Waiting is one of the most frustrating experiences in our lives. We wait on something every single day. We wait for the alarm to go off; we wait for the shower to free up; we wait for the coffee machine to finish brewing our morning starter fluid.
We wait for all sorts of things. We wait in traffic. We wait in airports. We wait for lunch. We wait in line. We wait in the movie theater. We wait for our prescriptions to be filled.
We wait, and wait, and wait.
Waiting determines our mood, and is determined by our mood.
Whenever I get stuck facing a long wait, I always focus on the acronym PEEL –– Patience, Expectation, Enthusiasm, Location.
Patience is the heart of waiting. We either display it, or we don’t. People who can bear up to the annoyance of waiting without complaint are said to be patient people. Patient people have a deeper respect for time than those of us who lose our patience, and get angry.
Expectation plays a big role in the waiting game. We expect to wait some places longer than others. Twenty minutes getting license plates really doesn’t set us on edge, because we expect to wait at the BMV. Wait twenty minutes in the fast food line when we are starving, however, and we are ready to hoist someone by the McNuggets.
Enthusiasm shortens the wait. Time seems to fly when we are excited. What may only be a handful of minutes seems like an eternity when sitting in the waiting room, next in line for a root canal. That same time screams by while waiting for a ride at Disney World with a bunch of happy, excited kids.
Location is a patience factor, too. Right now, I’m waiting to buy tires. A tire store is not a bad place to wait, but it would be a nightmare if you were allergic to petrochemical odors. A bakery would be a better example of a pleasant place to wait.
Personally, I don’t like to wait in line to check out at the grocery store. In fact, I’ve developed a whole algorithm for checking out of the building quickly, based on some seriously stereotypical observations:
Never stand in line behind senior citizens on Thursdays. They will slow you down counting out the exact change. It’s an effort to unload the coins cashed from their Social Security checks, which always arrive on Wednesdays.
Never choose a checkout with a male cashier. It’s a good bet he’s the store’s assistant manager filling in for someone on lunch. He has no idea how to run the cash register machine.
Never switch to a shorter line. The length of line is directly proportional to the amount of time before the cashier goes on break.
The biggest factor of all when facing a long wait is . . . Hold on! My car is finished!
I’m outta here, suckas! Time to “peel” out!
John O. Marlowe is a reporter, sports writer and award-winning columnist for The Paper.