Chat with the chief: The waiting game

If I’ve learned anything about people during my time on this planet, it’s that everyone needs to gain a little patience.

Patience seems to be a rare commodity among many people, and I don’t quite understand why everyone is in a rush all the time. Sure, maybe here and there I’m in a hurry to get somewhere, but most of the time, I’m fine waiting a few extra minutes.

Unfortunately, that’s not true for a lot of people.

Just recently, I was out of town camping with my family. The drive back to Ferris was supposed to take two hours. About 30 minutes
into my drive and two miles before I had to take an exit, the expressway was consumed with standstill traffic. I was a little annoyed, but I
wasn’t in a huge rush to get home. I was fine.

Everyone else around me was not fine. People were driving as far as they could go in the closed lane, then whipping into the open lane, consequently cutting off other cars and prompting people to lay on their horn. This was all in an attempt to get just a little bit further ahead in the line of backed-up traffic.

As I sat in my truck on the expressway, actively avoiding getting smashed into by these reckless drivers, I wondered why everyone was so desperate to get to their destination. Was the driver about to miss a flight? Was he on his way to the biggest job interview of his life? Was someone in labor in the backseat?

I’ve found that a lack of patience exists basically everywhere. I see people all the time getting angry with their waiters or baristas because the line ahead of them is long and their food is taking a little bit more time than usual. Some drivers do a rolling stop at stop signs with crosswalks, nearly hitting pedestrians. People double-text just minutes after sending the first message and not getting a response, afraid that the receiver is ignoring them.

We live in an age where information and products are frequently available at a moment’s notice. Between speedy delivery of fast food restaurants, one-day shipping offered by many online retailers and the surplus of knowledge at our fingertips thanks to the internet, people don’t have to wait nearly as long as they once had to to get what they want. And while this is great, it weakens everyone’s willingness to wait.

I know waiting can be annoying. Sometimes, you really need to be somewhere or you need to have that product or meal in your possession quicker than it is becoming available. However, I think we could all benefit from taking things a little slower.

If you have to wait an extra five or ten minutes, stop and smell the roses. Take that extra time to look around, people-watch, pick up a newspaper or check your phone. Unless the wait is ridiculously long or it’ll make you late to a vastly important appointment, it really won’t throw your day off very much.

As for my traffic catastrophe, I just sang really loudly to Panic! At the Disco and it got me through. At the end of the day, I made it to my destination, and I don’t even care anymore about that extra 30 minutes I lost.