The Joy of Waiting
It seems that my car is often a catalyst for my thoughts. Not sure what it is, but whenever I'm driving or waiting for my car to be repaired, I begin to analyze my life - and I desperately want to write it all down. None of which is possible at these times, of course, but my mind seems to slow, clear and organize itself (without my permission) and I find myself eagerly looking forward to getting home, so that I can sort through the random debris of words, stories and ideas.
Years ago, we were in Maine on vacation, and I spent an afternoon driving around by myself. Hours of not knowing where I was going; turning the car around when I thought I was getting too lost, or deciding to follow a sign that might lead me to an interesting town or beautiful view. When I got home and told my friend, Alice, she just shrugged and said, "Of course you did - that's what you do when you need to think!". To her, she was stating the obvious, but to me it was something I was completely unaware of. I still think of that moment. She was exactly right.
So, as I sat waiting for my car to be repaired yesterday, I wasn't planning any soul-searching, but I do know that I was delighted to see a huge array of magazines on the table. That is rare nowadays (wow, I sound old) because everyone reads their phone while they wait. From the littlest to the oldest, we all clutch and curl up around our devices, keeping up with the world and connecting with friends and family.
I'm not saying it's a bad thing (I can often be found late at night scrolling through Facebook or playing a mindless word game on my phone) but just that it's different now, and many waiting rooms have all but done away with magazines.
So, I gave them the keys to my car, picked up a magazine and settled into my chair. It was Good Housekeeping, and I really wanted to see how to make the scrumptious-looking cake on the front cover. As I flipped through, looking for the recipe, I remembered how I would always read a magazine from beginning to end. I would never, ever go to my favorite article, or flip through to see the latest fashion trends. Part of it was about wanting to honor the writers and creative minds who spent their lives assembling this miniature book of art and information, but the other part was about me not wanting to miss a morsel of something wonderful! I would read it slowly and systematically, enjoying the process (and the surprises) that would arrive at the turn of each page.
As I read yesterday, there was something very calming and nostalgic about taking my time and letting the magazine show itself to me. It was actually quite refreshing to have no idea what was coming up next, and I think it forced my brain to slow down and enjoy the experience.
I found the cake recipe, finished the magazine, and picked up a Cosmopolitan. It had been years since I read one, and I have to confess that some of the slang (is it even called slang anymore?) was completely unknown to me, but it was amusing to see that even though the words had changed, the young women were still dealing with the same issues that had existed twenty years ago. Yes, they might be more dramatic and a bit (okay, a lot) extra in their delivery, but basically they are thinking about sex, money, fashion and beauty. Not too different really.
Now and again, I have to confess that I covered an image or headline so that the person sitting next to me didn't get offended, but from horoscopes to hormones, it was so much fun to escape and tap into their younger vibe (I might even have learned a thing or two!).
Just as I finished reading, my car was done, and the keys were waiting for me on the counter. The timing couldn't have been better - I put the magazines back, paid the bill, and started to drive home. My head was clear, I had a new cake recipe to try, and I had just enjoyed a blissful, one hour mini-break!