Friday, March 9, 2012
If patience is a virtue...whatever.
"Mom, can we please leave now?"
"You're going to have to either stop following me around or wait in the car. I'm almost ready and you're just slowing me down."
Our cherub heaved her hundred and sixty pound backpack onto her shoulders and scooped up her viola.
"Fine. I'll just hang out in the car and listen to the radio. But please hurry, Mom." She hastily clunked out the door and into the frigid morning comfort of our Hyundai Elantra.
Before my wife concluded burdening herself with her own impressive load of baggage, her cell phone rang. She gazed over at me as inhaled my Rice Krispies. "I can't believe she's already calling me. She's been out there for thirty seconds. I'll see you later."
Then the land line rang as the front door shut behind her.
This kid, who has so very many admirable traits, possesses the patience of an old man's bladder. How can she be so impatient? I thought. Who could possibly be modeling this behavior, this ridiculous inflexibility and lack of self control?
Umm, that would be me.
As a younger man, I always believed that as I aged, I'd become more patient, more calm. After all, experience breeds understanding, which in turn begets wisdom and tolerance, yes?
Not really. In fact, it appears that my patience is eroding in perfect synchronization with my testosterone-starved pectorals.
And while I'm sure some of my fellow middle-agers are in fact mellowing like the overnight contents of an unflushed commode, I'd bet that most of us are slowing emigrating toward the Mecca of impatient behavior:
Although I'm not quite to the gates of that well-fertilized holy place, I have indeed noted a few areas of daily life where my patience has worn like the frayed skin attaching a doomed baby tooth:
The workplace—I must tread carefully here, since continued tolerance equals continued employment, but if I have to hear another highish-level individual inquire about "bandwidth" or "how much is on my plate," I'm going to be the first human to detach his own earlobe using only molars.
Also, I'm not sure when the term "ask" became a noun, as in, "Okay, you guys, I know this is a huge ask, but we really need everyone to buckle down for the next couple of weeks."
I'm not big on locker room speeches, let alone new corporatisms, so why can't they just say something like...nothing?
The egregious workplace overuse of the word "thanks" is also a thumb tack in my balloon. It needn't be endlessly substituted for words like, "Okay, see ya," or "You mother&*(%er. You just gave me a project that's got a more ridiculous deadline than the one JFK gave NASA."
Grammatical impatience is my other weakness. Call me a word snob, but I get really chapped when someone begins an opinion with, "Well, for me..."
Who else would it be for?
In addition, I have a difficult time suffering correspondence and orations which contain typos and grammatical errors. While most consider the grammar of a Facebook post or the pronunciation of a word an afterthought, I cannot vote for anyone, regardless of political affiliation, who says "nucular."
Oh, yes, I'm impatient about so many other things as well—people on the bus who file their nails or talk on the phone about how much they love fish, folks who don't thank you for holding the door and those who use the term "retarded."
And hey, since my blog's subhead states "the curmudgeonly ramblings of a forty-somethinger," I guess I've finally provided some truth in advertising.