I’ve been thinking about patience a lot today.
It was my first real day at my department store job and I had a GA shift. I’ve also pre-purchased all my film festival tickets so I had a movie scheduled tonight, even though by the time 5:30 rolled around I just wanted to put my feet up and eat something green.
I started my day impatient in the traffic that made me late. I got impatient when I arrived and all the doors were locked- no one had told me anything about a key code when I trained the other week. I was even more impatient when, despite the team I’m a part of having a huge task, no one seemed to know what was going on or how to start. By the time my shift end was minutes away, my patience had nearly vanished when they asked if I could stay longer. I did, for the most selfish reason… $$
I ran home and grabbed my school books (in case I had time for homework), ate, and let my dog out. I was impatient on the drive home, I was rushed when I was home, and I felt impatient in the traffic on the way to my GA shift. You’re seeing how my day was shaping up?
I got to work and had a few clerical things to do before getting back to the research I’ve been working on. I got frustrated and impatient with myself when I couldn’t understand the instructions I was being given and I became even more impatient when I locked a file cabinet I still needed and had to ask for the keys back again.
The computer I have to work on has probably been on that desk for 10+ years and has had a pending update every time I’ve used it the past two weeks. I grow impatient every time I have to do something remotely quickly on that dinosaur, but today was something else!
Finally, I drove to the theater, feeling rushed to get through rush hour traffic and find parking downtown with enough time to pick up my ticket and find a seat. The film was great, quite the respite from my impatient, bustle-y day.
It was during my drive home that I had a little impatient outburst. I was relaxed, driving leisurely- not much traffic at 8 PM, even on Airline. Then, I didn’t turn left at a green light.
I’m notorious for waiting for a green arrow for a left turn instead of zooming during a regular green light. It feels safer to me and I’m always afraid I’ve misjudged the distance. Tonight was no different, it turned green, there were cars coming. Were they pretty far away? I wasn’t sure. But apparently the guy behind me was, because he honked a bunch. It made me jump and press the brake harder. Then the light went yellow, red, and then there was a green arrow.
I was fed up from a long day and annoyed that this jerk had honked at me for wasting less than a minute of his time. So I was petty and made the turn fairly slowly and then quickly reached the speed limit once my turn was complete. He zoomed next to me, glared, and zoomed ahead. I scoffed and continued driving safely without honking or glaring at anyone.
Then the car that had honked and glared turned into Dairy Queen. I scoffed again and muttered to myself, “In that big a rush to get to Dairy Queen? Jack ass.”
I started imagining to myself what I should have done, like waited through the green arrow so he couldn’t turn at all. Or gotten in the other lane and driven steadily next to a car so he couldn’t get ahead of either of us. Then I reminded myself that those behaviors are dangerous and trying to be safe was the whole reason I’d waited for the arrow!
Still I felt a little bitter. Then I thought about all the times I’ve been in a rush to go no where of any particular importance and gotten angry at other drivers. Though I normally reserve honking and glaring for people on their phones or who don’t use their turn signals.
I thought, well maybe he was getting dinner for his family. Or, maybe he’d been on a road trip and was exhausted- just wanted some fried food and ice cream before crashing. Or maybe he had a shit day at work too and just wanted to get his food and go home.
Then I felt bad for turning slowly and realized I wasn’t being very patient or understanding. I don’t think I actively strive to be patient, but I don’t feel apathy toward the virtue. I’m certainly not as patient with my loved ones as I should be, considering their importance in my life, but I always try to give strangers the benefit of the doubt. At least… when I’m in an okay mood.
But then I wonder, are there things you shouldn’t have patience for? Like hate? Bigotry? If you’re impatient and dismissive of those things can you ever learn enough about them to combat them?
I don’t know. I’m just rambling because I still have homework to do and have to be at work at 6 AM and I’m just not big enough to be grateful for that.