Impatient nation: we want it now!

amp”An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains.amp”
– Dutch proverb
There it was – a newspaper article on impatient Americans, and yeah, I was interested. That’s because I live with a Type-A personality whose middle name should be amp”Presto.amp”
Hubby G-Man laughs about it himself. He’s the kind who wants what he wants right then and there. No, that’s wrong. He’s the kind who wants what he wants yesterday. And he wants everybody else on his speedy schedule.
But this is a very good thing since I’m a laid-back, go-with-the-flow procrastinator and nothing would ever get done around our house if G-Man didn’t prod.
Want me to stand in a line of 50 people at the grocery check-out? Okay. No problem; I’ll watch folks and get ideas for columns. Want me to pack up and mail those sandals and plastic swords Wilkins and Jacks, our adorable twin grandsons, left under the guest room bed? Sure. Next week.
I mean, what is the big rush?
Well, according to the newspaper article, most Americans think there IS a big rush and we’d better be about the business of moving smartly.
Relating the results of a research study of over 1,000 adults, the story describes how an international polling firm called Ipsos found that amp”the average time Americans can wait in line in a store or office before losing patience is 17 minutes; the average time they can wait on the telephone before losing patience is 9 minutes.amp”
They also found that men get antsier than women in waiting situations (amp”Men are more than twice as likely to drop out of a slow-moving line!amp”), and older people are less patient than younger people. And here’s another interesting statistic: amp”People with college degrees and people with the highest incomes are less patient than those who have less education and lower incomes.amp”
These amp”three-minute-folks,amp” as one researcher called disgruntled shoppers, not only leave in a huff, they’re prone not to return. About half said if they were made to wait longer than they liked, they wouldn’t do business in that store again. Even worse, 20% of those polled admitted they reacted angrily, spouting off and saying things they later regretted.
Hey. Chill. Join me in my amp”easy-like-Sunday-morningamp” philosophy. Visit with the fellow behind you in line. File your nails if you have to hold the phone. Meditate. Read a book. Count sheep.
Several of us got caught in Mobile traffic recently while trying to get granddaughter Caroline to her dance recital.
amp”Hey, no problem,amp” I said to encourage her parents. amp”The recital doesn’t start for another hour.amp”
amp”Yeah, but she has to be there in 20 minutes,amp” fumed Emily, Caroline’s mom.
amp”Uh huh. And if she slips into line as they prance out onstage, nobody will be the wiser,amp” said I.
I could say that because G-Man wasn’t there. He’d have been driving over medians and making U-turns, and Caroline would have arrived in the dictated 20 minutes rather than bouncing in a mere 5 minutes late when all the tutu-clad and their harried mamas were still scrambling around backstage in no discernible order.
Who knew? We just joined the confusion, smiling and glad to be there – and so was our little ballerina.
Many have called the United States a amp”hurry scurry, impatient nation.amp” We are accustomed to our drive-thru fast food restaurants, our drive-thru laundries and banks, even drive-thru churches and funeral parlors. We want our zoom zoom computer connections and our instant remote controls. The clock is ticking; there’s no time to waste!
Naaa, summertime’s almost here – the perfect time to apply brakes. Let’s slow down and visit with friends and family. Let’s ditch the rush and, as the Good Book says, speak gently and walk humbly. Life is too short to bicker and fret.
I don’t know who said this, but I like it: amp”Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.amp”
Now, that’s what I’m talking about.
Beth Jacks is a columnist from Cleveland, MS. Her light look at life could qualify her as Mississippi’s answer to Erma Bombeck. Write: bethjacks@hotmail.com.

Chris Wilson