The Fidget

The other day I took a train ride into the city. I was on my way to a meeting when our train met with a half-hour delay. I was fine, continuing to read on my tablet, but I noticed the other passengers were not. They began to fidget. Yes, fidget. If you had to wait for anything for a long period, you’d know what I mean.

Waiting

Waiting

As strange a topic as this is, I want to talk about the all-important fidget. I do it, and I’m sure you do it, too. What would Freedom Friday be like if I didn’t write about off-the-wall issues that affects everyone?

Back to my train story. We were already traveling for an hour when the announcement came that we needed to divert from our track in order to avoid a derailment that had taken place in the early morning hours.

That’s when the first wave began.

Not necessarily in this order, but it started with one of the passengers sitting and looking out the window of our coach, drumming his fingers on his leg. He was not listening to music. Within minutes, I peered over my reader and saw another passenger checking the time on her device. It continued. Another was tapping his feet while another kept squirming in her seat.

Between watching others yawn, scratch, and stretch, I was getting a kick from noting how quickly people get restless when their patience leaves them.

Here’s the dictionary definition of a fidget according to Google:

Verb: make small movements, especially of the hands and feet, through nervousness or impatience

“The audience had begun to fidget on their chairs”

Noun: a quick, small movement, typically a repeated one, caused by nervousness or impatience

“He disturbed other people with convulsive fidgets.”

Keep calm

Keep calm

I fidget. I do. When I’m waiting in line and the person in front of me has completed their business but instead of leaving stays and exchanges pleasantries—you best be sure I’m fidgeting. I suppose I do it because if I have errands to finish I don’t want to wait in line listening to folks chat about their new color nail polish. That happened. I also don’t want to hear about the sad state of traffic while driving to the store. I know it was bad. Had it been light, I wouldn’t have had to wait behind a long line at checkout. That happened, too.

This is random—I wonder what constitutes a fidget. I mean, is it the nervous facial tick one expresses when someone is driving them crazy? Is it the shaking of the leg under the table when a guy sees a pretty girl who he wants to ask out? Is it the wringing of the hands from a girl ready to punch a guy for making a pass at her?

Not all fidgets are bad. Nope. For instance, did you know therapists train ADHD patients coping skills that involve fidgeting? You heard me right. As a means to remain focused, ADHD patients take to tapping, chewing gum and even listening to music. Their concentration increases and they overcome the need to keep moving. How great is that?

Well, I’m not a psychologist, by any means. Perhaps fidgeting is the body’s way of coping in tight situations. Or maybe it’s just a way for us to serve each other a quick ticket to the insane asylum. Whatever it is, I find it fascinating to watch the effects of the almighty fidget when a person’s expectations implode after a minor delay.

I’m going to go stand in line now. I may find something else as mundane as a fidget to write about.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you noticed what prompts your fidgets?

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13 Comments

  1. Ohhhh I fidget when I’m bored and stressed!! During my vacation I spent many many many hours in the car, we drove from Arkansas to Virginia to South Carolina to Georgia and then home, granted the scenery was beautiful, spending hours in the passenger seat could become quite boring so I read….ALOT. When I wasn’t reading I slept…..and when I was tired of sleeping and reading I began to fidget. When my fidgetting got on my nerves I just picked up my Nook and started reading again….haha.

    Reply
  2. hello jack flacco its dennis the vizsla dog hay hmm and heer i thawt fidget wuz a smal man wot workd for god and woz partly reesponsibul for the invenshun of the ledjendary pink bunkadoo!!! thank yoo for setting the rekord strayt!!! ok bye

    Reply
  3. I hate meetings. They’re typically overly long and the info could often be covered in an email. I especially hate it when people read power points to me in meetings. During these meetings I don’t fidget with my phone because I think it’s rude. As a teacher this really drives me nuts when kids check their phones when I’m talking!! So…I people watch or think. Maybe that’s not fidgeting, but it’s not exactly paying attention either.

    Reply
    • zathra

       /  September 6, 2014

      Ever notice how time seems to just DRAG on indefinitely when you’re in a meeting or when you’re involved in some other less than pleasant or downright boring activity ? Whereas when you’re doing something enjoyable – the time zooms by like a jet plane !

      Reply
  4. I like clicky pens. So much that other people don’t want me to be allowed to have them. 😛

    …I think it’s interesting, after reading this, that my ADD fiancé’s cat is named Fidget. I wonder if he thought about that when he named the kitty.

    Reply
  5. Yes, the tapping of fingers; that’s my favoured fidget. Have you noticed the fidget is always expressed in the extremities, the ends of the body. No one ever fidgeted by making their lower intestine vibrate.

    One of the situations that makes me fidget is the classic ‘getting stuck behind the ditherer.’ Ambling down the supermarket aisle, not leaving enough space to pass. Ambling down the pavement (not leaving enough space to pass). A constant phrase a friend of mine would utter was ‘I bloody hate ditherers, bloody dithering about.’ (And he was the biggest ditherer of them all.)

    Reply
  6. Out of control causes me to fidget. Airplane delays, traffic, waiting in a doctor’s office all start movement. Sad part is the blood pressure goes into the stratosphere as well. I used to have a mental mantra to help, but have chucked it in favor of the fidget. Great post.

    Reply
  7. I’ve taught many a fidgeter. On boy I encouraged to walk around in the back of the room, not the front, that was my area… solved so much. I should let John read this! 🙂 He is Captain Fidgeter. 🙂

    Reply
  8. I have ADHD. I fidget constantly. I have a ‘tic; where I will sit and have both of my legs on the floor and I will shake one of them repetitively. My fiancee says I shake the whole house and he has to tell me to stop. I also do that when I have my legs crossed and do it with the one on top(when there is no one in striking distance because they are so long lolz). Sometimes I don’t even know I am doing it. I like to say I got it from my now deceased grandfather, because he would do the same exact thing too :)…
    One thing that I do and I don’t even know when I do it is rub my thumb, index and middle fingers together on my right hand. Chris has to actually touch that hand to get me to stop. I think I do that more so when I am anxious, nervous, etc.
    I am sure people have a lot of unique ‘tics’ besides what was mention here today. Great post, Jack.

    Reply
  9. Blue290

     /  September 5, 2014

    Aside from caffeine being my cause, I try to go the opposite way and remain still for a change. We are going full speed all the time. I just want to lean back and breathe.

    Reply
  10. zathra

     /  September 5, 2014

    With me, a fidget can manifest in verbal form. I will yell insults & epithets at street lights that are slow to turn. Then I get rude. 🙂

    Reply
  11. I tend to fidget with my widget. It gets me into all sorts of problems. I use to play with money in my pocket but now all I have is plastic. Good post, not deep but tranquil.

    Reply

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