There is one four-letter word that I have begun to loathe. I was never fond of it anyway, but in the last weeks I have grown to dislike it even more. The word is WAIT.
Even its letters spell trouble: W for wasted time, A for anxiety, I for growing irritability and, I am afraid, T for temper tantrums. Yes, it has been known to provoke those, too.
Of course I agree that there are pleasurable interpretations of the word. Children wait with anticipation for Christmas, and for other celebratory occasions. The birth of a baby is something for which we willingly, joyously wait (though perhaps not so much the mother in her 9th month plus two weeks). But wait has a difficult time proving itself to me. It reminds me of interminable hours at the airport awaiting delayed or cancelled planes. It evokes memories of lengthy waits at the dentist, the doctor and, worst of all… the DMV. And how could I forget the long hours—hours of clenched teeth and spiking blood pressure— spent waiting in vain for the repairman!
The sun shines brightly
The birds are singing with joy…
While I sit and fume!
Freely do I admit that patience is a virtue and that it is the least of my small store of virtues. And any tiny amount of patience I possess has run thin and jangly these days, for Brunhilde has returned! Anyone unfortunate enough to meet Brunhilde can never forget the large pothole that has reappeared at the end of our street. She began as a modest depression in the asphalt, and since no one checked her progress, she took courage and expanded. Now the thing is a good two feet in diameter and several inches deep. Since she is usually camouflaged by water or by dead leaves, Brunhilde gleefully dispenses flat tires, unhappy transitions, and injuries to unwary pedestrians.
We took action! As soon as Brunhilde began her career, we telephoned the DPW. A very nice lady there promised us that our problem would be dealt with. We believed. We had faith.
A week went by—two—then, three. Yesterday a telephone call left on the answering machine informed us that we had appealed to the wrong people. “We aren’t responsible for your road,” the voice informed us. “If you need service,” said the disembodied voice on the other end of the line, “You need to call this number.”
We phoned and were put on hold so that a cheery voice could ask us to please wait because our call was very important to them. When, after several tries and untold hours of waiting we were connected to an actual person, he explained why our original request had gone awry. “You called the city office,” we were told. “You don’t belong to the city.” Ah… say what? “Your area is part of the state and serviced by the state. Didn’t you know that?” A pause. “I’ll put you on the list.”
We didn’t dare ask how long the list was, but one thing’s certain….it’s going to require a wait. Brunhilde is pretty happy about it.
Gingerly we tread
Around the cavernous maw
Of huge Brunhilde.