Saturday, January 24, 2015

Waiting Game

Something that has always been very funny to me is elevator etiquette. Everywhere else in the American culture says to smile at people, make eye contact, acknowledge people, and just generally try to be friendly and try to make others feel comfortable. That's the rule in every situation except in elevator etiquette. In the elevator it is the complete opposite. You are to remain silent, stay as far away from other people, and do everything in your power to avoid eye contact while all of you in the elevator feel as uncomfortable as possible in each others presence.

Yesterday I was waiting to get on the elevator and found something just as funny to me as elevator etiquette. It's the waiting game. Have you ever watched someone who is waiting for something? The behavior would be considered insane in any other circumstance.

At my job, we are trained to recognize the warning signs that a person is escalating in emotions and needs intervention. They may start pacing, swaying, huffing, mumbling, and seem irritable. They may clench their fists, or have a change in posture, become unusually quiet, or do something repeatedly like looking at their watch. These are the same exact things people do when playing the waiting game!

As I stood there waiting for the elevator to come, I laughed to the person next to me, "Gotta love the waiting game".

He laughed and agreed, "It's America's favorite past-time."

"Not!" I jokingly shouted.

The truth is that patience is a virtue, a virtue foreign to American culture. Americans HATE waiting for anything. Even waiting in line for fast food, you can spot at least a few people showing the same behaviors as someone about to have an emotional outburst.

In that aspect, I am very American. I'm probably one of the worst. I hate, hate, HATE the waiting game. When I want something to happen, I want it to happen now.

The waiting game is a big part of my life right now though. Recently I decided to take the next step with my writing, and am trying to get a book published. It's been a week now since I started submitting my work to agencies, and the waiting and anticipating to hear back from them has been torture.

But just as the waiting game for the elevator, I know the next step after the waiting is over, is stepping in to elevator etiquette. It will be unusual, out of character, and uncomfortable. Once I find someone who believes in my writing potential as much as I do, the waiting game will be over and the correction, criticism, and hard work will begin. But once it is all over, the elevator door will open, and I will have reached my destination to a higher and better place in my dream.

But for now, I have to just sit back and try to enjoy my favorite game....... the waiting game.

I'll try not to look like a lunatic.

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