Freewriting: The Waiting Room

Lauren was waiting. She was in the waiting room. But she had never been in a waiting room before and didn’t know what to do with herself.

This place, this waiting room, this room for waiting, was quite different from the other rooms she had known throughout her lifetime—bedrooms, living rooms, classrooms, even bathrooms. Those rooms were easy. She knew what to do in those rooms. But a waiting room? What does one do in a waiting room?

She had never really thought about it before but isn’t it odd, isn’t it just a little bit weird, that they have rooms, rooms all around the world, that are made just for waiting? Rooms that have no other purpose than to hold people while they stay in one place expecting? Or sitting, or pacing, or only shifting slightly. Only doing nothing really but waiting. The whole point was to remain inactive while anticipating something, some active something, to happen.  Lauren, thought it was ridiculous. She was probably right.

But still she waited. Waited in the room that was made just for her, just for her purpose. She sat in it and looked at its grey tile floors, pale eggshell-white walls, and blue plastic seats.

Yes blue, because blue is such a good color to wait in. It is a calming color, this blue. People see blue and they think of water or sky. Calm waters and calm skies. Blue is a part of these calm skies and waters because blue is the most prominent color in the spectrum of light. Its wavelengths are short. They are absorbed easily. They are radiated.  They make the blue sky which reflects itself on the blue waters.

Blue is also known is bleu.  And sometimes blau. And it is associated with sadness. Lauren found it odd then that it is also the color that makes people feel calm. Or perhaps, she thought, that isn’t odd at all. Perhaps it is the sadness that is calming. Perhaps the calm comes from the melancholy sensation that blue produces.

And yet, she remembered something else about blue—that, on average, people are more productive in blue rooms. And that people who work out in blue gyms can lift heavier weights than those who work out in gyms of other colors. People can also do other lesser-things better in blue. Like itch, or cry, or jump on one foot. They must sleep better in blue too since it’s the most popular bedroom color. Lauren supposed that most people could do a lot of things in blue. They could probably even wait in blue. Forever if they had to.

Personally, she did not like the color and the plastic seats were uncomfortable.

She would have left of course, but you can’t simply leave a waiting room. You don’t decide to get up and go. The room decides for you.

As Lauren found out that day, you can’t act in a waiting room. If you were an active, functioning, fully-operational, living , and moving person when you came into the room then the room would take that away from you the second you stepped into it. There are no choices to be made in a waiting room because the choice to stop the waiting or to continue it is not yours to make. And it was not Lauren’s either. She was in the waiting room because she had to be.

Once she entered the waiting room she was in room of non-action and non-things. And really, when she thought about it, it was a non-room. But there was no other place for her to go, nothing for her to do. Nothing she could do.  Nothing at all. Not one single thing.

Well, other then wait. But that didn’t count. Not for Lauren.

And thus the room. The non-room. The non-room for non-things. Non-things like Lauren. A great big room of non-ness and nothing.

It didn’t make for a very good story.


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