Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wait'll You Hear This!

"Wait till you hear about my new raise!"

"Just wait'll you hear what happened to Jamie!"


Why do I have to wait?

Why can't you just tell me, so we can both revel in the news together?

This unusual expression has baffled me for quite a while. In the examples above, it seems clear that the speaker is about to bespeak something exciting. Indeed, "I just got a great raise!" or "Something wild happened to Jamie!" would perfectly suffice. But instead, the focus is on the actual waiting period between the announcement and "the big reveal."

Why is that so important? Is it all about creating an illusion of thrilling anticipation, a sort of lofty tease?

Why say: "Ugh! Just wait till you have children of your own!"

Instead of: "Ugh! After have have kids of your own, then you'll be sorry!"

Or some variation thereof.

One phrase I understand a little better is "Just wait till your father gets home!" In this case, the speaker obviously wishes to fill the hearer's life with dread and horror, as if the waiting were worse than the inevitable punishment.

Even so, I find it interesting that we place so much importance on the waiting.

I, for one, am getting a little tired of having to wait.

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