich kid. I however submit that even they get their share, with perhaps matching o-my-gawd for punctuation. As example, why is it that whenever a plane lands and taxies towards the terminal, passengers are already up and aiming for the exits despite being instructed to sit down for their safety? It’s the same thing when the bus halts at the designated stop. People immediately clog the aisles and it’s only the cramped space that’s keeping them from jamming the doorway. Through all these, it’s quite amusing when you spot others just coolly sitting down, appearing to be in awe of the whole spectacle. If not for any other explanation, this might as well be indicative that people are just not willing to wait. As if on cue, I spied someone wearing a T-shirt with a logo of Time/Life printed boldly in front. All should have one I reckon. Because time waits for no one.


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