When one of my sons was about five, I was reheating something (probably macaroni and cheese…the one in the blue and yellow box because I didn’t yet know that it was terrible for humankind) and I had put it in the microwave . He stood in front of it, rather impatiently and pronounced loudly “MAKE IT GO FASTER!!!” I thought, at that moment, to myself “kiddo, if you only knew about waiting!”. I ruffled his curls (when I was still allowed to touch the curls, which are long gone) and just smiled in time for the dinger to ding. Another satisfied customer.
I remember being told to “hold your horses!”. Living in a city apartment in New York, did not give me much insight into what that might have meant, despite knowing the tone that whatever I was waiting for, anticipating, was not arriving on the Pony Express. Sometimes I was told “Pipe down and hold your horses!” and the emphatic way that it was suggested also gave way to learning that waiting was going to be hard, but necessary. Thinking back the expressions were so much more visual and vague at the same time, but gave pause, to ponder and imagine, having horses and holding them. It was the age of cowboys on television, ranches and the Old West. There was Wagon Train, the Rifleman and Gunsmoke. I wanted to visit Bonanza and meet Little Joe (heartthrob) and also meet Barbara Stanwyck and her Big Valley. I figured I could start the conversation about having the same first name despite the fact that I was so very shy and she was rather formidable. Some of the programs were on much too late for my bedtime and back then, you had to wait a week to see a show and if you missed it, well, you missed it. I’m not a big fan of television in its current iteration which feels at times, to me, like there is a lot to watch but nothing to see. Others, read my impatient son, would suggest that you can record it, find it, watch it and you don’t have to wait anymore, for just about anything.
Waiting is incredibly difficult, I would have to agree with that five year old. However, when you wait, you kind of imagine that you know how something is going to be, whether it has a taste or a texture, based on previous experience, or an outcome because it is familiar but is momentarily out of reach. So, you can be a bit patient, for a moment, until it finally is here. That is, if you are looking forward to whatever you want to actually arrive, having held those horses for just long enough.
Back in TVland time, we had a simple formula for predicting how things were going to work out. There was a bad guy (black hat) and a good guy (white hat). There were the strong women, e.g. Barbara Stanwick and the faithful ranch hands, and at the end, good triumphed, for another week. So, now I have to say, I don’t know the formula or recipe for what is happening now or in the not too distant future. We seem to be done waiting and now we are anticipating…..but it is not clear what that might be. Speculation is the word of the day. Now we have algorithms and trends, factors and insights (depending on who you are watching and who is saying what). We have enough data to choke a horse (those poor horses are really exposed to some very high stressors, if you ask me). But adding it up, figuring it out, based on what we have been waiting for or anticipating, is just another way of acknowledging that we sometimes don’t know what we don’t know. That’s about all I can accept at the moment.
My imagination likes to imagine destiny as a possibility. My reality looks a bit different. It would be easier to live in one place but we are old enough to know we live in the other. So now it is our responsibility to not wait, but anticipate, and be aware of what we are seeing and hearing. We can take nothing for granted. It’s not the Old West and we don’t wear the hats that identify what our roles are that will lead to resolutions and happy endings.
I found this wonderful saying by Will Rogers (if you have to ask who? Look it up and realized you are young and missed some good stuff)…..
“There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few that learn by observation. The rest of them have to peeon the electric fence.”
Giddyap….careful on those trails. It could be bumpy. Watch out for rattlers.