D.The last text for this column was written by Ms. O. in a waiting room. The waiting room was too full and the nurse was so stressed that she didn’t notice. Ms. O. was jointly responsible for both because she was late for her appointment.
She had actually got up at six o’clock, had been to the train station at a quarter to seven and got on the train that was supposed to take her to the doctor’s office. It took 20 minutes and a conversation with the last remaining passenger, who took the opportunity to smoke on the train, until Ms. O. realized that she had got into the wrong train. It took another 60 minutes to get to the doctor’s waiting room.
Ms. O. has already got to know many German train stations in a similar way. Lorsbach im Taunus, for example. Or Dutenhofen in the Lahn valley. Ms. O. has also known Leipzig Central Station in all its imposing emptiness since she accidentally drove from Bavaria to Saxony instead of Bavaria to Hesse.
Ms. O. believes: All of this negligence is a symptom of something more serious. She has forgotten how to wait. 10 seconds standstill – and Ms. O. feels unproductive. She starts going through her to-do list in her head – researching, talking on the phone, writing articles. It almost always ends up with your emails. Her gaze wanders away from the billboard and towards the cell phone; she begins to read, think, type, but stop looking. Ms. O. wants to prevent the waiting. But in the end she often has to wait even longer – and cannot work properly.
Since Ms. O. got on the wrong train out of cellphone distraction for the second time many years ago, she has been thinking more and more about why she and all the other people on this planet are constantly doing things that they know are at risk Benefit outweighs. Ms. O. doesn’t know. But she hopes one day – maybe waiting somewhere on a village platform in the morning sun – to find an answer in her emails.
In the column “Nine to Five”, changing authors write about curiosities from everyday life in the office and university.
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