Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Turn!

I described one personal fault yesterday, and turn to another today. If I wanted to, I could stay in this vein to the exclusion of all else, but I try to spare you of my failings when I can. Anyway, recently I went to do some laundry only to find all three washing machines (which are meant to serve a complex of over thirty units, and often do) occupied by the task of cleaning someone else's clothes. It was the same story last time. Obviously I am unsympathetic to the needs of these anonymous rivals. The whole thing has me thinking about waiting one's turn or just being in line. They say that in England there's a proud tradition of "queueing up". I suppose that's not the American way, and it may not even be the English way anymore.

Waiting my turn and then taking it can be hard for me. Merging into traffic while driving was a frequent nightmare. You have to wait and wait and wait, then seize your chance before someone else does. It's a similar story when I am in a prayer circle, and the dreaded words "popcorn around" are uttered. Several people are about to offer prayers in succession, with no logical order to it. It's exactly the same as merging into traffic, and as nerve-wracking. Prayer's meant to be soothing, right? I like it a thousand times better when waiting takes the form of linear progression. I can grasp that. Waiting in conventional lines such as the grocery store checkout is easier to deal with, if no more sure of passing quickly and uneventfully. There's something about being forced to stay with the situation but also have diversions to keep you stimulated that makes it not so bad. Maybe the tradition of having waited in lines of that kind with my mother since I was a child makes it a kind of tedious walk down memory lane.

The laundry is tough in the sense that the line is there, but is imaginary and difficult to firmly identify. A grievance with someone ahead of you cannot actually be aired unless by chance you and they go to the laundry room to check on things at the same time. For me, the vitriol seems to dissipate when I'm actually faced with my foe in such a scenario. I shy away from confrontation in most cases, but especially so when the person I've been swearing at vehemently in my mind is a 4' "10 housewife approximately 55 years old. She could definitely take me on. It's like the "Boy Named Sue" thing, I figure.

Actually today, it was a woman who couldn't have been very far from my own age, and was of a quite normal stature. She walked by me to the parking lot with some potted plants, so I didn't realize it was her who had her clothes in the machines. I stalked off in the opposite direction, not realizing she had doubled back and entered the laundry room. I think she heard me venting, because she politely apologized, and made room for me to get my laundry done. I of course felt mortified that the subject of my words actually received them, so I struck up an amiable conversation with her in the hopes of making up for my lack of decorum. I think it worked.

I'd say I have more work to do on dealing with delayed gratification, which is probably true, but the fact is that almost none of the things I'm thinking of actually result in a great amount of gratification. It's just chores that have to get done, not a package coming in the mail. It's more like delayed relief. I have to get better at that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What say you, netizen?