Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hurry up! We don't have all day!

You know, I distinctly remember when I first became impatient. I was a kid (about five or six years old) and living in El Paso Texas. I was in kindergarten, and (oddly enough) I was in trouble. I don't know if I had popped off to the teacher (very likely) or gotten in a fight with a girl (and most likely lost!) or what, but I was told to stand out in the hallway until my parents got there. Then we were all going to have "a little talk".

[Note: This is where I began to refer to my teacher as "Miss Blackston, The Ogre". Make no mistake; I was the ogre. Ms. Blackston was actually quite nice! But I digress...]

I began standing in the hallway with all the patience in the world! I could wait until the end of time for my parents to show up! In fact, it would have been just fine with me if the earth opened up and swallowed them whole and they never got to the school (mind you, the full ramifications of such an event were not particularly evident to my still-forming mind; I just didn't want to get spanked!).

Then, as I looked out the window in the door at the end of the hall, I saw my parents' brown (or was it blue?) station wagon with the realistic wood-like panels pull up outside.

Now back then (1977-ish) kindergarten was split into a morning class and an afternoon class and I was in the morning class. My parents would get to the school ten minutes or so before the morning clas let out, so as to be waiting for me when I came outside. (For all I know, my two older brothers had to walk home after school; I really was only paying attention to myself in those days!)

So as I was saying, I saw my folks pull up outside. At this point, with my very life at stake and no other choice that I could see, I made a break for it! After a quick glance at Miss Blackston (The Ogre)'s door, I ran as fast as I could down the hall, hit the door running, and srinted to the side of the afore-mentioned station wagon. I started yanking on the door and began my first truly impatient outburst:

Me: "Let's go! Time to go!"

Mom: "Honey, what's wrong?"

Me: "Nothing! School's out, let's go home!"

Mom (suspiciously): "Honey, school isn't out for another 15 minutes! What are you doing out here?"

Me (desperately): "They let school out early! We have to go now!"

Mom (totally not buying it): "Oh really? If school let out so early, where are all of the other kids?"

Me (grasping at straws): "Their parents already got them! Let's go!"

You see? Impatient.

Needless to say, Mom ended up disbelieving her darling little boy. I know, I know; that's hard to believe after such a convincing performance (C'mon! We have to go home NOW!) but somehow she saw through my little ruse and marched me right back in to the school. When she led me in to the classroom (still a good five minutes before the bell), Miss Blackstone (The Ogre) narrowed her eyes and a tiny bit of smoke seemed to curl out of her nose as she stared at me. All the other kids in class went "Oooooooooo!" at the prospect of a public execution and I tried to make myself as small as possible.

Now, I can't say I remember what happened next. I'm certain there was a stern talking-to involved, but as this WAS the late seventies and we WERE in Texas; there was almost certainly either a belt or a ruler involved in the conversation as well.

The entire situation was created by my impatience! To this day I am certain that if I had just been a little more patient; if I had just taken a few more seconds to more finely hone my arguments (C'mon! We really have to go home NOW!), I would have most certainly convinced my Mom that school was let out early and she needed to take me home right away!

A VALUABLE lesson learned as a result of a childhood trauma (or drama, as the case may be)!

We all get impatient some times. Sitting at a traffic light, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for the ant hill to catch fire as you try to hold the magnifying glass steady; all opportunities to get impatient. But where does all this impatience take us? Nowhere, that's where! So let me give you a few tips on how to be more patient when you least desire to. After all, you may need Mom to take you home "RIGHT NOW" yourself some day!

Ten simple methods for being patient, and the best times to use them:

1. Take a deep breath! ~~ This method is most useful when, after being chased for seven or eight miles by a swarm of angry African Killer bees, you finally come upon a lake or a pond you can jump in to keep them from stinging you.

2. Count to twenty-five. ~~ Works best when you have just made a critical parking error outside of a biker bar. If you get anywhere near this number while counting the number of motorcycles you have just knocked over, do NOT be in a rush to go into the bar. In fact, the opposite direction may well be the wisest.

3. Eat a cookie. ~~ Use this strategy before you cavalierly agree to go on a hunger strike to protest the unfair treatment of Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie by the press. After all, they aren't going to eat it, are they?

4. Hum "Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall" quietly to yourself. ~~ I find this one useful whenever I'm waiting for a crowded elevator to hurry up and get to the thirtieth floor already because I have GOT TO GO! It doesn't get the elevator there any faster, but it encourages the other passengers to get out of the way as soon as it arrives.

5. Make a list of home improvements you wish you knew how to do. ~~ It is critical that you do this before blindly rushing into a drywall installation in your bosses $3 million house just because he idly mentioned at a staff meeting that he's looking for a good general contractor.

6. Jog in place for twelve seconds. ~~ Use this any time you hear the phrase "First one there gets to-(garbled, obscured, interrupted)-my colon! There are some races you do NOT want to win!

7. Think of all the times a slingshot would have come in really handy over the past week. ~~ If you an think of more than seventy-one, your next stop should be a therapist.

8. Make up your mind once and for all between Kirk and Picard. ~~ When the flame wars begin in earnest on your favorite bulletin board, you canNOT be seen to flip-flop! Otherwise you'll be labeled as nothing more than an opportunistic Ferengi who switches allegiances willy-nilly depending on who is winning and doesn't care at all about the fundamental differences between commanding a Constellation-Class starship versus a Galaxy-Class with families and civilians to be concerned about and besides, the rules of engagement were more flexible in Kirk's time so of course he would be able to...well, you get the point.

9. Let the deep breath out. ~~ Do this as soon as you feel it's safe to come up. After all, those bees can't wait up there forever!

10. Run! Run like the wind! ~~ Gaaaahhh!! The Bees! They're still here! For the love of God, get them off, GET THEM OFF!

As you can see, patience is a virtue. If we would all just step back for a few seconds and think before we act, there might be just a little less strife and heartache in this world.

I mean, wouldn't we all be just a little happier if the-powers-that-be had thought a little harder and longer before letting Jean Claude Van Damme make "The Quest"?

Wouldn't there be more harmony in the world if the guy that thought up "New Coke" had been a bit more picky in which ideas he floated to his boss?

And honestly, wouldn't it be great if I had been able to convince Mom that it really was time to go?

I know my butt would have appreciated it!

-Sage Words

1 comment:

Yarntangler said...

Excellent essay on patience but don't you think we've all stretched ours as much as possible? After all that was June. This is October! Or do I have to march you into Rosy Blackstone again!