Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Procrastination works

31st December 2008: It was afternoon when I left office and a severe snow-storm was lashing Massachusetts. My bus to Boston laboured its way through the storm on RT-24 in the wake of a snow truck and I reached Boston at about 3:30 in the afternoon, an hour and a half longer than I would on a normal day. My non-refundable, non-transferable bus ticket was for a bus at 3:00, so it was as good for nothing. The South Station bus terminal looked like a Indian railway platform for a change as huge queues snaked from the various bus service counters. Hundreds of dreams of spending New Year's at New York hung in balance and the tension was showing. Folks were irritable and the persons at the bus ticket counters maintained a deadpan expression when asked about the next bus out.

I found that the longest line was at the Fung-Wah bus service counter, because it was the cheapest way to get to NYC by far. As for being a cheapskate, I found that I had lots of company. The line stood perfectly still with no indication of any kind of movement. The two Chinese woman at the window were steadfast in their denial of any knowledge whatsoever about the next bus out. They laughed and joked with the persons at the front of the line, but it seemed to be a rather poor attempt at comedy. Their customers apparently weren't getting the drift of the jokes. All around me, I could see and hear calls go out to girlfriends, boyfriends, cousins etc about how irritating this infinite wait was. Angry voices and sharp comments about the nature of the Chinese bus service began  to permeate the air. The two women at the counter were hardly getting any time to laugh as the unrest in front of their window grew. Me, I stood as calm as a Buddha amidst all the hubbub. Neither did I call anybody nor did I even give a thought to questioning someone of relevance. I was too lazy to even participate in the bitching that was gathering momentum around me.

As the minutes turned into hours, the line in front of me dissipated as people grew tired of waiting. Condemned to spend New Year's at Boston they left ruing their gloomy fate and colourfully cursing the snowstorm. When there were about 50 people in front of me a couple of hours ago, now there were only two. Irritated as I was, I wasn't enthused enough to even think of an alternate plan. 

All of a sudden, there was activity in the chambers of power. A few hurried exchanges of words in Chinese later, the guy in front of us actually got something which looked like a boarding pass. My turn at the window came and as I reached for my wallet to shell out for a new ticket. But it seemed that my non-refundable, non-transferable bus ticket for the 3:00 clock bus was now going to get me onto a 6:00 bus out to New York. Shame on you, people who said that the Chinese were stingy souls. I got to be in NYC before midnight.

So was re-inforced my belief that doing nothing is exactly the thing to do. Don't crib, don't question, don't make an attempt of changing what's around: Just stand there like a rock until moss threatens to grow on you. Watch the world fall apart all around you, and in a little while you'll have your way!

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