18 March 2017

Retrospective

Ten years ago on March 18th 2007, I published the following blogpost which I titled "Waiting". I was of course much younger then. Our son and daughter were still living at home. The term "Brexit" did not exist. I was still slaving away as Head of English in a secondary school - like a hamster on a treadmill. Hull City fans were still only dreaming of Premier League status - never thinking it would happen. My mother was still alive and so was Shirley's.

Times change. Things move on.

I rather like the punchline of this post. The idea that what truly matters in life is activity - the doing, not the waiting. I seem to do a lot of waiting these days. Perhaps we can't avoid it. Perhaps a life that was all doing and no waiting would lack contemplation or comprehension. Anyway, I hadn't looked at this post for ten years until this morning. Time to share...

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Waiting
Sunday afternoon – waiting for Shirley to come home from her trip out to Lincolnshire to see her mother on Mothering Sunday. Saturday night – waiting for the lottery results to tell me I’m free, waiting for a pint of ale at The St Patrick’s Night Party. What party? And why did Guinness boast that they’d produced three million green badges specially - along with one million of those dumb felt Guinness hats. Would St Patrick have admired such pointless waste of Mother Earth’s resources.? If put side by side in a line - those badges would reach from our house seventy five miles – right out into the North Sea.

Waiting for the years to pass. Counting the years on your mortgage, the years to retirement. Waiting for the weeks to pass – till the next holiday, the next birthday, the next anniversary. Waiting.

At the football waiting for the bus to come, waiting for the players to come out and at half time , waiting for them to return and waiting for the goal that sometimes never comes. Waiting for a season when we shine. Waiting.

Lying in bed listening to the wind, thoughts swirling in your head as you wait for sleep to come. And at work waiting for the clock to tick on to lunchtime or to the end of the day. Waiting for Easter. Waiting for Christmas. Waiting for a parking place. And we have sayings – Guinness again – “Good things come to those who wait”, “Wait a minute”, “Wait a little bit longer”, “Waiting for Godot”. And we have waiters and waitresses, people who wait on us.

But the best of life is when we are not waiting but doing. Living the moment, happy in the here and now, not wishing our lives away and waiting for something else, something beyond this moment. I’m a waiter and that’s my tip of the day.

33 comments:

  1. Yorkshire Pudding, you sweetheart, I saw what you wrote on my storytelling profile. Thanks!

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  2. I hate waiting.... especially when you have to wait in for something... you know like a delivery of something that always comes first thing in the morning or last delivery of the day.... I hate waiting at someone else's behest.

    As for the Guinness hats and badges... it's a ritual for me... since a few years ago when I managed to drink 20 pints of Guinness and urinate in my sock drawer, I have always had a soft spot for those floppy felt things.

    I am just waiting for a phone call to find out whether I am helping Dawn's son, Tom, with his maths revision or not!!

    FoX

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  3. I, too, hate waiting. I am very impatient and want everything yesterday.

    But you do have to wait for a decent pint of Guinness to pour.

    I'm with you on the daft hats for St Patrick's Day - what were they all about??? They were selling them for £5 in the pub.

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  4. Well I don't drink anymore, but when I did Guinness wasn't my tipple of choice. But I always partook on Paddies Day. Not to toast St. Patrick, but for the 'free' gifts, and the, invariably, special knockdown prices. I hate St. Patricks Day. Not because I dislike the Irish, but because of all the blatantly non-Irish people who end up pissed singing the first couple of lines of the Irish Rover on the tube home. Ireland for the Irish I say, and that means no fucking English like me jumping on the bandwagon. Besides why do we need an Irish excuse to get drunk?
    (Though I did drink it once other than 17th March. It was a few years ago now. Hereford United were in their first year back in non-league, having been relegated to the Conference, & we [Dulwich Hamlet] got drawn away to them in the FA Trophy.[An FA Cup for non league teams] Their bar had a special offer of Guinness a pound a pint. I've never seen so many pints go down so many of our gullets so quickly!)

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  5. It's taken me years to realise that living in the present is far more profitable than living in the future and worrying about things that might not happen anyway. Be Gestalt - live phenomenologically. ;)

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  6. ah yes, the I and thou in the here and now, damn that Atheoretical Experientialism, sigh

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  7. Blimey YP! I was getting so depressed reading this - I was waiting for the end! Thankfully it came with a silver lining..

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  8. You weren't 'much' younger then. You were just younger. You will have to wait quite a while to have been 'much younger'.

    I know that this sounds a bit (not quite pompous but I can't think of the correct word) but I was told as a child never to waste my time waiting but to live for the moment and just do it. I think it stemmed from an incident when I said that I was bored. As a result even when I am waiting for something I try and occupy my time with something else so that waiting becomes secondary.

    Why are you doing so much waiting these days?

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    1. I don't know. It's just a feeling. Also for the past six weeks I have had this bad knee which has held me back.

      Isn't ten years back "much younger" Graham?

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    2. No, Neil, 10 years is only a decade and I've seen a lot of those! I couldn't run for 10 years because of my knee. I couldn't hike long distances either. I did other things so never noticed the inconvenience of my knee. Now I have a new one I probably could walk long distances again (so far as my knee is concerned) but I'm too occupied with other things. I'm sure if you thought about it you wouldn't be waiting for anything as a primary occupation. When you get your new knee you'll then be wondering why you hadn't got time to paint.

      PS. Can you please drop me an email sometime to gbe.eagleton which is a gmail address.

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  9. And still we wait for Godot to arrive! One would think we would've realised by now that he's not coming!!!

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    1. “We always find something, eh Didi, to let us think we exist?”

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    2. "Waiting for Godot" was a play we put on years ago when I was a teenager and a member of Gympie's Drama Group...way back in 1963!! Another one we did was Jean-Paul Sartre's "In Camera". When I think about that time...we did many plays of varying genres. The "kitchen sink" dramas had hit the stages and screens around then, too...so we dabbled in a couple of those two.

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    3. "Waiting for Godot" is an acquired taste. Plays about nothing don't appeal to everyone.

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    4. "Seinfeld" was a show about nothing and it appealed to millions...including me! :)

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  10. I've spent a lot of years doing nothing but wait. These days, I wait professionally. When I support a pregnant/ birthing woman it is my job to patiently wait for labour and thereby help the mother to do the same. In labour I wait for the labour to take it's course and the baby to arrive. My patience reduces impatience and potential fear or panic in the people around.

    A lot of things have changed for you in ten years!

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    1. So in your case waiting is an important phase ahead of the activity.

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  11. I wish I could live more in the moment YP but I do still seem to be stuck in the 'waiting for' groove. I'm sorry you knee is playing you up so ...chin up.

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    1. I woke up in the early hours of Thursday thinking - I might have bone cancer! It's possible. I needed painkillers today and I am now moving much better than first thing. We are going to London on Thursday and you know how much walking that usually involves! I am anxious about it now.

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  12. Happy Blogiversary Mr. Pudding!

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    1. You misunderstand Jennifer. This blog began in June 2005 not in March 2007.

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  13. That was a classic post. You made us think about two ends. I think you have probably lived somewhere between these two extremes.

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    1. I guess the majority of us live that way Red - caught between action and procrastination.

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  14. I do like your conclusion. Time has been uppermost in my thoughts the past year, perhaps because, like you, I have been unable to walk without pain for a significant part of that year. It made me wonder if that was the beginning of the end, the decline to the nursing home. It's a depressing thought. I hope your knee pain is resolved somehow, and soon. And I don't mean to have made things worse; just saying I understand.

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    1. Yes but you DO understand Jenny. I know you have known the companionship of pain and physical discomfort - gnawing away at who you really are.

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  15. I started blogging 2006 ELEVEN YEARS AGO, !
    Fucking hell!

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    1. Twelve years for me. It's hard to believe it was so long ago.

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  16. When I was a child, I waited. Now, I'm trying to grasp each moment and slow it down. Seems like the hours fly by so fast I can't catch up. A bit of waiting might be a good thing.

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    1. With all your craft work, animal and family duties up on your farm I bet there are days when you need more that 24 hours.

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  17. Waiting and repetition - what a life! And a tip from a waiter - there's something I'd like to see in a restaurant some day.
    I might be waiting a long, long time.

    Oh for goodness sake! DO something about that knee; waiting won't make it any better.

    Alphie

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    1. Thank you for your input Sister Alphie and please may I have a bed bath? You are saying exactly what my wife and daughter were saying to me yesterday when the knee was at 7/10 on the pain scale. This morning it's at 1/10 on that scale but if it worsens today I will make the phone call tomorrow morning.

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  18. I'll wait, with patience, to hear all about your next adventures in London.

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    1. Limping around with my gammy knee and a parrot on my shoulder.

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