Hurry Up And Wait

man waiting in an airport terminal

The regulations and margins needed for air travel are there for a reason. I recognize that. But something so directly affected by weather is always a little unpredictable. And there always seems to be a ripple effect.

Our first flight was out of OKC and it was held up, naturally, by the late arrival of the plane on which we were to travel. That’s not altogether unusual, I suppose, but air travel, in general, is unusual to me. I generally fly once or twice a year, occasionally more.

But the connecting flight in Dallas was not being delayed. So it was tight. So, while we hurried into the airport and checked our bags and hurried through security and on to our gate, we still had to simply sit and wait our turn.

Hurry up and wait.

One of my goals for this trip was to spend a week without hurry. It was mostly successful, I believe. I don’t recall any time I felt rushed or hurried… after we made it to our gate on Monday morning. I take that back. When we landed in Dallas, we did have to hurry on to the next plane and barely had time for a bathroom stop. But we made it.

As it happened, as soon as our flight left Love Field, they closed the airport for weather concerns. So we dodged a bullet there. It wasn’t even a particularly bumpy flight out to Portland.

I don’t think we had to hurry the rest of the week. And it was glorious.

But, occasionally, we did have to wait.

We waited for the Riverfront Trolley. We waited for a dinner reservation a couple of times. We waited on food to be brought after placing our orders.

Waiting for Dinner with an ocean view!

But the most significant wait was when we sat in the car without moving for about 35-40 minutes. There was a car accident on the two-lane highway south of Astoria that backed up traffic for at least a mile in each direction.

The tragedy, of course, is that it would appear that two individuals were transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. I pray they are well.

But, as often happens, there is comedy amidst the tragedy.

As we were sitting in a long line of cars, we notice a few of the drivers in the line ahead of us actually step out of their vehicles and attempt to see around the curve ahead in hopes of seeing why we are stopped. Nothing particularly unusual about that, I realize.

Then a young woman in the car directly in front of us hops out of her car and crosses over to the shoulder and proceeds to try and find a spot off in the bushes in which to answer the… um, call of nature.

But the brush was rather thick and apparently rather impassible. So she shrugs her shoulders and proceeds to squat and tend to her business. And yet she is waving at the other person in her car even as she assumes the position. I suppose she noticed us laughing hysterically as well because she gave us a cheery wave as well.

Fortunately, dad had put the car in park and turned off the engine or we very well could have run off the road as he laughed uncontrollably for a couple of minutes—especially when she waved right at us.

She put everything back in place and proceeded back to her car and opened the driver’s door. Then she paused to look at her shoes as though she had miscalculated and made a slight mess. She shrugs again and jumps back into the car. Immediately the car starts up and she pulls out and makes a u-turn and heads back the way from which we had come.

She gave us another big, friendly, smiling wave as she started away.

I guess it reminds me that the urgency to hurry can come from just about anywhere.

Sometimes it comes from without… circumstances and expectations and demands that are placed upon us by others or that we have accepted from others. Other times, the urgency to hurry comes from within… our own physical or emotional needs, the expectations we place upon our selves, or even the ones we perceive from others.

All my life I’ve been asked to hurry along. I’ve always been slow. I used to think it was a curse, a weakness, even a character flaw. But I have come to recognize it as a gift.

The more I embrace and live in the rhythm that I was made for, the more I find myself willing to wait, resistant to hurry, and increasingly present and able to soak up the moment.

So… I’ll wait. You can hurry if you like. But, I would advise you to choose wisely where you decide to relieve yourself in the bushes.

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