We were waiting at the counter. Of the 4 employees behind it, 3 were engaged in some problem. The fourth was engaged with another couple, answering questions, making recommendations, carrying on leisurely.
I was pacing back and forth between the Problem-solvers and the Recommender. My internal dialogue was not the most sophisticated or generous.
Don’t you see me?
When is it my turn?
Why is this taking so long?
And, this was about butter and yogurt. Not life and death.
I am from New York. This was Philadelphia, not Zabar’s.
And, I realize, I am in a hurry wherever I am.
When I began Italian lessons last Fall, we were asked to introduce ourselves.
Mi chiamo Paulo. (My name is Paul.)
Habito a Jackson Heights. (I live in Jackson Heights.)
Mi piace cucinare. (I like to cook.)
Non mi piace aspettare. (I don’t like to wait.)
Ironically, I had been eagerly anticipating this long weekend away with my partner, so we could slow down. Walk. See wonderful art. Eat long, delicious meals. Sleep in.
And, we did.
And, yet, Saturday morning, as we lay in bed – a vast expanse of white, punctuated by soft hills of downy pillows, and overlaid with a sumptuous duvet – I found my mind running ahead into the day and all that it might hold. Then, I chose to remind myself that this particular moment – this anniversary morning – was what I had been waiting for. It was here. Now.
And, I was spending it like Monopoly money.
So, I stopped thinking.
I allowed my face to feel the cool of the pillow.
I invited my leg to put all its weight onto the mattress.
I listened to Alan’s breathing.
I was finally present.
No longer anxious.
Not wondering “when”?
And, I realized that “Now” is better than “When?” if I allow it to be.
“If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.”