Patience. What an odd word.
Say it 10 times fast and twirl around. Now stop and think of all the mental images that flood your brain when reading that word. Pictures of 2-year-olds in Walmart, the line to the bathroomm, and because spinning makes you dizzy, and the single-file line of snails oozing across the street as cars frantically try to slide their tires through the line because the two-for-one ice cream special only lasts two minutes. I don’t know about you, but when I’m told to think about I patience, I obviously think of impatience.
That is a much more common sight. How many people actually have patience? We all have our moments of patience, but very few people are actually patient people. I admit I am not a patient person. When I have to wait more than five minutes for my “fast food” I get antsy. When there are only five minutes left of school and the clock decides to slow down my foot starts tapping. When I’m waiting for my movie to load on Netflix and all the percentage number does is decrease I tend to get angry.
Fear thou not, I won’t go all ninja on you if you happen to be in front of me in line. I can sometimes (emphasis on “sometimes”) control it. Usually I focus on something else like a spot on the floor, the color of the dog’s shirt (I find it hilarious that animals now wear people clothing!), or the unicorn flying through the sky.
I also put myself in their shoes. The fast food workers are probably doing the best they can, the clock probably has a good reason for slowing down, and Netflix is just out to get me. Which I’m OK with. As far as I’m concerned, there are far worse things than a website that could be after me. I think that if the entire squirrel population banded together to attack me I would be worse off than Netflix making me wait for my movie. All in all, it’s a good trade.
The almighty dictionary.com defines patience as “the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.”
So I guess that means humanity needs to buck up. I know, I know, I enjoy letting everyone know of my issues, too, but that’s what makes me so impatient. Maybe if we all started putting others first we could actually get somewhere. This is so much easier said than done. I can’t count the number of times I’ve promised to put others first, and then I turned around and made sure the situation was right for me no matter the cost for the other people. But I think that maybe if I promise myself that enough it will actually come true. I do really try, if it helps.
That brings me to another definition of patience: “quiet, steady perseverance; diligence.” So that means we need to have patience (definition No. 2) to have patience (definition No. 1). That makes complete sense to me (no sarcasm used). So let’s do that. Let’s all have patience for patience.
Miriam A. Thurber is a sophomore at Unatego Central School. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/teentalk.