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The Waiting

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

“The Waiting” – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
(Words/music: Tom Petty, available on Hard Promises, MCA 1981) 

One of my first dates with my girlfriend Jenny was to see the band Rilo Kiley in Providence.  I drove two hours to meet her there without knowing if I’d have to drive home that night or if I had a place to stay because it was so early on that assuming these kinds of things wasn’t an option.  Regardless, I got up to Providence early, in part because I over-compensate for long car trips and quite honestly I was excited to see her and got out of the house quickly that day.  Due to the erratic nature of public transportation, Jenny ran late, so I found myself parked in the coffee shop of a chain bookstore waiting for her to arrive.  This was, for several reasons, one of the few points in my life where I actively wrote in a journal, so I was in the habit of spending idle minutes writing.  So I started riffing on a napkin (my journal was elsewhere) using the title line from this song as a jumping off point.  The gist of it, from what I remember of it at least – it’s been a while, was that waiting can make the even that much better.  More specifically, I didn’t mind waiting a little longer if it meant time with Jenny.

It’s worth stressing that this line was out of context, as Petty’s song doesn’t focus on the dreadful wait.  Most of the song is on the ease of being with the person he loves.  Even if the complete spectrum of Petty’s narrator wasn’t on my brain that day, our brains were in the same place – specifically, that the eventual result made the anticipation even better.  Roughly two years after that date (and two years after our first one), it’s this ease of being with Jenny that marvels me the most.  Having her in my life makes any waiting period - whether the years I waited to meet her or just the time between seeing her again – worth it. 

It’s appropriate that Jenny gets post 501, as the first five hundred wouldn’t have happened without her constant encouragement and inspiration.  If everyone needs his or her own cheering section, Jenny’s love and support feels like a sellout crowd every night.  I hope I can return the favor for her. 

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