I am the most impatient person you could meet. It’s not a title I crave and I am impatient with myself about it (see what I did there?) but perhaps I have a condition similar, but opposite, to OCD. And at this stage it is clear I will never change. In my opinion “waiting” is the worst word in the English language
Because I cannot wait. For anything. Obviously the kindle was invented specially for me. Getting a book in seconds makes my heart beat faster with joy. So were emails. In the stone age, whenever I walked back from a post box I would’ve loved to have a reply waiting for me … so now when I receive an instant answer to my email well, it’s better than sex. OK, not better but it gives me a good buzz.
If someone says “wouldn’t that table look better in that corner” it has to be moved NOW.
Wait for the coffee in the cafetiere to what .. flower? No, simply pour the water in, plunge and drink. (And the coffee tastes just fine.)
Sending an email to ask for something and waiting for a reply is not possible. A follow-up phone call is essential to tell them I have sent the email. (What is the sense in that? But I still do it.) And quite often my fingers are faster than my brain so my emails usually have typos and sometimes nonsensical words because of auto-correct. (For very funny lyrics about auto correct eg “When I said you were a whining spaz I meant to say shining star” and “when I said I wanted to kill you I meant kiss”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkorOOWwnN8
I cannot bear queues. I force myself in a post office and at the Edinburgh Festival where I recently spent a week doing it, because there is no alternative – but a restaurant? A theatre? Cinema? No way. Naturally I bank online where there is never a queue and when I need to phone I have chosen a bank which answers on the second ring (why not the first?). Last week I rang to track some goods I’d ordered and found out I was 4th in the queue. Instant slam of phone.
Dozens of things spring to mind … planting something and tapping my foot in irritation when I realise it will take time to flower; oh the agony in days gone by waiting for HIM to ring and picking the phone up constantly to check it was working; putting the minimum amount of water in the kettle so it boils soonest; in a supermarket I usually use self-service checkouts but sometimes there is more of a queue for them than at regular ones. Then I find myself clucking with impatience when the person in front of me suddenly realises they need to pay and starts looking for purse or wallet. (Do they think Superman is going to fly in with money?)
In the living room one wall was thoroughly washed, and pollyfilla-ed before a brush touched it. And one was painted over the cobwebs and dirt with any holes filled in with a glob of paint. To the naked eye, both walls look the same but guess which one I painted?
And so on and on …
But impatience can sometimes be a blessing. Not waiting can be called enthusiasm. No, really. One of my jobs on television came about because I couldn’t wait for the producer to ring back but phoned her with some ideas which she liked. Of course timing has to be crucial. But so far, touch wood, few have complained about my impulsive actions.
And when I was waiting with others at the University of Cape Town, when I was 12 for student teachers to be allocated to us for piano lessons, I marched into the Director’s office saying I had been waiting a whole ten minutes. He chuckled, made me sit down and play (my masterpiece, a composition called ‘The Duck’) and then allocated the teacher of those students to me. Unfortunately she kept on insisting on me having to practise when of course I expected to be able to play fairly instantly so it didn’t end well. But my point is that I got the best because I was impatient.
The only scary part of my impatience is that my daughter is (almost) as impatient as me. Says she has inherited this bad trait from me and not her sainted father’s tolerance and yes, patience. She reckons, after extensive research impatience works out about every five in 10 times. Of course this means the other five end up costing more time or hassle but the five triumphs are so sweet that the mere memory of them keeps her going. That’s my girl!
She said she would ring me this morning … think I will just give her a quick call to remind her!