Waiting not all wasted time

Waiting not all wasted time

Going stir-crazy after three days in a locked-down Colombo, where I was covering a Commonwealth summit, I got it into my head that I would fly the coop the minute work duties were over.

Because of the once-a-day Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight schedule, we actually had a spare 36 hours of free time in Sri Lanka after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong left.

But I became determined to get on the same flight he was on, hours after we filed our last stories.

Covering these summits can be a lot like being in the army - or so I've heard. A lot of waiting around for the leaders to emerge from their closed-door sessions, followed by a high-intensity two hours where you rush to file stories after press conferences.

Sri Lankans seemed to have been mostly told to shutter and disappear while this high-security summit went on and the roads were often at a standstill due to roadblocks for VIP convoys.

So I had spent a lot of that waiting time literally waiting, reading, paddling around the tiny hotel pool, watching the BBC, staring out of my room window.

After watching the same news segment loop five times in two hours, my restlessness grew into one of those moods where you become convinced that everything - all life, excitement, and joy - would resume only when you had left where you were.

Like being in a traffic jam or a doctor's waiting room or the Friend Zone. My weekend in Sri Lanka became a metaphor for my stagnant life.

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