I am writing this while sitting in the waiting room of the Valley Ambulatory Surgery Center while my wife undergoes a surgical procedure on her right knee. What is unusual about this is that I am on the other end of the surgery, the person who waits. My own medical history contains many surgical procedures, almost all related to arthritis, where I was the patient and she was relegated to waiting for the results. This particular moment, therefore, is quite different for me and I can only imagine how it is for her.
Waiting, in this sense, is the core of the ethical in the sense that I am now making myself available as I await the call of the other, in this case, the call of my wife as she awakens from her drug induced slumber. Here I am, in proximate space, having made myself available, assuming the response-ability to be of service in her time of need.
As I wait for the call I am reduced to an observer, a singular point from which I wait. This reduction, however, does not make me into the same, into that which becomes normative. Waiting in proximate space is a unique, albeit, selfish space in which I have clear choices. On the one hand, I could dwell on what is taking so long, why isn’t this thing done, or, on the other hand, I can sit in this very moment letting the flow of time wash over me like a flowing river. I choose the latter. I choose to write rather than dwell on the negative aspects of time. Negativity helps no one, to the contrary, it freezes one in a cube of stress.
The very act of writing propels me to interiority, a space that is private yet made public by the very fact that I post this writing for the public to read. The interiority of writing is where I begin to see what I think, to build on an idea and to test its limits. It is the place where knowledge is constructed. It is the place of proximity, a productive waiting for the call of the other to pierce the fabric of the ethical, to tear apart the difference between the self and the other while preparing to bind the self to the other in service to the cry of the other. Writing prepares one for the existential experience of an ethical life.
So here I sit, waiting for the call, waiting for the surgeon to tell me what a grand job he did, waiting for the nurse to allow me to ease into the twilight of Susan’s recovery.
- 100 Posts and I Still Cry “Here I Am!”…Thinking In Jewish XII (rogerpassman.wordpress.com)