It took me a looong time to recognize the double entendre in the name of the Ryan Reynolds movie “Waiting.” Like (probably?) most people, I didn’t take time to dissect the theme or any motifs of this particular flick, and instead just spent most of the 94 minutes alternating between gagging and rolling my eyes.
But, of course, the “waiting” of the title is of the deeper, more melancholy variety. This motley crew of ragamuffin restaurant grunts are basically floating along on an existential undercurrent of ennui. Just what, exactly are they waiting for? And what’s stopping them from taking a step forward to get it?
Steve Dublanica describes this inner battle beautifully in Waiter Rant.* The hours suck, the customers suck, the job sucks, but the pay is fucking fantastic. We’re addicted to the money, he writes, and the pull of going on to bigger and better (or just different) things is often no match for making several hundred dollars in just two weekend shifts.
While I’m sure there are no comparative literature dissertations that discuss the parallels of, say, Waiting for Godot and “Waiting,” the absurdity, dry humor and slight twinge of desperation are strikingly similar. I know this because I’m there. Right now. Living it.
I realized yesterday, with a sort of stunning forcefulness, that I am biding my time. I see everything that I’m doing now: where I live, where I work, what I do with my days off, as some kind of prelude to Something Else. The huge problem is, I don’t know what that Something Else is. I haven’t got a clue. Like, at all. There is no Clear Picture in my head of what I’m doing next, just that I won’t be doing this – any of this – forever.
This mild panic attack was followed by a stern talking-to from one side of my brain to the other: What, exactly, am I waiting for? And what the fuck is stopping me from getting it?
I have no idea.
*P.S. You should read this book. I will lend you my copy.
I feel you.