There is no bigger waste of time than waiting for something to come, especially when it doesn't. But even when it does. Because the more you want it, the more it consumes you to the exclusion of everything else.
I wasted three days of a winter break, not trying to get to New York City to see my daughter, but waiting to see if I would be able to try to go to see my daughter. The experience was absolute agony. I never did leave, and it wasn't until half of yesterday was over that I finally reached some peace about that.
First, I hesitated. Either from wisdom or fear, I started watching the Weather Channel, and they were bouncing around the Southeast, casting doom and gloom scenarios in every city where they had a person stationed. Had I left immediately, I might have made it, but then the first snows came. Paltry snows. That morning, I turned on the Weather Channel again, this time laughing at them, dubbing them "The Fear Channel" and laughing at the cities where they had forecast 1inch of ice and there was only 1/4 inch and they were praising the shift to sleet. I thought I saw a window during which I could get up there ahead of the storm, but as I took care of various business here, I saw that I couldn't outrun the storm, which took over Virginia. Then we went to the mall out of boredom and I made fun of the stores closing early when the roads were clear. Then the second snow came, all 8 wet, heavy inches of it. Then the power went out.
As I now managed my travel war on two fronts, I bounced between what was going on in New York, on the roads between, and back here in Tennessee where electricity eluded us. My wife told me to go. I was resolute that I would not leave until the power came back on.
I spent the entire next day doing almost nothing but waiting for the power to come on. Any minute, I thought. The sound of any heavy truck rumbling nearby meant rescue. It never did. We escaped to a bar for supper then slept in a 53- degree house.
Or didn't sleep. Each night I lay awake, waiting for what I wanted, which was, essentially, for the stars to align in my favor. I was certain it would happen.
The head games became enormous, ridiculous. I had it in my mind that cosmic forces, for reasons indecipherable to me, did not want me to go to New York City. I fumed, I raged, I cursed, I blamed. When really, a complex encounter between high and low pressure systems didn't have me in mind at all.
My practical, weather-watching elderly father could have told me days ago that I would not be making the trip or that to do so would be the epitome of foolishness.
Meanwhile, time passed. Wasted, bitter, futile time. I enjoyed nothing in the moment, none of the obvious pleasures of free days from work.
It is easy now, in my latent contentment, to verify my folly and to judge myself for what the rational mind knows is impractical. But I know myself. I know that I live on hope, on plans, on what has been, however random, an often-favorable ordering of circumstances, and so, I know that I will be in this place again, maybe soon, waiting for what could be at the expense of what is.