Published on April 27th, 2017 | by Richard Black0
The Waiting Game
Being single never truly prepared me for the amount of time I would have to wait for my spouse or my daughter and that’s really saying something.
I’ve spent a fair amount of my life waiting.
As a boy I waited for my friends to come over and when we started fighting and throwing dirt clods at each other I waited for them to leave. I used to wait for my parents to come home and a few years later waited for them to leave so I could huff rubber cement and look at pornography. I recall waiting for puberty and then waiting for it to be over.
In my teens I waited for girls to notice me. In college I waited for the results of pregnancy tests. Come to think of it I waited for those results too as I was married.
In my twenties I waited to get a job and, upon being gainfully employed, waited for my brilliance to be noticed. I’d simply assumed that being a bright and good looking young man I’d be promoted to a Vice President of something or other after a few years. It didn’t happen and after some time I waited for the day I could retire or, at the very least, get fired and receive unemployment benefits.
I thought I was accustomed with the nuances of waiting and it turns out that I was horribly mistaken. I haven’t done the math but I’m fairly certain that most married men spend 60% of their lives waiting for their spouses to do…well something that usually involves shopping at retail outlets.
Part of my circumstance, my issue with waiting, may have something to do with my wife whom I love and adore but is about as aware of time as a rutabaga on acid. There isn’t a week that’s gone by since we’ve been married that Laura doesn’t give me a call to let me know that she’ll be “coming home soon”.
It took me a few years to understand that “soon” is a relative term when it comes to my wife and one I still have yet to adequately understand. Sometimes “soon” means thirty minutes. Sometimes “soon” means three hours and sometimes it means “I thoroughly intend on coming home as soon as possible but this thing came up and now I won’t make it out of the office until our daughter’s graduation.”
Laura puts in countless hours at work during the week and I can’t complain about her being late. Really I can’t. She is the breadwinner of our household and there are times when she is going to be late. My complaint however isn’t really with Laura’s late nights.
It’s the time over the weekend that is my bitch. I enjoy being with my wife and daughter over the weekends in what turns out to be a theoretical sort of way. I love my family but when I’m dragged to a craft or grocery store or even (and I shudder at writing this) a mall I know that I’m going to spend a good three hours waiting like some sucker who didn’t have the forethought to fake IBS to get out of shopping for children’s clothes or a couch.
A few months ago I found myself with my wife and daughter at IKEA and, at some point after wandering around the damn place for an eternity, I realized that I’d lost my wife. We set out to find a set of curtains for the living room but somewhere around kitchen utensils she was gone.
Four days later I called store security who found her dehydrated and maniacally sorting through a mountain of carpet remnants.
None of those experiences however has prepared me for the amount of waiting I’d do with my daughter. Take shoes for example. I’m fairly certain that I spend at least thirty hours a week waiting for my daughter to put on a pair of shoes and for the love of all that is holy don’t get me even started on socks.
I conservatively estimate that 70% of my time is spent waiting for Darcy. Combined with the time I spend on waiting for my wife to leave the house, shop for clothes, put on clothes (I could go on and on but you get the idea) I’m fairly certain that I spend 130% of my time waiting. The percentage defies the space time continuum but that’s how marriage and parenthood works apparently. I have the science to prove it. Einstein noted that time is a fluid concept particularly when a black hole or an outlet mall becomes involved.
Then again I’m not a scientist so I might be a bit confused on the subject.
As a result of all of my waiting I’ve become fairly proficient at the task. I’m even able to wait for multiple reasons at the same time. During the week while I wait for Darcy to finish up her tap dancing class I wait for the sweet release of death. While Darcy is at swimming lessons I often wait for my wife to decide what I’m going to make for dinner and then I wait for both of them to refuse to eat whatever I’ve made.
Laura’s offered to go shopping for something more suited to her palate but that’s just going to amount to more waiting. I could wait at home but I usually try to help in the hope that I can speed up the process at the store. More often than not it doesn’t work and I end up contributing to a long list of marital grievances.
The last time I let my wife go to the grocery store I lost track of her decided to go home to grab a nap. Some six hours later I headed back to find Laura weighing the nutritional merits of four different kinds of crackers. According the the staff she’d been stuck in the same aisle for an hour and a half.
In fact that’s where I am right now; waiting at the grocery store and for my wife and daughter. Odds are that’s where I’ll be for the next few days and, really, at any given moment for the next fifteen or so years so if you need me feel free to drop on by.