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It seems that we spend a good portion of our lives waiting, don’t you think? Last month, most of us tuned in to the weather forecasts, anxiously awaiting hurricane Henri’s arrival. He was on track to pound the North Fork with a frightening show of strength.

Henri promised widespread property damage and flooding. Thank goodness he made a detour and his promises were not realized on the North Fork. Funny, though, some folks complained it was all media hype when Henri’s impact was weaker than expected. Were they disappointed?

Speaking of detours, I know folks who will consistently drive out of their way rather than wait in traffic. I suppose the sensation of moving dampens their annoyance. I wonder; however, do they save time?

Have you ever scanned the check-out lines in the supermarket to decipher which line is moving faster? Joining the faster line sometimes backfires when the “fast” line abruptly stops.

Craning our necks, we notice that a customer at the checkout is questioning a price. The moans and groans from those in line is audible when the cashier’s voice booms over the loudspeaker: “Price check.”

Back then, I was waiting with bated breath for an Elvis-look-alike to ask me to the prom. I kept the nice-enough preppy-guy’s offer at bay.

Finally one evening, the pseudo-Elvis called me and unceremoniously asked: ”So Cookie — I called myself Cookie, it sounded cooler than Celia — ya wanna go?”

“Go where?” replies coy Cookie.

“Where’d ya think, the drive in? The dance thing “

Counting to twenty, I casually answered “Maybe—okay—sure .”

The plan was for me to ride on the back of his Harley decked out in my prom gown.

When Mom got wind of this mode of transportation, she crushed my plans along with any future dates with pseudo-Elvis. Ah me. The agony of waiting in vain. I went to the prom with the nice-enough preppy guy.

Waiting is hard and can be overwhelming, especially when the outcome is unclear. A visit to a physician for an issue that requires further testing can send our imaginations into high gear. We conjure up, in living color, the worst possible scenario.

I can understand how tiring and difficult it is to find a job in one’s chosen field. It takes hours hunting for listings, researching companies or magazines, and customizing our resume or query letter to fit their criteria. After we submit our resume or query into the black hole of the Internet we anxiously wait. In this case no news is not usually good news.

There is nothing more nerve-wracking than waiting for a marriage proposal from the person we love. Many guys (or gals) wait for the right moment to declare their love and pop the question.

When said question is answered affirmatively, we envision the happily ever after. But hold on! I know a woman who prayed and prayed that her then boyfriend would propose; a few years later she prayed that her husband would leave.

The amount of time waiting for an event is often a matter of perception. Those women who are blessed with motherhood know that the ninth month of pregnancy feels longer than the previous eight months combined.

Painful waiting is emotionally and physically exhausting. If a loved-one is diagnosed with a terminal illness or a serious medical condition we wait for the negative eventuality or rejoice at the slightest improvement.

Painful waiting can go on for weeks, months or years. While life continues around us, we may function at a superficial level. Yet, just below the surface we may feel our lives are stalled in a holding pattern.

Congress set aside Sept. 11 “Patriot day” to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Twenty years have passed, yet most Americans can remember where they were or what they were doing when Al Qaeda carried out multiple attacks by crashing planes into the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

My brother-in-law, who worked at the World Trade Center was missing after the towers fell. The seven hours we waited to hear he was safe were torturous. I cannot imagine the anguish the families of the missing endured while awaiting the fate of their loved ones. Waiting took on a new and tragic meaning.

In his classic hit song “The Waiting” the late singer-musician Tom Petty wrote these words:

“The waiting is the hardest part, every day you get one more card, you take it on faith, you take it to the heart, the waiting is the hardest part.”

Folks, waiting is a fact of life and for a person like myself, who is short on patience, it is difficult indeed. Sometimes waiting results in little consequence, other times the stakes are high. So why not make the best of things? Learning to tolerate the discomfort of waiting with patience and grace, is a virtue that is undervalued.

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Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.