Friday, May 26, 2017

The Indefinite Wait

I'm sitting in the airport in Sanya, waiting on an indefinitely delayed flight. It's made me think about so many other indefinite delays - dozens of bush taxi rides and buses with ever so much waiting with no end in sight. It makes me weirdly nostalgic for dust and heat and bumpy roads and greasy roadside meat with raw onions.

There's the Christmas 2007 break trip, where we took a bus that only made it to the Senegal border after all day, and that I had to insist to the driver that we were getting off. 

There's countless hours waiting on a green machine to fill up in Diboli, bush taxis to fill up in Tambacounda, Kidira, and even sometimes Dakar. 

There's being broken down in our own car, at the mercy of drunken mechanics on New Years Day and missionary friends to drive through the bush to tow us home.

The bush taxi gare in Dakar at Sapeurs Pomiers

The bus we rode on one leg of our trip to Timbuktu - why didn't I blog about that?
And so many more. I've waited indefinitely a lot in my life.

The indefinite wait - you enter a sort of timeless state. There's no end in sight, and the beginning seems so far away. Six - eight - ten hours slip by strangely unnoticed because there's no time to look forward to. It's weird to write of all those far away towns, literally half a world and a continent and a half away - and yet I'm experiencing the same waiting in this little airport in this country that is still so new and strange.

But waiting I know. 

As I write this the seniors - an odd group, if I'm being honest - are across the way, being kids in this moment of waiting. They're playing heads up, dancing to music, and spending time with each other. Looking back on this trip, I suspect this will be the story they remember, the one they'll retell. It will reach epic proportions, as it should - it will be the best kind of "remember when." 

I haven't really clicked with this group for various reasons - none of them bad, don't worry, but I wish them so very well. I wish them a hundred more "remember whens" and a memory of moments on the edge of childhood, of just being in a crowded little airport somewhere in China. Before taking that step into adulthood, before having a hundred waiting moments alone, I'm glad they've had these long hours together.


Seniors playing Heads Up with Terry, the other chaperone. Also that reddish blond haired person is not me. Just my doppleganger.
Okay, this is a step up from my bush taxi gare days - there is no Starbucks at the Sapeurs Pompier yet...

p.s. As I finish this post, our indefinite wait is supposed to end at 1:00 AM. Guys, that's only seven hours late. Don't be so melodramatic.