The Hardest Part

24 01 2008

From the sky, we must look like vibrations, the amaranthine humming of a glinting and undulating metropolis.

But on the ground, things are different. There are pauses, even pregnant ones, and longer ones still when you’re actually stuck behind pregnant people. Motion isn’t linear, nor is it constant. Rather, waiting is as big a part of city life as movement is. It’s truly in contrast to the feel of a city — everything going on, ambitions soaring, et cetera — but long periods of stagnation, physical or otherwise, take perhaps hours a day.

I’m wondering if more time is spent waiting in cities or suburbs now. In suburbs, we encounter things like traffic, a slower pace of things in general, maybe, but also less crowding, more room to move. In cities, the food and information fires quickly, but the lines are longer and the trains sit interminably.

I’d like to try something, if I have volunteers. I imagine that I spend at least an hour every day (1/24th of life) waiting idly for things to happen so I can move on. Now, we can fill this idleness with things like reading or playing Music Quiz on the iPod, but it’s waiting nonetheless — our life won’t continue until the waiting ends.

I’d like to have people who live in Boston, New York, the Midwest (Phoebe?), San Francisco, the Lehigh Valley of PA and a few other areas represented by the willing to make a rough calculation of their average wait-time during a workday. I’ll be forever indebted to you, and by ‘forever indebted,’ I mean the usual payment of a few rounds of beers.

Waiting offers so much — chances for reflection, for absorption of material, for judgement of other people’s haircuts. I’m trying to find out who gets to make the most of this wonderful opportunity (or something like that).

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2 responses

25 01 2008
Merv

I don’t have any moments when I wait during the workday. I’m always busy, or always procrastinating. I guess that’s because I work mainly by myself.

The only waiting time I experience is the five minutes it takes for the food truck to make my hamburger on my lunch break, which I fully optimize by smoking a cigarette whilst fighting off beggars.

26 01 2008
Weissmann

In an eight hour shift, I work roughly 80 mins. The other 400 I spend sitting, pondering, listening to music and waiting for my shift to end. I exist at my job simply to supervise and make sure nothing goes wrong…

Also, the South blows.

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