The Frustration—and Joy—of Anticipation
Updated: May 17, 2022
Some of you will remember the 1976 Heinz ketchup TV commercial set to the music of Carly Simon’s “Anticipation.” It captured our universal wish that the slow condiment would get a move on and drop its goodness from the bottle. No doubt you’ve tried to put a knife in to rush it along or slap the bottom of the bottle repeatedly only to have gobs of the stuff fly out—all because you couldn’t wait.
In the Pacific Northwest we’ve had a cold, wet spring. The flowering trees and early flowers have been beautiful. But if you’ve been looking forward to several days in a row of warm, sunny weather to clean a deck or stain some wood, forget about it. If you got impatient and planted your pots too early, your flowers got cold feet and perhaps you’ve lost your investment. Or you put them in the garage for a few weeks. We complain and compare notes. “Isn’t this later than usual?” as if we really remember from year to year—or there’s a “usual” anymore.
We’ve been looking forward to much that has been repeatedly delayed. Just when you thought it was safe to hold that wedding, memorial service, (now multi-year) reunion or graduation, Covid cases have soared. Again. We’re sick of it and want to get on with life so we do. Some will pay with illness and say it's worth it.
Delayed gratification brings different emotions. Continued chilly temperatures may cause frustration while moving ahead with in-person events can cause feelings of defiance mixed with anxiety. It’s hard to plan with certainty anymore so the build-up of anticipatory joy may have had in the past loses a little bit of its luster. The farther off the event, the more confident we feel it will happen. The closer the date, the more “ifs” raise their hands awaiting consideration. About the only thing we can claim with any assuredness are online events. But even then, the gods of interconnectivity can be fickle in their attentions.
From the moment She Writes Press said yes to my manuscript, to the release of Work Jerks: How to Cope with Difficult Bosses and Colleagues will be twenty-one months. In the fall of 2020, June 2022 seemed impossibly far away. For one thing, I’d be so much older! I had no idea why it would take the better part of two years to get a book published but I’ve learned it’s not a simple process to do it properly. Back in September 2020 none of us would have believed we’d still be dealing with the pandemic. We certainly didn’t realize supply chain issues would affect the publishing world (and everything else) or that the job market and world of work would look so different. That’s an anticipation I’m glad I didn’t have because it would have only created anxiety. (Fortunately for me, people remain the same.) What I have had is the joyful anticipation of finding my book in stores and online—and one day, when I’m on a plane flying somewhere exotic, I long to see it in a fellow passenger’s hands. That’s my hoped-for long view and it has served me well.
When I scheduled my first book events they seemed so far away. Now we’re up on it! My first author talk is this Thursday, May 19th, 5PM PDT on Zoom hosted by Blue Cottage Agency. The topic is Jerks in Fiction and Real Life. I’ll be interviewing BK Froman, author of Hardly Any Shooting Stars Left. It’s an engaging fast-paced mystery set in the fictional eastern Oregon town of Telos that is populated with quirky characters, some of whom qualify as jerks. Barbara will be interviewing me about the real-life ones who live pretty much anywhere. It’s going to be a fun hour, so please join us. For details, see the Events page on my website. See you Thursday!