# Wait Your Turn

### Outside!

So there I was, waiting for my name to be called. She came out of the small room, reading off several names from a list. Not yet. I looked around the room, nervous people, some chatting some staring blankly off into space. Some studying the backs of their fingernails with feigned interest.

Twenty minutes passed. She came out again, read off another handful of names, then she looked at me, and nodded. It was time.

Sometimes, when I was a kid, I would ride my bike down to the beach to go body surfing. During the summer, the weather was hot, and the water was warm, so I enjoyed it just as much when there weren’t any waves as when there were. Sometimes I just enjoyed floating, letting the slow in and out of the tide move my body about. Every once in a while I would hear somebody say “outside set,” which meant that not the current set of waves, but the next one coming looked to be pretty decent.

Of course, a decent wave to a fourth grader on summer vacation means something completely different than what you may think of as a decent set of waves.

There is an interesting phenomenon regarding wave interference patterns when studying light. There is a famous double slit experiment, where they take a piece of material, and then put two small slits in a certain distance apart. Then they shine some light through on the other side of the slit, and measure the interference pattern on the other side with a special photographic plate. Because light travels in waves (sometimes) when it shows up on the other side, there will be peaks and troughs. The peaks are where the crests of waves coming through slot A line up with the peaks coming through from slot B. The troughs are where the lowest points from A overlap with B. The blank spaces in between are when a peak coming through slot A meets up with a trough from slot B, and they cancel each other out.

You can see this for yourself, by holding up your forefinger and thumb. If you hold you forefinger and thumb as close to your eye as possible, and then look through the space between them at a light source, as you bring your two fingers together, you can see the interference pattern start to form just before your fingers touch. You’ll see a small, but distinct pattern of darker and lighter “lines” between your fingers.

They say that physics is only makes sense because we see it over and over again, on a regular basis. Those that study quantum physics, or particle physics, knows that it follows a set of rules that is completely different than the rules we are used to in the macro world.

Not exactly.

There is the thing called the “correspondence principle,” and basically says that the laws of physics are the same for huge bodies, like planets, people, and trucks, as they are for tiny bodies like neutrons and photons, it’s just that the laws are specific to the condition.

Like the speed limit on the highway is 75 miles per hour, but through the small town is 35 miles per hour. They both still fall under the same speed limit law, but the law specifies different behaviors based on the environment.

But when I bought a boogie board, everything changed. Instead of swimming furiously to get to a wave that would only carry my poor body surfing skills so far, I could paddle out a lot quicker, and ride a lot longer. Simply by adding a simple tool to my pastime, I was able to get much more enjoyment, with much less effort. The only thing that became difficult was getting out through the waves as they were coming in. Before, as only a body surfer, I could simply duck under the wave and wait for it to pass over me. But with my boogie board, it became difficult. Many times I would paddle directly at the oncoming wave, only to get knocked back further than where I originally started.

Before, when I was body surfing, and I looked out at the waves coming in, and I wanted to get to a spot out beyond them, I didn’t give the waves a second thought. I just ducked under the water and let them pass over me.

But with my new toy, that made surfing a lot more fun, sometimes it was a hassle. How what used to be nothing more than some simple waves became a complex issue of timing. I had to wait until the waves were just right before I had a chance to paddle out beyond them, and wait until the new set came in.

Until my friend told me the secret. Get this thing called a leash, and attach one end to the boogie board, and the other end to your wrist. Then you could duck under the waves like before, you just had to sometimes fling your board up in the air before you did so.

Kind of like a tool added to a tool to make the tool more useful. With that added skill, boogie boarding was a breeze. And instead of floating just by myself, I could sometimes even pull myself up, lay on my back and stare up at the blue sky as the waves tossed me about.

When she finally called my name, I was about to fall asleep. I went into the small room, and I was surprised to see that it was just like the big room, only smaller. They had magazines, a couple of tables, and one of those bottled water fountains.

Then I had to wait there for another twenty minutes or so, but that is another story.

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# The Magic of Waiting

I have a friend who is a rice farmer. He tells me about all the different things that you need to do in order to prepare for a decent rice harvest. In come culturesÂ there are even special festivals and holidays designed to help people in this manner. There are different machines, several different stages of preparation including soil preparation, planting of the seedlings, and flooding the rice fields with water. Then the most important, the waiting. This is where the magic happens.

I don’t usually like to wait, which is why I don’t like going to doctors offices without an appointment. I made the mistake of thinking I could sneak in one Friday afternoon about an hour before I had another appointment with somebody else. Boy was that a mistake. Never make an appointment on a Friday afternoon and then just ‘pop in’ to the doctors office. I had been sitting there, already given up on the magazines that all seemed to be at least three years old. I kept checking my watch, already thinking of when I would be able to reschedule my appointment that I was already an hour and a half late for. When this guy sitting next to me starting talking. I normally don’t talk to people in doctors office waiting rooms, but you never know what can happen. You’ll be sitting there, and all of a sudden you will find yourself in the middle of a discussion that you aren’t sure where it came from.

This guy started talking about his job. He is a resource manager for a temporary staffing agency. He said that is always important to gather resources. And there really never is a good time or a bad time to gather resources. I guess since he is in that line of work, it’s important for him to keep that frame of mind. Of always being open to new things, because you never know when you are going to findÂ this useful. He always carries a stack of business cards with him, because you never know who you might run across that you may be able to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with this person. And because the most valuable resource you can ever discover is other people, it always pays to treat people with respect.Â Once you’ve successfully cultivated a resource that can provide many years of valuable service, both to yourself and to the person providing the service, you can trulyÂ enjoy a beneficial relationship.

Which is why, by the time I saw the doctor, I had forgotten all about my appointment, which this guy explained to me was a sales appointment. He explained how you can easily sniff out people that are trying to sell you something from those that just want to help. And the doctor really was apologetic, it seems he had been in an unexpected surgery all morning, and was trying his best to get through all the patients.

Wonderful things happen when you wait. The rice seedlings drop their roots in to the soil, and slowly pull up the nutrients they will mix with the air to grow bigger and bigger. And after a couple of months, you can see the rice growing from the stalk. And a month or so after that, these small seedlings have turned turn into giant resources of foodÂ that can be harvested forÂ nourishmentÂ to feedÂ entire countries. Amazing things happen when you wait.

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