Patience

I’ve always thought of myself as a patient person. 

But, the older I get, the more I realize that it’s just not so. 

I like the idea of being patient.  And, judging from comments that I receive from time to time, others seem to believe that I am patient.  However, I think they are mistaking a diplomatic manner and a sense of outward calm for a patient inner nature.   

I’m generally OK with standing in line, or sitting in traffic, or waiting my turn for something (although I have often wondered why it’s acceptable for a doctor to keep patients waiting in the reception area for a half hour past their appointment time, something I could never get away with in a law practice or corporate setting).  I will admit to angling for the shortest line in the grocery store, but I generally take the wait in good humor as long as it’s clear that the wait isn’t caused by inefficiency or poor customer service.  I guess the distinction with this sort of communal waiting is that it’s just that – communal.  If there is a traffic jam, or a big crowd at the bank or grocery store, that’s just the way it is.  I’ll resign myself to waiting my turn with the rest of the assembled masses – I certainly have no more right to quick service than anyone else does.

Reasonableness goes out the window when I am expecting something in the mail, however.  I lose all touch with reality.  We drop our girls off at summer camp in Pennsylvania on a Sunday, and on Tuesday afternoon I’m calling home to see if we’ve received any letters from them.  College and law school applications, job interviews – same thing.  All the while telling myself that I’m being silly if not downright obsessive-compulsive, I will calculate the earliest possible date that I could receive a response, and start checking the mailbox accordingly.  Email has taken this to a whole new level.  Snail mail is only delivered once a day, but if I’m waiting on an important email, I can wear out the “check mail” button.

So why am I ‘fessing up to my lack of patience?  Better late than never, I guess.  It’s taken me a long time to realize that I’m not nearly as patient as most people seem to think I am.  With the benefit of that realization, I can hopefully save myself from the delusion that it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that the time-space continuum will be warped whenever I am expecting to receive an important communication.

Enough of that.  Time to check my email….   

  

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