Patience fuckin’ blows.
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m a New Yorker. We’re not exactly known for being patient. Are you a New Yorker too? Just in case, I looked up the definition of “Patience” for you:
If you, out of morbid curiosity, ever wanted to see a human spontaneously combust, try this simple trick:
1. Put on a flame-retardant suit (just in case)
When it comes to patience, I’m probably worse than most. If “life is a journey, not a destination,” I’m the toddler kicking the back of your seat the whole way, whining “Are we there yet?” every five miles.
I don’t like waiting. I like schedules. I like knowing exactly when everything’s going to happen, so I can check my clock and do the backwards math. Appointments. Countdown clocks in the subway. I could save my time and my breath by just having a fleet of T-shirts screen-printed with my favourite catchphrase: “Are We Done?” I need to know! When we flew JetBlue back to New York from California (“The Indefinite Traffic Delay State”), I flipped back and forth from a Law & Order: SVU marathon on my screen back to the “map channel” during every commercial break: “Come on! It’s been ten minutes and we’re no closer to JFK than Benson and Stabler are to catching that serial rapist!” My tombstone will probably read “Oh, so I guess we’re done, then?”
What is the opposite of living an impatient life? “Be patient,” you say. Patient, for what? I’m supposed to just “wait quietly…” for what? For life to be over? Be docile, be content with inaction, just wait? And do what in the meantime, exactly? Twiddle my thumbs?
What exactly does “being patient” get me? Are you trying to say that if I stop looking down the tunnel, take a deep breath and a slow count to five, when I open my eyes, the G train will have arrived in front of me? BULLSHIT. Just because that one time you went to the bathroom in the busy restaurant and your food had arrived by the time you got back doesn’t mean patience is the answer to everything. The problem transcends patience vs. impatience. The problem is getting rid of “waiting” altogether.
What throws me is photographs. I look back at old photos and see a lady-in-waiting: I’m smiling with my lips closed, I’m waiting to get my braces off. I’m covering my face, I’m waiting for that pimple to vanish. I’m behind the camera taking the group photo, I’m waiting until I feel worthy of being part of the group.
But I like to take pictures of my plants. I took a picture of my plant when it was small. Then I took another picture months later. My plants, unlike me, are always perfect no matter their stage. Every morning I water my plants and check them for new signs of growth. I think it’s the one time of day I’m not being impatient.
Sometimes my plants shoot up quickly and it’s very exciting! Take the one that I split up into multiple pots, for instance: When a new branch buds, it looks like an uncircumcised penis. This is very exciting and I love boasting about these to my boyfriend: “We have a new penis growing!”
Most of the time, though, my plants are not shooting up penises. They just drink up the water I feed them, watch the sun rise and set, and don’t do much. They are patient. They grow when it is time, and know how to just be when it isn’t. My plants are living in the moment. Can I learn to be like my plants? Can I transcend learning to “be patient” and learn to just “be?” Is it just me? Are we all a little impatient?
Well, what are you waiting for?