Archive

Reverie

Today I am waiting in for the broadband engineer to install our wifi. From the estimated 5 hour window I was quoted, he now has just 20% of his allotted time remaining before he becomes Officially Late.

As a freelance writer, I usually work from home, so it’s not like I’m losing out on any real income. On top of that, we’ve just moved house, so being at home is more exciting than usual. The novelty has not yet worn off having a new fridge to go through, a new dishwasher to empty and new windows to stare vacantly out of.

And yet, somehow, no matter how much I enjoy hanging out at home, the oppressive backdrop of Waiting For Someone makes it one of the most tedious ways to spend the day.

I’ve finished work now. I’ve catalogued some bits I’m planning to sell on eBay. I’ve tidied the kitchen. I’ve read a bit of my book. I’ve watched some TV. Finally, out of desperation, I have turned to my blog, because, despite not really having anything to write about today, it’s all I have left to do.

If I’d been able to leave the house I might’ve visited the local Sells-Everything shop to buy some bits for the house. Some oven cleaner, perhaps. I might even have stretched to cleaning the oven. Unlikely. But I might have done. It would’ve been nice to have the option.

But those potentialities are lost to me now – at least until tomorrow. The day is, essentially, written off. I’m luckier than most in that I’ve not had to miss any work. Last week I had to wait in for the dishwasher to be delivered. It came about 36 hours late. So that was 2 days I lost to the gods of logistics. What do you do if you’re actually supposed to go in to work? How sympathetic are bosses about this kind of dilemma?

What if I had to walk a dog or pick up some children? What if I had some other responsibilities that required further input than staring into a computer screen waiting for inspiration? Fortunately, I suppose, I don’t.

What’s the alternative, though? We discovered to our chagrin that it’s essentially impossible to buy something and pick it up yourself. Only the wonderful John Lewis and the hectic confusion that is Ikea allow this sort of thing. For anything else, there is just the interminable waiting.

When the Raspberry Pi was first introduced I thought it was a great idea. I mean, it was the start of people doing things for themselves. Computers would no longer come packaged and pre-assembled. You could make it yourself. You wouldn’t have to rely on delivery men or engineers or technical support to make it work.

Obviously, the technological-savvy among us have been living like this for years. The power and independence you possess when you learn to build your own computer or fix your own car is astounding.

But what about all the people you put out of a job every time you replace your own motherboard or MacGyver your own carburettor? I guess we might be more sympathetic towards them if they could manage to turn up on time.

The engineer has less than an hour now before his deadline arrives and he is sucked into the abyss of the evening. Will I have to wait for him again tomorrow?

After a while, you start to wonder if you’ve not somehow gone insane. Have you got the wrong day? Are you waiting in the wrong house? Have you fallen asleep and missed him? Has your brain somehow shut out the sound of him frantically knocking at the door? Is time standing still?

When will he come? It could be at any second. Is it now? Is it now? Is it now? Is it now? Is it now?

Constantly on the edge of your seat, determined not to miss it.

That terrible sinking feeling when you go to the front door to find the ‘I’m sorry, I missed you’ card.

I was definitely in. Did you knock? Did you? Really?

I’m not so sure.

[…]

I just checked. No card.

I wonder if Samuel Beckett was waiting for a delivery man when he wrote Waiting for Godot. There is something about this dragging, ponderous time that makes one begin to err on the existential.

I’ve just received a message saying he should be here in 10 minutes. Just in the nick of time! The languorous pendulum was slowing, the fuse was running short.

Now I have to make the effort to emerge from my day-long reverie and actually communicate with someone in the flesh. Sounds hard.

Is it now?

It is now.

Addendum: I feel bad now that he is here, because he is a very nice chap.