May 23, 2007


I am staring at the screen, mind going blank, trying to shut off “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” I might as well sound like Bonnie Tyler, except I can’t sing. So here I am, sounding more and more like Inday Badiday, waiting for Congestril and Cefalin to take effect.

This gets me to thinking: how many hours in our lifetimes do we spend waiting? And just what do we wait for? Right now, for example, I am waiting for relief from this pesky cough. I am tapping my fingers, wishing that the internet connection would speed up. In between trying to write and trying to connect, I have a game of Tumblebugs going, the better to fend off mental block and the persistent ticking of the clock.

Three weeks ago, I was waiting for a plane that never landed. Despite the oppressive heat all over the country, it was pouring in Legazpi. It was impossible to land just yet, Cebu Pacific said, so we were advised to wait, wait and wait. Cupfuls of coffee later, we were told that we would know for sure at around 11. To ward off the time, we crossed over to the Parks and Wildlife, took a few pictures and waited out the rain. The plane did arrive, but without Weird Sister—who, after hours of waiting in line, was told that Cebu Pacific just had to accommodate this senatoriable and party.

Come to think of it, I have been spending most of my life in transit, in lobbies and waiting rooms, in lines and in coffee shops. Waiting for lab results, standing in line at the counter, in the polling precinct, for a particularly good movie. Waiting for my number to be called, for inspiration to hit, for the clouds to clear. Waiting for the last hour to finish a project, to get married, to have a baby.

Not that I mind waiting. There are so many things, so many distractions that make the wait worth it. Or bearable anyway. There are crossword puzzles and sudoku, games that I make up along the way, conversations with myself, with my ghosts, with real people. There are wonderful discoveries, belated joys, side trips.

The really happy man, they say, is one who enjoys the scenery while on a detour. I don’t profess to be the happiest person in the universe, but I do enjoy forks in the road. Life is so much better that way. In the end, it is the journey—and not the destination—that matters.

No comments: