The Things for Which We'll Wait

Okay, I'll admit it: Even I vote in American Idol and Dancing with the Stars every now and then.

This week, spent a good twenty minute on the phone, trying to get through so I could vote for Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough. Unable to get through, I went ahead and voted online.

Yes, I was persistent. And for me and other fans of Jennifer and Derek, our persistence paid off.

But while many of us were willing to wait as long as it took to vote for Jennifer and Derek, or Kyle and Lacey, or That Other Couple, I wonder how many of us would have waited to vote in a 'real-world' election.

One of the few benefits of being unemployed is that if you have things to do and errands to run, you can do them during the day, while other people are at work. I've voted twelve times since I turned 18, for everything from President to School Board. Six of those times have been by absentee ballot, while the other six have been in person at a voting booth on Election Day. During each of those times I have either been unempoloyed or on summer break (and away from the job I had in college) - and what summer jobs I did manage to get, weren't during the day.

This has meant that whenever I have voted in person, I have done so during the afternoon, after the lunchtime rush and before the evening rush. Result? No waiting in line. Even this month, when I voted around 2PM on Election Day, only three of the five booths were in use when I got my ballot. On a general election day, when the weather was nice, I got to choose which of two voting booths I would use.

But here's the thing: While I haven't waited in any lines at the polling place, I would if I had to. Quite happily, in fact.

See, sometims, when we really, really, really want something, we'll be more than happy to wait as long as it takes. This morning, thousands of people lined up at shopping malls and other stores across America to get their hands on great 'doorbuster' deals. Almost a million people will stand for several hours, without food or bathroom breaks, to watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve. Many of us wait hours to get their hands on a newly released smartphone or video game, or for the premier of the latest movie in a popular franchise (i.e. Harry Potter or Twilight).

But at other times, when we really, really, really want something, most of us can't seem to wait. It's been nearly seven months since I graduated from college, yet so far, no full-time job - despite applying for countless jobs, making who-knows-how-many follow-up calls, having quite a few interviews. With student loan bills coming due soon, I am not all that patient. But other people are even less patient; I'm speaking of those who wish things would change faster than they have. Never mind that it took eight years for things to get this bad, and that this kind of change takes many years.

But sometimes, someone else can say something much better than I can. I'd like to direct your attention to this op-ed that appeared in the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun. It's by Louise Plachta, whose husband served eight years as president of my alma mater, Central Michigan University.

I am impressed that students would stage an all-night vigil to be the first to purchase "Call of Duty: Black Ops," as reported in Central Michigan University's school newspaper, and with the long lines of moviegoers who waited for hours outside and inside Celebration Cinema's theatre to be among the first to view the latest Harry Potter movie. What fortitude! What stamina! What excitement!

I don't remember ever waiting in line that long for anything and I don't have an issue with those who did and do. I just don't have the patience or desire to do so. I'd be thinking of all the other things I could be doing, i.e., sleeping. It's just that after reading those stories I thought of the long line that I encountered on a recent Saturday when Sacred Heart Church hosted the Compassionate Community Network's "Food Truck."

Hm. On the one hand, you have these people who will do anything to get their hands on a video game or a good seat in a movie theater. Then you have all these other people who will do anything to get their hands on... some food.

Paging Dr. Maslow, Dr. Abraham Maslow.

Hopefully by this time next year, I will have a well-paying job. And maybe I'll be one of those waiting in line at 5AM to get my hands on something.

But for now, I'm just glad I'm not waiting for the basic necessities of life.

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