Tuesday, 14 July 2009


I used to think I was a very patient person, always steeped in a sort of Zen Buddhist serenity, unphased by anything. But it ain't true, I'm actually very impatient about a lot of things.

I'm particularly impatient about having to wait for service. If I'm in a phone queue, or a cashdesk queue, or a bus queue, I get very exasperated. It's wasted time I can't use for anything else (unless I happen to have a book with me). Why can't they just employ more staff, provide more buses, speed up a bit?

I know it's not good for my blood pressure. I know I should be more philosophical about things I can't control. I know those concerned are probably doing their best under pressure. But something gets stirred up and irritation takes over.

I also get impatient (or more likely steaming mad) with people who do things wrong. I don't mean minor mistakes like burning the toast. I mean major things like delivering the wrong furniture or charging me twice for something. Why can't they simply check the details properly and take a bit more care? As someone who habitually double checks and makes sure I've "got it right", I don't understand such sloppiness.

But in other ways I have infinite, bottomless patience. Being pretty unconventional myself, I'm very sympathetic to other people's oddities - their strange quirks of behaviour, their outlandish opinions, their eccentric clothing. I'm always curious about why they do what they do, why they think in a certain way, why they defy the usual social norms. I have a huge appetite for human diversity and variety, it's what makes life so fascinating.

And of course I have plenty of patience for my partner, for her myriad little habits and peculiarities, all of which I find endlessly endearing and lovable. Well, I've got to say that, haven't I?


  1. Nick, are you patiently waiting for my comment?

    I hate having to press through 750 options just to ask a simple question, and as for queueing.... don't get me started, you might learn a whole new language!

  2. Grannymar - Those phone menus drive me crackers. Remember the time when you always spoke to a real person straightaway? I expect your new language is the one I already use when I'm through to a call centre.

    Now where are all those other comments? I'm getting very very impatient....

  3. Nick I think they drive everyone crackers. Sadly, I am not one who pays attention to detail. I'd drive you insane!

  4. We're in sync here Nick, I've been working on my own impatience which is not good for my health. I always have a book or knitting with me anyway but oh NO, I prefer to drum my fingers and sigh heavily and THEN engage others in the queue as the incompetence of the eejit we're waiting for.

  5. "Patience child" has been my favourite saying and I don't say it to only children.

    I have little patience for somethings, majority of the ones you mentioned - ditto. But I also get impatient when someone burns my toast. YEAH TOAST! (you have to look the YEAT TOAST video up on youtube, if you want to know what I am talking about).

    Great post, as usual.


  6. Welcome to the club Nick. The club of perfectly normal people! No need to flagellate yourself.

  7. Baino - Well, it sounds like you must pay some attention to detail in your jobs or you wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes!

    www - Ah yes, drumming fingers, sighing heavily, looking at watch, angry glares. None of it works though, does it?

    GayƩ - But we're all capable of burning toast. You only have to be temporarily distracted by Katie the cat....

    Ramana - Oh, I don't flagellate myself. But I do wonder why some things undermine my patience so rapidly.

  8. I'm not a complete disaster on the patience front, but it's an area I'd like to improve significantly. Some things push my buttons and get me irritated quite quickly, and those are situations best handled by stepping back, clamly evaluating the situation and reacting appropriately. Sometimes I manage that, but nothing like as often as I would like.

  9. Press button #4 for Patience, oh, she has left her desk, press #4 again to leave her a voice mail. Which she may or may not return. My latest was today, when a young ?salesman? couldn't quit watching the movie on his monitor long enough to answer my question, or render assistance. Arrgh, Come closer young man so I can "pinch your little head off."

  10. Thrifty - Stepping back and evaluating, and disengaging from all the heated emotions, is the right approach. Emotions often manage to prevail though!

    Brighid - I often invent those fantasy buttons. Press 5 for eliminate this person off the face of the earth. Press 6 for burn down the company premises. Or press 7 for an intelligent human being who will sort out my problem in 30 seconds.

  11. What 'myriad little habits and peculiarities', indeed? Huh!

  12. Don't be disingenuous with me, young Jenny. You know exactly what I'm referring to. But don't worry, your gruesome secrets are safe with me....

  13. Don't stand behind me in a queue then as I invariably choose the one that will take longest.

  14. Liz - I'll remember that. Oh, hang on, aren't you a few hundred miles away?