I spend a lot of my life waiting. When Ron and I were first married we worked together at the Los Angeles Times and rode to work together. I was always ready thirty minutes before he was - even with a girdle and pantyhose! He'd shout questions to me from the bedroom. "Did you give the cat water?" "Did you remember our lunches?" "Did you grab my camera?" Yes, yes, yes.
These days, I wait because the neuropathy has made him slower than a snail in molasses (it's okay - we both laugh about it) and because he doesn't get out much and loves words and artwork, he reads every flyer in every window on our walks, and every sign anywhere. When he's using the walker, I have to carry his cane, which has a sort of cudgel handle. The other morning, we were walking from the bank to the coffee house to have breakfast. I was a little behind him in the crosswalk to make sure no one runs over him, and a driver pulled up and leaned out his window to ask if I used the cane to beat him to keep him moving. Ha, ha.
I wait in the doctor's office, in the therapy office, in front of restrooms, while he talks to other Navy veterans who also wear caps with their ship's name on them so other veterans will stop them and ask when and where they served. Because I'm always worried about getting my daily writing quota done, I make a point of observing while I'm waiting. It helps me mellow out so Ron can enjoy his time out without me rushing him, and it makes me feel as though I'm working even if I'm not writing. Because our youngest grandchild is now a very mature eight, I love to watch children.
One of our favorite little haunts is a little vegan place run by a collective and in one corner is a little toy kitchen with benches for children to use while their parents linger over coffee. While waiting for Ron to come out of the restroom, I watched a little girl playing with the tiny stove. When she opened the oven, she found pots and pans in it - and a rubber dinosaur. She was first horrified, then took it out, salted it, and put it back in. That's going to be one resourceful woman.
After church, while Ron was talking to a friend, I observed a little girl about four in lavender tights and tutu, wearing a tiara. In one hand, she held a figure of Batman, and in the other, a cowboy. I suggested to her parents that she was a complex woman. They laughed and agreed that she was.
Near our home in a westerly direction (opposite from the walls with the roses and the dog that wants to kill us) is a neighborhood playground across the street from a daycare. Ron loves to stop and watch the children at play, but I can't stand it. That's why young people make good daycare staff. The children hang from the monkey bars, from the very top of the slide, and swing from one place to another without concern for life and limb. They go down the slide backwards or head first, and swing so high they should employ an air traffic controller. My nerves can't take it, so Ron tells me what they're doing and I take notes.
Where Ron has therapy, there's a seven-year-old girl who's there because every time she sits down to write, the hand holding the pencil begins to shake. Her mother has three other children who write and color easily, and she's very worried. The doctor believes it's something neurological, but has no answers yet. I'm praying that she has no such problems on the computer and becomes a romance writer.
Isn't it wonderful that everything and everyone in this world is so useful to those of us who can watch them and try to see their stories? I observe those children and wonder about the romantic moment that brought them about, and where their lives will take them. I pray that they're all as loved as they should be and that they will love in return. And that one day, the little girl with the shaky hand will watch other children from her perspective as an adult, and plot a story.