This was written for the January 2013 edition of Pagan Edge. The theme was awaiting to arrive, and anticipation. The meta-theme was the cycle of life and was meant to be carried through that entire year of editions from birth to eventually death. I tried to figure out what would be a good example of waiting to get somewhere, and sort of a pre-beginning, if that makes sense (it did to me anyway). So here’s the result.
“Don’t Wait For It”
“Well, Jake, what are you waiting for?”
Jake blinked slowly and turned his attention to the bartender. “What?” he asked, having to raise his voice slightly over the noise in the sports bar.
“Man, I know you haven’t had that much yet. I asked, what are you waiting for?”
Jake sighed. “I don’t know. Every single day it’s the same thing. I wake up, I go to work, I stare at a computer for nine hours, I go to the gym, I go home, I warm up a frozen dinner and watch TV until I go to sleep. On weekends, I come in here and watch the game for nine hours. Every week is exactly the same as the week before and nothing changes and here I am. Give me another.”
“I was just asking about the Bowl Games pool,” the bartender said. “The pool closes tomorrow and you still haven’t paid in.”
“It doesn’t matter. I never win.”
“You pick bad teams, man.”
“Same thing, again and again and again.”
The bar erupted in cheers but Jake didn’t seem to hear them.
“Listen, man, you’ve been coming here a long time.”
“Tell me about it, Dennis.”
“And you always sit at the same stool and you always order the same thing. So how come? How come you don’t do something different? I’m not saying go to another bar, of course.”
Jake smiled weakly.
“But you never take a vacation. You never take sick days. Sometimes you talk to the other guys, sometimes you don’t. You never bring a buddy in here.”
He shrugged. “Well, I don’t really have a lot in common with my co-workers.”
“So all you do is watch sports in my bar?”
“Pretty much,” he said, taking a big gulp. “Since I got this lousy job. It pays the bills but it is so boring.”
Dennis shook his head. “You need to get your head out of your glass. Sure, times are rough, but there’s other jobs. There are places to go. Heck, if you want to start small, how about trying some of the seasonals on tap?”
“You were this close to making me feel better,” Jake said wryly.
“I’m serious, man. You’re moping. I don’t like it. My customers don’t like it. You can’t wait for life to happen. You have to make it happen.”
“It’s not that easy,” Jake sighed.
“Sure it is.” Dennis gestured for a server to come to the bar. He set a glass of beer on the tray and sent the server to a small table where a woman was sitting all by herself. When she looked up at the bartender, clearly puzzled, he pointed at Jake. She smiled and accepted the glass.
“Hey, what was that?” Jake asked.
“That woman has been in here the past three weeks and she’s always alone and she’s always looking at you. You’ve just been so busy moping into your beer you didn’t notice. So now she thinks you bought her a drink.”
“She took it. That’s a good sign.”
“Damn it, you can’t just do that,” Jake snapped.
“Hey, you’re the one waiting for life to happen. There you go. It’s happening. Now go talk to her before she realizes what a loser you are,” Dennis said, mostly good-naturedly.
Jake was angry, but then he realized the bartender had probably done him a favor. “Alright, you win.”
“Good luck. And ask her if she wants to join the Bowl Games pool.”
Jake rolled his eyes and walked over to the woman’s table. She smiled, and he sat down.