Is Waiting Doing?

More and more, recently, I've been aware that the standard response to any request for action (in certain quarters) takes the form of a claim to be waiting. What are you doing? Waiting for a response from Purchasing. What's happening about x? I'm waiting for y. Some people have raised this to an art form. Faced with any situation that seems to demand action, they will type a one-line question and fire it off. It hardly matters to whom, provided that it can be used to justify a further period of waiting.

But any answer that leads with I'm waiting is based on the fallacy that waiting is doing. In fact, it is simply a grammatically correct substitute for a response, providing the present participle of the verb to wait where indeed a present participle is expected. In other words, it sounds right. But it's not in the same league as, for example, I'm pretending to look busy or perhaps I'm holding in a fart.

Once, countless years ago, an elderly lady interrupted my train of thought: Why are you standing in front of my window?, she demanded. I gave her the full horrible truth: I'm counting the bricks in that wall. She thought I was being cheeky and ordered me away. I can't. I'm waiting here for Roddy, I said. She was happy with that. Clearly the answer she was waiting for.


  1. " I am waiting for others to give their feedback and comments "

  2. and I made you wait for this acknowledgement...


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