Still True: Impatience Is A Virtue

by Julie on May 7, 2012

Since turning fifty, I have discovered something about myself which I am finding is not necessarily a bad virtue. Impatience.  We have all heard the saying that “Patience is a Virtue.” Well, I’m not feeling it anymore. I think it’s okay to be impatient with people who take advantage of the system. As I grow older, I find it’s necessary to call out people who waste your time (though maybe not to their face but that’s the benefits of having a blog). For example, I like Starbucks. In our small lakeside town, we have one drive-thru fast food restaurant, but 462 Starbucks. You can find one on every corner and in every grocery store.  So you may be surprised to know that until recently, I rarely, if ever visited a Starbucks despite the fact that I crave their iced lattes. Why?  Because for me personally nothing is more ridiculous than standing in a long line watching people order the most over-the-top drinks. Any drink that takes you twenty minutes to order is bit presumptuous. And yes, these are actual drinks:

Yes, hi, I’ll have a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot (two shots decaf, two shots regular) latte with whip.

Good Morning.  Can I get a Venti sugar free Carmel Latte Skinny, add shot, extra foam, no whip, made with soy milk.”

“Yes, I’d like the regular: Triple Venti Sugar free, Non fat, No foam, extra caramel, with whip caramel macchiato. Then pour regular coffee down the side with 2 packs of raw sugar and a stir stick on the side.”

So imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered a drive-thru Starbucks, the first one in our small town, opened a few blocks from me.  I am now their most frequent customer.  They recognize my voice right between the “Good” and the “Morning” and have my order ready so quickly that I barely slow to a stop at the window. I can listen to my favorite radio station, balance my checkbook, apply lipstick, all while ignoring what the person in front of me is ordering. It’s a win-win.

As I grow older, I find that I tap my foot more often at people who stand in line in front of me and take their sweet time.   My mother swears I’m just like my father but I have been that person at Subway who is behind the customer ordering two dozen foot-long unusual sandwiches when all I want is a plain tuna. You know when the person in front of you pulls out a piece of paper longer than your Christmas list, you are in trouble. It is at that point you want to calmly point to the sign at the register that says, ” Call Ahead for Large Orders!”

It’s the same when you are standing behind the customer in the express lane at the grocery store.  You know what I’m talking about.  This customer has just “a few” items over the maximum fifteen items, but, “I know you won’t mind.”  They then proceed to speak ad nauseum to the cashier about a new recipe they are trying that evening while organizing their coupons in alphabetical order.  This dreaded customer then insists they have been overcharged for a head of lettuce by four cents.  By the time the price check has been completed your gallon of milk has expired. So when is patience not a virtue?
Childbirth
Potty training
Overnight retreats with your daughter’s Girl Scout troop
Waiting in the Doctor’s office while your child screams with an ear infection..
It’s Christmas Eve, you just finished wrapping the last gift, thawed the turkey and your husband asks you, “Do you need help?”
Your teenager stumbles down the stairs at 2:00 in the afternoon and asks “What’s for breakfast?”
This is not to say that I want the world to stop for me.  I don’t want the freeways to part because I’m running late for an appointment, nor do I need to jump to the head of the line at the movie theatre refreshment stand, though I will never understand why those lines move so slowly. But being impatient is not the bad thing it is sometimes made out to be. Just ask the woman screaming for an epidural.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Josselyn May 9, 2012 at 2:20 am

Love this Blog! Julie ‘s sense of humor and journalistic skill is a true gift. It’s time for a book!!!

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Suebob May 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm

So when you’re in line, what does impatience buy you, except ulcers? I really want to know, because I, too, am the person back there rolling my eyes and I’m hoping there’s something to be said for it.
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Nicki May 11, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Ha! I love this! The older I get, the more impatient I become. And I always said that I need to study a manual before I will be qualified to order a drink from Starbucks! I just get the Venti Pikes Place (yup, that is ALL I say) then call it a day!
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Sarah May 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

My joke is always, “Patience is a virtue … that I lack.” So now maybe I will go with the simpler, “Impatience is my virtue.” Because, yeah, I have blogged about that jerk in the express line. I hate the people who order the drinks that take time. (I, too, am such a Starbucks regular that I can conduct my transaction without words.) And I generally have no use for people who don’t do things efficiently. I like the idea of not having to look at any of this as a character flaw, so thanks for that! :)
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