[T]his whole time,
which to us seems so long while it is rolling along, is really a moment [punctum].
Whatever has an end is not long.
Augustine, Ennarationes in Psalmos
And since it seems
a time for waiting [aspettare] . . . All our troubles, if we carefully
seek out their source, derive in some way from not knowing how to make a proper
use of time.
– Dante, Convivio
Wait. I can’t wait. Thank you for waiting.
The common experience and concept of waiting falls on its sense of being something
that you, oneself, must undergo. The gravity of waiting (the wait of being) presents
itself as something to be borne, undergone, avoided or endured. Whatever or
whoever one waits for, however patiently or impatiently, selfishly or
unselfishly, purely or impurely, it is hard to shake the feeling that it is I
who waits, on behalf of me, for myself. Yes, we wait for, with, and are asked/made
to wait by, others, but it seems that it is always we who wait, the ones
waiting. There is a good dose of pretense, dishonesty, and perverse pleasure in
the weight of waiting—performance of imposition, fear of silence and/or time,
refusal of self-reliance, need for attention/distraction, resentment and
restlessness of all kinds. Why can you just wait? And there is also space for
joy, as when what is waited for is so great that you might be in heaven waiting
forever. But whether you cannot stand waiting or are too happy to, one is still
waiting. There seems no way around it. And yet . . .
I would like something
different, a kind or degree or waiting that starts by escaping the boring/excited
me-ness of waiting, an order of waiting that offers at once the best and the
worst way to wait, as per the three-fold meaning of my title, which carries: a)
the flat sense of superadded waiting, waiting only to wait more, where to refers
infinitively to the activity one is waiting for; b) the intensive sense of
waiting as means of its own end, where to signifies the instrumentality
of action (in order to, so as to); and c) the paradoxical sense of waiting that
does not wait at all precisely by deferring or postponing it, that waits to wait,
waiting yet not yet. Waiting to wait in this triple way is conceivable as a
form of eternal waiting, keeping in mind the word’s double reference to
the timeless and the sempiternal, now and forever. Tying together, like head
and tail of the ouroboros, a waiting that never ends and a waiting that never
begins, eternal waiting unites the opposite senses of waiting to wait
around the middle sense of the present moment of waiting per se. As the
anagogic sense of medieval exegesis proverbially gives a ‘foretaste [praegustus]
of paradise’, finding in the suspended moment of reading the palpable
presence of a truth or reality that is non-futurally to come, so do I
anticipate this waiting to wait, not as something that need ever arrive
from anywhere else, but as the direct elevation of simple waiting, a flight of
the ground where waiting waits.