Posted tagged ‘waiting’

“I always thought it would be cool to go to the island of misfit toys.”

August 10, 2015

My alarm clock, one of the most jarring sounds in the world, woke me up today. I had to be out and about early as I was having my car serviced and wanted a bit of coffee time before I left. I had to be at the dealer a while, and as waiting is not my strong suit, I brought a book so the time went by quickly. On the way home I had to make a couple of stops, but I am now in the comfort of kith and kin.

The drive home gave me time to woolgather. A hula hoop came to mind, but I don’t know why because it wasn’t a favored toy as I was the worst hula hooper in the whole neighborhood. I just couldn’t keep it spinning more than a couple of times. A couple of show-offs could spin two at the same time, one around a waist and the other around an arm. I was impressed but pretended not to be. A Slinky also popped into my head. It was really a silly toy. You can make it jump from hand to hand or have it go down the steps. That was it for Slinky. After couple of times down the stairs, Slinky became boring. Besides, the metal easily bent or got connected one to another and then Slinky could do nothing. It was trash bin time.

Paper dolls were fun but were a lot of work. First I had to cut out the doll and all her paper clothes. That took some finesse as I had to be careful not to cut off the tabs which held the clothes on the paper doll. Kid scissors could never do the trick so I had to use my mother’s scissors. They were big and bulky so following the lines to cut took some effort. I played with the dolls as if they were people. I’d hold a doll in each hand and carry on conversations in different voices: high for girls, lower for boys. They’d have adventures for which I’d have to change their outfits. I remember the girls had mostly frilly dresses and sometimes a bathing suit, one piece of course. Props too were part of the outfits. At the beach we had a pail and shovel and a beach ball, both difficult to cut. My paper dolls always had names, but I don’t remember any of them.

I do remember the first electronic toy under the Christmas Tree. It was Battleship with sounds, and it was a gift to my father. He enjoyed playing it against me or my brother for a while but then it got put away in the toy closet down cellar, and, like the other toys in that closet, it seldom saw the light of day again.

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”

June 29, 2015

The morning is sweatshirt weather, cloudy, damp and chilly. Everything is still a bit wet. We need sun, and luckily, the weather report is hopeful: sun in the afternoon. I hope it’s right.

My neighbor and I chatted this morning, and I sat on the damp steps for so long I could get piles. Okay, I know that’s not true, but that’s what I used to hear: sitting on cold ground was never a good idea because it caused piles. It wasn’t until I was much older that I found out piles are better known as hemorrhoids. Their connection to damp concrete was just an old wife’s tale, a bit of a weird one I think.

I have a few errands for later but that’s it for the day. My back is feeling better so I don’t want to chance hurting it again by doing anything. It’s a great excuse to lie around and do nothing, as if I really needed an excuse.

Every now and then I lose a day. I find something to hold my attention and before I know it the day has gone to afternoon. Often it is a good book as I am always loath to put down a good book. Sometimes I sit on the deck, get drowsy and fall asleep on the lounge. When I wake up, the sun is lower in the sky.

I seldom check clocks and I don’t wear a watch. If I need to be somewhere, I leave early enough to get there. My bedroom has a clock because once in a while I need to set the alarm, usually to meet friends for breakfast. My den has the clock on the cable box. I check it to make sure to watch a particular TV program. I think this dislike of clocks and watches comes from my life having been driven by time. I had to get up in time to have breakfast and to walk to school, later to catch the bus to school. Ghana was where time was of the least importance, but I still needed to know when my class was starting, and I had to set the alarm to catch an early bus. Beyond those, time meant little. You waited until the lorry was filled before it could leave. Nobody knew how long that would take. People arrived whenever which was defined as Ghana time. I got used to that. I learned to wait, to while away the time.

When I got home, I was again ruled by clocks and watches. Wasting time was sinful. It was the alarm clock every morning and bells all through the day to start and stop classes. Buses and trains left on time.

Retirement is glorious as time is of little importance. I go to bed when I’m tired and wake up whenever. I list appointments on the desk calendar, the one with Jeopardy questions, the one my sister puts in my stocking every year. I don’t keep a daily calendar in my bag the way I used to when I worked. I am a lady of leisure who has no need to know the time.

“Even a snail will eventually reach its destination.”

February 2, 2013

I’m walking on sunshine! I slept through the night and for the second day in a row no mice graced my trap which will now be moved into the eaves to see if there are any left hiding from me, but I’m thinking no more midnight mouse runs for Gracie and me. I’m sure she’ll be disappointed.

In the Globe this morning was an article about the US becoming a nation of the perpetually impatient. People under 35 lead connected lives with”…a need for instant gratification.” Researchers found people can’t wait more than a few seconds for a video to load. Two seconds was the average. “After five seconds, the abandonment rate is 25%. When you get to 10 seconds, half are gone.”

I am guilt of impatience, but I have always been impatient even since I was a kid. I tapped silverware at the table and drove my mother crazy. At the subway station I leaned over the tracks to see if the train was coming. My mother always grabbed me back. If we were going somewhere, I was always the first one ready and expected we’d leave on time. That seldom happened, and I’d moan and groan and throw myself down on the couch in frustration. That went on my whole life until I went to Ghana.

Ghana runs on two-time tables: Ghanaian and European. If you were going somewhere with a Ghanaian and you were making plans, a given time always elicited the question, “Ghanaian or European time?” Ghanaian time mean anytime: an hour, two hours or even three hours after the planned time. European time meant the actual hour. I learned that 7 o’clock meant I didn’t even have to start getting dressed until 8 or even later. If I arrived by nine, I was probably early. Buses in the lorry park left when they were full. Sometimes that meant waiting hours. I’d sit under a tree and read. When I was hungry, I’d buy some donuts, one of all time favorite Ghanaian treats, or groundnuts or whatever the small girl was selling from the tray on her head. Impatience was wasted energy. It changed nothing.

The tailor promised my dress would be ready by Tuesday which became Wednesday when probably meant Saturday or not. I never got angry or annoyed. The tailor was just taking his time, his Ghanaian time.

Once I sat at the Yeji ferry site for four hours while we waited for some government higher up who wanted the ferry there when he arrived. I drank some water with floaties (we always bought the beer bottle filled with water which had the least amount of floaties), ate some plantain, took some pictures, sat on an overturned boat and read and watched all the people. Finally the guy came and we boarded the bus when was then loaded on the ferry. I wasn’t frustrated or impatient. I knew better.

When I came home, my lessons were, over time, unlearned. The bar was higher here. I expected people to be on time. I expected busses and planes to leave at their appointed hours. I got annoyed and frustrated when they didn’t.

When I went back to Ghana, I right away fell into Ghanaian time. The lessons I had learned way back were still ingrained. “Less tomorrow,” a Ghanaian would tell me. That always meant another day yet to be determined. I was only to happy to wait.


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