I am running out of patience. It has been suggested that, as you get older, you develop more patience as you understand better what things should stress you and what things you should just shrug off. I have heard from those older than me that this heightened sense of patience is largely perceived by others as ignorance and is largely misunderstood. I don’t think there is some secret society of incredibly patient old people and this development of patience is a bunch of bull.
I’m no more patient now than I was when I was, say, 25. My wife will tell you that I am most certainly less patient than I was in my 20s and even in my 30s. The argument she makes lately is I have absolutely no patience whatsoever. I think she’s wrong, but what do I know? I’m not entirely sure if I am running out of patience or people are just becoming more difficult and annoying.
A lot of the readers of this column probably think I am already a grouch. Admittedly, I come off as being curmudgeonly from time to time. Sometimes I can be perceived as irascible, difficult and argumentative. Well, part of that is by design. I think if I was cheerful and likable all the time, the column would get boring. I know for a fact the Facebook comments would be far less entertaining if I pleased everyone. That said, can we all be in agreement that this columnist is a bit difficult at times?
Is it really too much to ask for a little efficiency in the world? Is it too much to ask that a task that takes five minutes not take 20? For example, I have been in McDonald’s restaurants all over the country and know for a fact that it does not take 10 minutes to assemble a Big Mac, put it in it’s little box, pair it up with an order of fries and toss it on a tray. Ray Kroc did not create a streamlined system only to have it derailed because the counter folks are too busy chatting about who was going out with whom. Using that example, the guy behind the counter should not be too surprised when I am a little peeved when I get my food. I don’t care about who is dating whom, I just spent $6 on lunch and I would like to have it while is was still relatively hot.
I have a long commute. Most of it is on a two-lane road that has a speed limit of 55 mph. It’s not a suggestion. If the speed limit is 55, drive 55. Too often, I am stuck behind someone going 40 or 45. Not another car in sight, except for ones coming the other direction making it impossible for me to pass the slow car. When I do pass, at the speed limit, there is always a dirty look from the other driver. A lot of the time, the other driver is doing something like talking on the phone or looking in the mirror on the sun visor. I have a commute that takes about an hour if all goes well. If there is open road and no one in front of you, go the speed limit. I’m not asking you to speed. I’m not asking you to break the sound barrier, I just want to get home and have dinner.
A lot of you are thinking the same thing. I know a lot of you are thinking I just need to relax and be a little more patient. I understand your thinking. I would love to be a little more patient. I would love to not look at the clock in the car or not look at my watch while waiting for food. I can’t. I don’t think I ever will be able to.
I wait until the last moment to write the column each week. That’s my fault. I don’t know any other way. I have a strict schedule on the nights I write the column. I eat dinner. Write the column. Submit the column, Spend time with my wife. I have most of the evening timed to the minute. Sometimes I surprise myself and wind up ahead of schedule.
I have some other things to do tonight after writing the column, but my wife isn’t ready. In this case, I probably should have a little patience.
Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.