Meditation amid the noise

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By Stella A. Estremera

Spider’s web

Saturday, January 18, 2014

IT’S the season of queues. It’s a new year, therefore, if you need to acquire some legal documents, expect to do with a thousand others.

I did, and so I waited in line for two straight mornings in two different government offices.

The long wait gives you time to reflect and hope and wish and realize.


Wish number one: I understand mothers, they do have toddlers to take care of, but how I wish that mothers would have all the support (or common sense) such that they will not be bringing along their toddlers who have the attention span of.., zilch. You know how big a ruckus a bored three-year-old can make… and yes, the headache their voice, which can be heard above all the din, can generate to the unlucky ones in line.

Reflection number one: In all lines, except when you make it early enough and thus is first, you have to wait for all of those in front of you to complete their transactions before the counter attendant can ever get to you. No amount of complaining, harassing the marshals or security guards or information staff will get you ahead of the line for as long as you’re a regular person who is not very chummy with the biggest boss.

Reflection number two: Waiting in impatience and making everyone know that you are impatient will not only agitate you, but also those around you.

Wish number two: No amount of clucking your tongue and complaining to the ones around you will ever move you up the line, so please, shut up!

Wish number three: For all those marshals and security guards and information staff to have the power to zap out anyone who simply refuses to follow instructions. Sabinangpila, eh!

At the city treasurer’s office where practically the whole working masses of Davao City are now in line for their business permit transactions, the most harassed staff are the marshals. They’re efficient, they know where to usher in the ones needing to line up for this and that. The marshals are important because once you go in where you pay the fees, there are rows upon rows upon rows of chairs that twist and turn all around the huge hall, you have to follow where the marshal points you to or else… suffer the fate of the stupid young woman ahead of me who lined up for the real estate tax payment when she wanted the business tax permit payment.

Wish number four: For all stupid people to disappear from this world, they aggravate an already aggravating situation where they try to whine and moan their way to the front of the line where they didn’t line up for. I spent an hour in that line, it was time enough to look to your left and to your right to see if the ones beside you were bringing the same document you have and then conclude that you are in the right line. Waiting in line for you don’t know how long will also give you that itch to at least inquire just once if you are indeed in the right line.

Realization number one: Once you’re all settled in and have nothing else to do but wait, it’s best to find contentment in where you are… better yet, it’s best to make productive time of your unproductive time.

On those two days (the other one was at the Pagibig), I was lucky I had my iPhone with me where there were several downloaded guided meditations.

Realization number two: Apple’s ear buds are absolutely perfect. Uh, yes, I’ve had them since like two years ago, but I never used them simply because I thought they’re all the same, and the ear buds I’ve been using since these were called earphones made my ears itch and are always set in unreal volumes (like you know the sound is coming right into your ear and nowhere else), and thus, I have always shunned using them except when transcribing. On the contrary, I just discovered, Apple’s make the sound ambient, like you’re hearing it from a perfect distance. That’s free plugging, by the way.

Realization number three: You can actually drown out other people’s existence, including that brat just over the next seat and the whining and clucking woman behind you, through meditation. Just make sure you don’t fall into a deep trance lest you miss your turn in line. Ommmmm… I’m sure those people around me were wondering, what the heck is she smiling about? You can play games too, but if you do, then…

Wish number five: For all those who (or whose children) are playing games in their tablets and mobile phones in crowded places to shut off the darn sound! Even a soft repeatedly beeping sound can cause a humongous headache when listened to for long, you know.

Realization number four: Patience is a virtue but being able to do something else to quiet down your mind will allow you not to test your patience unnecessarily.


Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 19, 2014.


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