Last Thursday, I found myself in a 90-minute line to see my obstetrician. My high school best friend was in the area and she volunteered to accompany me while I waited for my turn. Neither of us knew much about it but we were more than willing to endure the long wait as it gave us all the time we needed to catch up on each other’s lives. I actually did not realize I sat in that long line for almost two hours until I saw the wall clock inside the doctor’s clinic when they finally called my name. I shook my head in disbelief and silently thanked the heavens for sending my best friend right when I needed her the most. Because without her, I might have marched out of that line and went straight to emergency where a doctor is almost always available to see you — no way I am waiting for anybody for 90 minutes!
How many times have we been told to please wait, please hold, be patient, hold on just a little while longer? And just how many times did we agree to do just that… sit still and wait? I don’t remember the last time I agreed to a fast-food cashier’s “Willing to wait, Ma’am?” for my fried chicken meal. In fact, every time I am asked if I am willing to wait, my quickest and most honest answer would often be, no.
So what exactly will I be willing to wait in line for, and how long? I did a quick research on stuff that ordinary, impatient people like me hate waiting for – and how long we will actually wait for these things before we start growing fangs and talons (haha!) – and the list did not surprise me at all.
If you can compare your patience to a frayed rope hoisting a piano from the ground floor to the eighth floor of a building, then this article is for you. Enjoy!
- A car in front of you when the light turns green – 50 seconds.
Really? It honestly feels more like 10 (or maybe even less!), especially here in Manila where red lights are more like suggestions to stop rather than a stern order to completely stop, no matter what.
- People talking in a movie – 1 minute, 52 seconds.
Why people even do this is beyond me. If you wanted to talk, then go to a café or a restaurant – not in a theater where people paid to see a movie they wish to process on their own.
In my personal experience, a neighbor in a movie theater need not even start talking to rile me. All they have to do is activate their mobile phones and flood my peripheral vision with the white light from their phone’s screen and it’s, well, you could say showtime.
3. Babies crying their eyes out in public places (like a plane, or in church) – 2 minutes, 41 seconds.
I don’t have kids but I know how difficult it is to quiet down a baby that couldn’t articulate what it wants or needs, or both. I could probably give parents all the time they need to get their babies to stop crying and kicking.
I have never given a parent a dirty look just because his baby’s cries are starting to get on my nerves. I just think it’s the last thing every exasperated parent needs.
- Waiting at the doctor’s office – 32 minutes.
Was it wrong for me to feel like I’ve been somewhat cheated when I realized that it took all of 90 long and precious minutes before my doctor could see me? I guess not.
- Waiting for the boyfriend/girlfriend to get ready – 21 minutes.
Papunta ka pa lang, nakaligo na ako.
I guess this is rather subjective since our level of love and understanding for our significant others vary. 21 minutes, though, is long enough for someone to get him or herself ready for a dinner or movie date. Otherwise, we’re staying in or breaking up.
- Transacting at a government office – 30 minutes
I think Pinoys are wired to agree to wait when he knows he is dealing with a government agency (or with government employees). With all the red tape going on in these offices (that they, of course, vehemently deny), it is impossible to get anything done in under 30 minutes.
Getting a copy of your birth certificate at PSA? Half-day, give or take.
Applying for a student permit or driver’s license at the LTO? Not sure, but better pack your lunch and a good book.
Renewing your business permit at the DTI (or their satellite offices)? Be at their satellite offices (usually in malls) at the crack of dawn and make sure you have all the necessary documents otherwise, you go back to the end of the line to wait today, tomorrow, and for all eternity.
- Traffic – who knows?
Maybe I should ask you, what was the longest time you had to sit helplessly in traffic?
I guess there really isn’t much you can do when you find yourself right smack in the middle of slow-moving vehicles in EDSA or worse, at a complete stop in some side street that was supposed to take you to work faster.
The secret is simple: leave early. Whether you’re driving your own car or taking public transport, allow, at best, two hours for travel and traffic; four at worst.
And then again, you can move to a remote province or go abroad to countries like Canada where they need more people to occupy their idle spaces. Haha.
So what would you wait in line for, and for how long? We’d love to know.