Patience is a virtue

One the Irish do not seem to possess.  Perhaps it’s having to deal with the government and their seemingly glacial movement that makes people impatient.  The other day I was at the bus stop waiting (as usual) and there was a young woman there as well.  Another woman came up and asked her if she’d been waiting long.  “Oh, AGES.”  She’d been waiting no more than 20 minutes!  I can do that standing on my head (to turn a phrase).

This morning I was just getting out of the shower (I was going to say “hopping” but I don’t do that any more) and the doorbell rang.  I grabbed my robe and was at the door in about a minute.  The postman was trying to jam a large envelope through the slot and was surprised when I opened the door!  He said he thought no one was home and he was going to try to get it through the slot.  Honestly?  It took me like a minute, no longer.

The same thing happened when we were looking for a place to live.  I looked at a place that had real potential but Claude had already started his job and wasn’t available to look at it right then.  I told the agent that I wanted to consult with my husband and would get back to him as soon as possible.  We talked about it and then he & I looked at the place we’re living in now and I fell in love.  We contracted immediately with the landlord.  After all was said and done I called the other agent to let him know we had taken another letting.  He said he’d figured as much since he hadn’t heard from me!  Keep in mind that it had been less than 24 hours since I had spoken with this agent and he had already given up on me.

At restaurants the service staff will apologize for making you wait for a table, but they barely give you enough time to peruse the menu before they’re asking for your order.  And yet at retail establishments people just queue up and no apology is offered by the clerks.  At bus stops people practically jump out of their skin waiting.  Walking in a crowd is a study in patience, as some people will impatiently swing around you if you are not walking fast enough, some will play chicken to see which of you will move first (I always win), and some will meander at your pace until you realize that they’re being polite and move out of the way for them.

The worst place is the grocery store.  Of course here in Ireland everyone brings their own bags in which to pack the food home, otherwise they charge you extra for a plastic bag.  So you have to unload your cart or basket onto the conveyor belt and then pack it at the other end.  This process goes very quickly and if there are people behind you, the clerk is only going to wait long enough for you to pay up and then they’re on to checking out the next shopper.  If you’re slow enough bagging your items the other person’s groceries can start mingling with yours – and worst of all, you get dirty looks from the next customer because it’s you who is holding up the process!

Yes, patience is a virtue, one I never thought I possessed until I moved to Ireland.  I’m going to keep grooming this particular quality, as I believe it has life-lengthening properties.

— Cindy


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