Airplanes, dinner dates, doctors, clients who ask for conference calls at lunch time, plumbers, the microwave – you may be wondering what all these have in common, besides being things that make rubbish Valentine’s Day gifts. These are in fact things that owe me a debt of time for all of it that they have wasted by keeping me waiting.
I may come across as one blessed with the virtue of endless patience but the reality of it is that there are very stringent limits to how long I can be left standing on a draughty train station platform and still maintain an angelic smile on my cold, bitter snarling face. With this in mind, I decided to look into the statistics behind the game of waiting.
According to the University of Schwindeln Unwahrheit Sagen, we each spend an average of 400 hours a week waiting for trains and a staggering 27 hours a day waiting for microwaves to ping. Their highly accurate and not at all suspicious studies have shown that plumbers and electricians are the key cause of being kept waiting indefinitely for those in the 36-45 age bracket, and that delayed airplanes alone account for 30,000 waiting-related deaths each year. Gripping and entirely credible figures indeed.
All these reliable facts and figures got me to thinking; if it weren’t for the 12 days a week that are lost waiting for people to join conference calls or the 1,825 hours per year that are spent waiting for dinner companions to arrive, what could I have achieved in my life? Well, I’ve calculated exactly how much of my time I’m owed and if I had a rebate, here’s just what I’d do with it.
1,095 days lost to delayed parcels. Take up a nice relaxing hobby such as shooting. I would spend hours practicing until I was a crack-shot with a pistol. I would then move on to an air rifle, then a shotgun, then a tank, until I became an expert at firearms of all kinds and could teach my skills to others, maybe to a group of country pursuit enthusiasts, maybe to a small army of minions.
200,004 hours lost to people ahead of me in the queue taking their time in the loo. Become a master of languages. I’d start small of course, brush up on some Francais, add a dash of Espanol, but soon enough I’d be master of every mother tongue on the globe (including some of the more tricky ones like Mandarin and Essex). Most useful when catching a cab in London, when ordering meals in restaurants while on holiday, or when issuing demands to world leaders perhaps.
32 years lost to shop staff gossiping . Become qualified in all the martial arts. I’d spend hours each day learning one martial art, then two, then three and so forth, until one day, there would be nothing left for me to learn and I would be unstoppable against my foe with nothing but my perfectly manicured hands and a quick flick of my big toe. I could then generously pass on my knowledge to eager pupils. An ideal way to keep me trim and you know, train up a personal guard of ninjas, or something.
4 months lost to overturned lorries on the M25. What could be more fun than designing and building your very own home? I could design an eco-friendly, fully self-sustainable
lair home of epic design proportions, large enough to hold all my new minions friends. In fact, with all my ninjas and the small army visitors, I’d probably need something as spacious and secure as a large cave. Inside a secret hollowed out volcano, possibly.
5,009 hours lost to waiters forgetting the garlic bread. Become an expert in psychology, mind control and manipulation. This wouldn’t take me long because I’m super intelligent and have been told by many creepy old men over the years that I have hypnotic eyes. This would be a great way to entertain my friends at parties, or perhaps influence the masses to do my bidding. For good of course, definitely for good. Maybe.
6 months lost to watched kettles. Start a multi-million pound social networking platform, more successful than Twitter and Facebook combined. Imagine how much fun it would be to create a huge global network of the social variety. You could make a huge amount of money, meet almost everyone in the world, share ideas with them, influence them, brainwash them…
You see, all this being kept waiting leaves me with rather too much time to think, and when I have too much time to think, I hatch evil plots, and having been kept waiting for one particular email rather too long this Monday, I realised that if I had all the time back that had been frittered and wasted, I could achieve so many incredible things and all these incredible things would enable me to successfully achieve world domination, and then it would be law that anyone daring to keep me waiting for even one solitary minute would be beaten about the head and neck with a broken cuckoo clock before being dropped from space, bottom first, onto the sharpened style of a very large sundial.
Like I said, patience isn’t really my strongest virtue.