In elementary school, it took forever for the clock to say 3:30. I spent so much time staring at that clock that I often missed what the teacher was saying. “Betty! Pay attention in class”, were the words I remember best.

With today’s standards, I might have been diagnosed with some disorder with the word ‘attention’ in it.  Nevertheless, I always managed to have the answers to the questions and pass the tests.  One episode I remember well because it was in a geometry class. I was awakened from my reverie by the usual “Betty!” looked at the blackboard and answered the question that I had not heard.  That poor teacher was totally frustrated by his inability to catch me.

Yes, I still want to get everything done immediately. On January 1, I want to get my taxes done. Why don’t the institutions I use have my information ready? Why can’t they push a button and the year 2016’s results appear instantly in the form that the IRS wants?  Why do I have to wait?

Ask any of my kids and they will tell you “Mom wants it done NOW!”

A “waiting” memory that still pleases me:  Early one morning I received a phone call from my dentist’s office to ask me if I could come in 2 hours earlier than my appointment that day. It seems that HE wanted to leave early. I agreed and arrived at the newly appointed time. Guess how long I waited.  That’s right. I waited 2 hours until the time that I was originally scheduled.  I complained so loudly and persistently that the dentist came out to find out what was going on. I explained that I worked hourly part-time and could have earned money during those waiting hours. They deducted two hours of my pay rate from the dentist bill!  It made a big difference.

Now, on the other hand, my husband is an immensely patient man. Sometimes he regrets his patience and complains that his time has been stolen. He still remembers an episode from about 50 years ago when he went to a plumbing supply store. The elderly proprietor (probably younger than we are now) must have been lonely in the quiet store and started a lengthy story, which my husband was hesitant to interrupt.  He listened and listened until eventually the proprietor walked into his back room and disappeared. Our plumbing problem would have to wait for another day.

While waiting in grocery lines, waiting in doctor’s offices, waiting through TV commercials, waiting for election campaigns to end, waiting for ice cream to soften, waiting for coffee to cool, and even waiting to fall asleep, I get mentally itchy.  If only I could slow down maybe there would be less waiting. There have been a number of instances during which I had to wait so long for a train that I missed it.  What?  Yes, I started to read a book while waiting and lost all sense of time.

Not only do I have to wait, but also I must remain aware of my waiting. 

Betty Ago


Betty is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale entry fee communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.

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