January 19, 2009
By Helen Baker, Oak Park, IL

Click, click, click, click. Is it going to stop? Why do they even have clocks with noise? They’re like a kitchen timer waiting to go off. The suspense is barely tolerable.

It’s more tolerable than waiting in the cold for a ride. Forgotten, and pushed aside; finally remembered and then delayed. Times like those it is especially lucky if you are without a click, click, click, click to remind you that while everything else is moving and things are happening, you’re not.

Kind of like that saying, hurry up and wait. If only we would know ahead of time that we were going to have to wait, that way we wouldn’t have to hurry up and we wouldn’t have to wait. Waiting isn’t always bad if you’re tired or calm, but it always seems to come at a time when stress and anxiety are the present emotions.

I slip on my headphones and exhale. Finally, I am free from the click, click, click, clicking of the clock. “I hate this song, why do I even have it on here?” I wonder to myself. I pull my icy hands from my pockets and search for something to fit my mood. Is there anything? No. Well maybe something to drown out my thoughts, something obnoxious and loud.

Looking around, seeing no one for the millionth time. Typical. Maybe I’ll call someone. I pull out my phone and look at the screen, no reception. I subconsciously start making a list of everything I need to be doing right now. Each word adding weight to my mood.

“Stop it,” I order myself. “Don’t think so much, just forget for a while,” I flip to a five minute meditation song, close my eyes, and focus on the gentle words and the soothing music. Calming images manage to free my mind for the time being.

As the music slowly comes to a halt, I open my eyes again. A car approaches, and I hope if it will turn in to the driveway. It doesn’t.

Six hours later silence and tension fill the car. “Can we stop for food,” I finally ask. It’s impossible to feel good when you haven’t eaten for twelve hours. There is a long pause and finally a response, “No, you know I really don’t feel like it now.”

“Where have I heard this before,” I wonder silently. Then I remember, this is what happens every time I am forced to request a ride. Month, after month. The talk radio in the car blares at an awful volume. My music is now gone, still somewhere but pushed away by the maddening voice on the radio.

I pick a new song, something upbeat and happy in a desperate attempt to make my mood match. I raise the volume to a level I’m sure will make me go deaf, so that I don’t have to listen to voices repeating themselves every ten minutes.

Most people would request the driver change the station, but I don’t. It’s useless, a waste of words because I already know the answer; it’s been the same for as long as I can remember.

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