Saturday, September 3, 2011

Please Wait.

Waiting is awesome.

Wait. No.

I meant awful.

I don't know about you, but I've never seen anyone happy to be waiting for anything. Think of places you usually find people waiting.

Bus stops.
In front of their laptop after pressing F5.

In visual arts if you want to convey a person waiting, just have him looking pissed off and glancing at a time-keeping device of some kind.
Don't ask for the time from this person. He might let you know loudly that it's not time yet. There is still time to kill. And he has been waiting forever.


I remember one time I had to wait for my mom to pick me up from school. Being the anxious grade schooler I was, I'd never be able to just sit still in that one spot my mom told me to. Whaddya want, I was eight or something.

On that school there was this one-way stretch of road right out front where the buses and the cars and all manner of motorized CFC-coughing metal boxes would pass through, their respective drivers squinting for the correct brat to take home and wash.

Soon after the bell rings, I would start walking from one end where the huge gutter thing would be. This gutter place was also where the ice-cream man would park. Idk why he parked there. Senang nak buang sampah eskrem kot.

I'd then march all the way to the other side of the road where the school gates were. Once I reached the end of the road I'd then trek all the way back to the paddle pop guy. This allows me to scan the cars for my mom's. Even though I knew she'd only be coming from one side of the road, and it'd be easier for me to just stay put, I felt it'd be better for me to not listen to her and walk around back and forth like an idiot just in case.

Most days, she won't be too long. I had learnt to tell time a while before I started grade school and have deduced that she'd be there usually at around 8 minutes past 1, give or take.

Some days tho, she'd be a little late. During these days I'd get a little more anxious and start thinking of weird things that might've caused this lateness.

Did she get lost?
Did she forget to pick me up and drove straight home?
Did she have to work really late and had no way to tell me beforehand?
Did she already pick me up and I'm now sleeping in the car and this is all a dream?
Did I just step on a frog? Oh no it's that green popsicle wrapper. I just had one but maybe I'll buy another. I like popsicles.

I didn't have a very good attention span when I was eight.

Looking at the mess of cars as I paced back and forth would be a special kind of torture. All the sagas and wiras would suddenly look like my mom's. Every giant lady who walks up to a kid would be my mom picking up some smarter, better child to take home. Every yell calling out to a kid would be my mom's reassuring voice, telling me to "Cepatlah masuk kereta, yang ko berkawad kat situ buat ape?"

Slowly, one by one the cars would leave and the noise would quiet down. The ice-cream man takes a breather and sits down on his bike. The last of the school buses would lazily chug away out of sight. You could even see some of the teachers' cars drive off. The remaining kids would be lazily sauntering, tucking their shirts out of their pants, sitting on the grass, throwing rocks into the longkang.

These kids, in my head, were the forgotten. The kids their parents don't care to pick up early. The ones who can't care less if they get home. The kids who actually prefer being at school in their uniform compared to whatever unspeakable horrors waiting for them at home. Chores, maybe.

These kids would be hanging out with each other, accepting their fate. Brought together through a sense of camaraderie from always having to stay in school just a little bit longer than the rest of their friends.

and then there's me.

I'd be apprehensive of talking to them and making friends. They seem to know each other already. The emptiness of the school seemed to magnify the fun they're having by themselves and I didn't have the confidence to try and join in on that.

This one day I had to stay at school until 2. I remember thinking how crazy that was. The minute hand went all the way back to where it was when the bell rang.

All the other always-leave-lates are off on one end of the school playing some loud game of pole-tag so I decided to sit at one of the empty benches in the school canteen, which now looks enormous without all the kids. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed this Chinese kid wearing glasses. He was sitting by himself too, so I thought I'd talk to the guy. Maybe we can start hanging out and play our own loud games. That'll teach those other kids.

I moved over to sit next to him. I noticed he was reading a catalog or pamphlet of some sort.

Me: Hai.

Glassesboy: Hai.

Me: Tak balik rumah lagi ke?

Glassesboy: Lama lagi. Ayah saya datang lambat sikit hari ni dia kata.

Me: Oh. Apa awak baca tu?

Glassesboy: Ni? Ni gambar mainan. "Toy-Res".
So we sat there and looked through the Toys'Я'Us catalog and talked about our favorite toys. It was then that a green Nissan Serena drove up to the front gate and honked. It was my dad. Turns out today my mom really did have to stay at work late and couldn't tell me. I hurriedly waved goodbye to my new friend and soon I was buckling up next to my dad.

Bapak: Muz borak pasal ape dengan kawan muz tu?

Me: Pasal mainan.

Bapak: Ha. Nak beli mainan lagi la tu. Kat rumah kan ada banyak mainan.

Me: Tapi kalau muz beli sendiri boleh kan?

Bapak: Tunggu raya nanti la bila ko ade duit.

I hate waiting.


  1. when i was 9, there was this one time my dad forgot to pick me up from school. i was in the afternoon session, so school ended around 6.30pm i think.

    usually i got picked up not too long after school was over, but that particular day, i sat on the pavement outside my school compound until it suddenly started to rain really heavily. it was then that i realised that all the other kids had gone home and i was completely alone, so i ran inside and waited under the bangsal where the school admins parked their car.

    nak dijadikan cerita, that very day i overheard some of my schoolmates telling ghosts stories about the school, and so of course i started to imagine all sorts of stuff. the atmosphere mmg mcm typical ghost story habis. it was pretty intense for a 9 year old chicken like me.

    le dad eventually came at almost 8pm i think. turns out he had a meeting and forgot that it was his turn to pick me up. haha. and there i was thinking i'd been too naughty and my parents didn't want me anymore. orz

    i don't think i cried while i was waiting because i was a tomboy (and tak macho la nangis kan) even tho i was actually really really scared, but i probably did cry in the car. can't remember. hahaha.

    but yeah, that moment of relief when someone still came for you when you've almost given up hoping... it's priceless.

    (sorry this is kinda long, but your story reminded me of mine, haha)

    1. awww that is so :'|

      your dad kena belanja aiskrim taw after accidentally letting that happen. it's the rules.