Verbs, more interesting than you thought.

(look at those fancy graphics!)

I don’t think I need to tell you where I am right now.  You can probably guess based on the fact that I’m here every Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Chicago city streets are a busy place around 8:30 in the morning, which isn’t a surprise at all, really.  That’s also the time when I need to cross to get to my java.  Some Chicagoans (or North Parkers who are basically Chicagoans) are totally comfortable with crossing right in front of a moving car.  I haven’t gotten to that level of comfort yet.  (This is the part where my parents heave a sigh of relief that I won’t be run over any time soon.) No, I usually wait until both of the traffic lights at the end of the block are red so that no cars are coming for at least 5 seconds.  Then I scurry across.

Or I wait until some bold Chicago businessman steps directly out into the crosswalk and puts his hand up in a signal to the car to stop.  Then I just scurry across the street while he walks confidently across.

Either way, I’m scurrying.  It’s different when there’s a walk sign… obviously.

There’s a waiting process involved either way, for me.  I either wait for the breakthrough or for the walk sign.  In this case, waiting is good.  Walking on my own timing could likely end up in a transformation into road pizza. (reference to the Amber Brown books… one of those childhood books references that I think of every time I talk about getting hit by a car or taking a double decker bus)

So, now to the thought of the past few days: is waiting an action or a state of being?  Even if you aren’t a grammar nerd, this is important.  In fifth grade, we learned all of the state of being verbs, to the tune of “Let’s Go Band.”  And I still remember them, thanks to my great fifth grade teacher’s persistence in repetition.  It really has been helpful.  (And we learned all the prepositions.  I’ll recite them on request. Or the helping verbs.  Or the Gettysburg Address.)  “Wait” wasn’t included in those, but I think it could be a state of being.

If I’m sitting on a bench outside of this building, waiting for the bus, and someone comes up to ask me what I’m doing, am I waiting?  Or am I sitting?  What would waiting look like if it’s an action?  Isn’t waiting sort of the opposite of doing?

Does waiting have an action associated with it?  Or is it just the absence of action?  Is simply “waiting” enough, or does one have to be doing a real action while one waits?

And while we’re on the topic, do you have to know what you’re waiting for to be waiting? Can you just be waiting for whatever is coming next?

Who knew one word could bring up so many questions.


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