Lately whenever a service provider takes longer than what seems like 30 seconds to get to me she apologizes for making me wait. Since I have usually been oblivious to any inconvenience, it makes me wonder why the apology seems necessary. Similarly if when I pull forward as a light turns green in the time it takes me to put pressure on the gas pedal the person behind me is honking his horn. Apparently I am supposed to be ready in an instant to tear off from the stop. ( I don’t do that because so many people are running stop lights lately that I have to make sure no one is racing through.)
I think that a many people in American society have never had any “wait training.” Growing up, I had numerous occasions to learn to wait. Waiting was considered a virtue best taught through numberless opportunities to practice it. A phrase much used in connection with this schooling was “hold your horses.”
Dinner was at a set time. The time was set by my mother, not by the four of us. “Dinner will be ready when it is ready” was the clue that we were going to have another chance to learn to wait. As the oldest I was constantly told to “wait for your brother” or “wait for your sister.” This was not negotiable nor was any other opportunity to wait. “Don’t rush me.” “Keep your britches on.” More lessons.
Charlie and I lived in a house with one bathroom and three girls who needed to use it. This was graduate level training, particularly for Charlie! “I’ll be out in a minute” rarely had any meaning when it was uttered by a teen age girl. Of course that same girl could be heard to moan “Let me in–I’m dying out here.”
As I look at the picture of my grumpy self shown above, I admit that I wasn’t happy about having to wait. But I didn’t complain. “Complaining won’t make any difference!”