Maybe I expect too much from others. Maybe I’m having trouble focusing on my own tasks at-hand and am subconsciously seeking diversions. Maybe I’m too hyper and just need to chill out.
Whatever the case, I sure seem to spend way too much of my time waiting for other people.
I arrive early for an appointment, and I wait. I send a text and I wait. I spend five minutes navigating through an automated phone tree, only to get put on hold. And be forced to listen to the crappiest music loops ever created. And wait. I submit an invoice and I wait. I apply for a job and I wait. And wait. And wait. What’s going on here?? Anyone remember The Golden Rule?
All I know is waiting brings out the worst in me. When I send a text and don’t hear back within, say, half an hour, I start to wonder. Did I say something wrong? Did I piss you off? After about an hour, I begin to worry. Is something wrong? Are you okay?? Were you in an accident??
Did you even get my message at all? Did my email end up in your SPAM folder? Should I try to contact you again? Or would that be too pushy? How long should I wait?? (God, I hate this!!)
And all that to say that I still haven’t gotten an answer to what I’d inquired about in the first place!
Now, I take pride in responding quickly whenever you email, text, or leave me a voicemail. I believe it shows you that I’m considerate, courteous, respectful, on the ball… That I give a damn. Can’t I expect the same from you? Is this too much to ask?
What am I supposed to make of your radio silence? That I’m not important enough in your book to deserve a reasonably timely response? That you’re way too busy doing something far more important than maintaining a relationship with me? That you don’t give a damn?
After a while of wondering and worrying, I start to get mad. I can’t ignore it when I feel I’m being dissed. I have a hard time concentrating. Worse yet, some days, there are two or even three of you I’m simultaneously waiting to hear back from. Seriously folks?? At that point, I start feeling depressed and fantasize about going off the grid, rejecting humanity. Bye!
Working at home, all by myself all day as I do, this kind of negative feedback loop can really get me down. Sometimes, it feels like I’m literally invisible. Nobody knows I even exist. I’m in my own little isolated corner of this big vast world. Everybody is breakneck busy doing important things, and here I am, like a Who in Whoville, shouting, “I am here, I am here, I AM HERE!” Still nothing.
It’s magnified 1000x when the people I care about most are also apparently too busy to get back to me: i.e., my oldest friends, my family, my kids, even my wife. Then I really feel like a worthless, needy schmuck. I realize that everybody is just too busy these days, but when even you guys can’t get back to me within a couple of hours…? You’re killing me!!
And then I feel like the biggest schmuck of all when they finally do get back, sincerely sorry and all apologetic, and with some really good reason for the delay. Then all is well, right? Except… Wow, how much lower could I possibly feel? Now I’m a total wreck!!
Whew. Bet you had no idea about all this, did you? See the kind of chaos you can cause by not getting back to people in a timely way? Well, I thought you oughta know. Please don’t let it happen again, okay? Thanks.
Someday we’ll rise above all the nonsense of this world. Someday, it’s all gonna seem absurd. Someday, we’ll have the means to completely disappear off the grid. Someday, we’re never going to look back. Ah, Someday…