Just as painters paint and writers write, do waiters wait?

Our first thought is probably of a restaurant waiter, but we likely don't associate their central skillset as waiting, possibly more as serving. In those really posh establishments you actually see a smartly dressed person standing, waiting; waiting to be called to service. Perhaps 'waiting' is the appropriate term here because they would still be fulfilling their role if they waited the entire evening and never had to serve you any extra drinks or clear up after you. Therefore they are more waiters, than servers, they are more the potential of what they are able to do than what they actually do. Interesting.

Imagine if you met someone and they responded to the question,

"What do you do for a living?" with,

"I wait".

"Wait for what?" you'd quite rightly wonder. But then there's no reason they couldn't just reply to that with,

"I never know until I'm called."


"Could be some champagne, some more potatoes, or even to know the latest tennis score."

"Oh right, yes, I see".

The ultimate goal of waiting is to attend such that one's response is both prompt and without preconception. Promptness can very easily be subverted by distraction. Rather than focus our attention on the utterly unpredictable possibilities configured into any given instant of time, we sooner find ourselves living through some daydream, going over some past event or chewing over something that's planned for tomorrow. Whilst preconceptions are useful in the sense that they afford a lessening of the mental powers required to decipher any given request upon our abilities. Your average waiter knows that there's only so many things they can be asked for, tea or coffee, red or white wine for example and are understandably startled when they're asked for a bergamont infusion. However, your above average waiter has a little more familiarity with the unexpected, being of a higher calibre they will treat every request for service with the same careful openness, allowing them to maintain their professional composure at all times. Of course having to treat a call for extra chips with same attention as you would offer to a pregnant, lactose intolerant, diabetic might seem a little overkill, but that's what separates the wheat from the chaff.

So there's more to waiting than meets the eye. It's more than just staring blankly into space whilst you twiddle your thumbs, there's skill to it and some are certainly better at it than others. I think we could learn a lot from waiters, as in how they actualise a skill through the absence of activity rather than the presence of it. That just because we're not singing and dancing doesn't mean that we don't have that potential in us. And just as a good waiter will take satisfaction in a job well done even when they are not called once during a whole day, so too might we remember that tangible results and achievements are not a reflection of sincerely cultivated intentions.