The Wait

By in

Estragon: I can’t go on like this.
Vladimir: That’s what you think.

– Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

My first day of offset work – two more weeks of seven-day work weeks lay ahead – was marked by waiting for everything to be over.  I waited to get on the train, and I waited to get off the train.  I waited to write, and I wrote to wait out the time.  The line at the fastfood restaurant was quite long, so I had to wait; I ate my lunch to wait out the time.  It was an on-again, off-again deal of waiting.  And waiting.  And still waiting.  Perhaps Beckett meant for Vladimir and Estragon to wait for Godot for as long as it took.

Waiting… as long as it takes for the dead tree to grow leaves again.  Or perhaps as long as it takes for Lucky to realize that he’s not dumb.  Or perhaps as long as it takes for Pozzo to regain his sight.  Maybe Vladimir and Estragon will have to wait as long as it takes for Godot to finally arrive.  In my case, I couldn’t wait for all of this to be over.  I’m tired of waiting.

I’m tired of waiting for everything.

“Let’s go hang ourselves!” suggested Estragon in the play.  Life, I guess, is that transition point between birth and death; a stretched instant, a moment all too long and drawn out.  I’ve attempted to kill myself more times than I’m willing to count; I never really did seriously contemplate suicide, although I do a lot of things pretty darned close to it.  Living, for all it’s worth, is nothing more than the long, complicated process of killing yourself.

Life is a transition point, I guess.  We all wait for the inevitable.  We all expect something from all of this.  I guess that if you’re a writer, you really can’t wait for anything more than death; if you’re not Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, you wait for that moment where you’ll be read.  Where you’ll be understood.  Yet it’s almost certain; that only happens when you’re dead.  It’s almost certainly always the writer’s tale, the little fact of life that we all have to understand and live with.  You really can’t eat books or have much use for articles.

Excellence and skill have long been set aside in favor of expression and sensation.  That those are things that don’t matter anymore, that writing has become optional, pedestrian, and there’s not much use for doing things well and doing things the way you believe they’re supposed to be done.  It doesn’t really matter; you get sapped, you get drained, and you realize that everyone else has been succeeding at where you’ve been trying too hard and too much to succeed at.  Good things come to those who wait, I guess.  So if you wait long enough, you’ll have the best.  You don’t really have to work for it.  Let’s face it: those who work the hardest are those who end up the poorest and the sickest of them all.  There’s always that difference between office workers like me, and people who board buses to sell peanuts.

Really, I don’t know; whatever care I have left for those things are whims I’ve taken with me to the graveyard that is my life.  Whatever reward there is waits not for something to be committed to words, but when you yourself are.  Simply put: when you’re dead, and some schmuck out there “discovers” you, and all of a sudden you become an instant sensation with high school kids writing book reports.

Sometimes I ask myself if there’s anything to this world other than to lead a life for purposes of leaving behind a legacy.  I really don’t know.  The body is weak, and so is the spirit.  The mind is drained, as well.  How much longer could I go on?  That, I’m not for sure yet.  I don’t know if I’m sapped, if I’m burned out, or if I’m just depressed.

What I do know is that I’ll end up waiting.  I hope it’s all worth it.

5 comments on “The Wait”

    • Vin
    • April 20, 2009

    It is because of the materialism of the masses. To try to revolt from it is to refuse popularity. There is a difference in writing for man`s sake and writing for popular whim, and I myself prefer the former, even though no glory can be derived from it during my lifetime. But keep going, only time can redeem. Many men of letters have labored in the dark before they were read for the first time decades and centuries after their death.

    • bluezoe4
    • April 23, 2009

    All waiting is hoping. All life is waiting; thus hoping. Worth? It doesn’t matter during the end of one’s life, as if a terminus ad quiem that one dreams about. More of a terminus a quo, perhaps. All this figures in waiting as well. The hope that somehow, someone will see one’s worth in one’s waiting. I told a group of students once that the dash between the two years in one’s tombstone is what matters most. And the dash, is the waiting.

  1. Reply

    i was vladimir in the play back in college…our director’s take on this absurdist play is summed up in one of the words in your last sentence: hope ….he had newly sprouting leaves in one of the dead branches on fade out…

    • nikki
    • May 5, 2009

    “iving, for all it’s worth, is nothing more than the long, complicated process of killing yourself.”

    WORD. we all die anyway!

    • nikki
    • May 5, 2009

    i see the line of thought of j.d. salinger here 😉

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