B3_#032 // The Waiting Room // Quentin Dauvergne
Waiting : Tumult of anxiety provoked by waiting for the loved being, subject to trivial delays (rendezvous, letters, telephone calls, returns). There is a scenography of waiting: I organize it, manipulate it, cut out a portion of time in which I shall mime the loss of the loved object and provoke all the effects of a minor mourning. This is then acted out as a play.
‘The setting represents the interior of a cafe’; we have a rendezvous, I am waiting.
In the Prologue, the sole actor of the play (and with reason), I discern and indicate the other’s delay; this delay is as yet only a mathematical, computable entity (I look at my watch several times); the Prologue ends with a brainstorm: I decide to “take it badly,” I release the anxiety of waiting.
Act I now begins; it is occupied by suppositions: was there a misunderstanding as to the time, the place? I try to recall the moment when the rendezvous was made, the details which were supplied. What is to be done (anxiety of behaviour)? Try another café? Telephone? But if the other comes during these absences? Not seeing me, the other might leave, etc. Act II is the act of anger; I address violent reproaches to the absent one: “All the same, he (she) could have . . . ” “He (she) knows perfectly well . . . ” Oh, if she (he) could be here, so that I could reproach her (him) for not being here! In Act III, I attain to (I obtain?) anxiety in the pure state: the anxiety of abandonment; I have just shifted in a second from absence to death; the other is as if dead: explosion of grief: I am internally livid.
(The anxiety of waiting is not continuously violent; it has its matte moments; I am waiting, and everything around my waiting is stricken with unreality: in this cafe’, I look at the others who come in, chat, joke, read calmly: they are not waiting.)
“Am I in love? — Yes, since I’m waiting.” The other never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn’t wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game: whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover’s fatal identity is precisely: I am the one who waits..’
Text extracted from A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes.Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978
Quentin Dauvergne is an Intermediate Student from the Architectural Association