What ever happened to the lost art of waiting?
I’m not entirely sure there really was a definable “art,” but I am sure some of you majored in it at UC Santa Cruz. Waiting seems tolerable now that we have our only true friend and constant companion known as our iPhones. Remember how we used to hate the lines at the DMV or for that movie premiere? Well now you can simultaneously bitch about it on Facebook, try to get a reservation at Mozza, and ironically text your friend colloquial atrocities like “c u at da bar.” Some of us even go as far as to stand outside of an establishment looking at our phone faking text messages until our company arrives. In the existential sense, no one really likes to be alone, but is it really all that bad?
Here are a couple things you can do while sitting alone at a bar waiting for your roommate, blind date, or Craig’s List sofa purchaser:
Eavesdrop on all the conversations around you.
Chances are they’re pretty mundane but it’s fun to fill in the blanks and gaps in conversation. Think of it like writing funny captions on pictures you see on the internet. Most people in public will tend to censor their conversation (the exact opposite etiquette of those in a taxi) for fear of judgment, so make up your own novella to spice things up a bit. That guy is sleeping with that guy even though his girl doesn’t know she’s pregnant and there’s some sort of feud going on about a pineapple that ties the whole thing together. The better the story in your mind the more entertained you’ll be.
Make a farfetched To-Do list for the weekend.
- Milk a unicorn
- Base jump from Rockefeller Center
- Ride an elephant in India
- Sucker punch a clown while doing spoken word in the park
- Parkour at the old folks home
- Make YouTube videos of you singing George Michael’s “Faith” in drag
- Buy stamps
Write a rap song.
Being part Caucasian myself, I’ve never written a rap song, but I imagine it’s as easy as rhyming and talking about the women you enjoy and the alcohol you pour on them. So try it. I’ll give you a couple starting points. Whiskey, Capri pants, and “nothing rhymes with orange.” If you can do it in Haiku form then major points for you. Look, you’ve achieved some creative writing while tapping your foot at a bar! You know what, baby? You deserve those French fries with garlic aioli. Aww, yeah.
Talk to someone.
Holy sh-t, remember when we used to have face-to-face communication with each other? You know, when you were able to read things like expressions and social cues? Well, we don’t do that anymore. What is this, 2007? The key to doing this has to do with your motives. When you go into a bar conversation with anyone, you have preface it with the thoughts “We are just two humans having a simple conversation.”
By doing that, you are actively easing your mind and, more importantly, your terrifying body language. Don’t over-think it. Then say something, anything, no matter how dumb it is. If they’re interested in chat they’ll bite, if not, you can quietly bow out. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Well, they can violently stab with the rusty fork they keep on the inside pocket of their cardigan, but you know what, then you can write a Haiku about it.