Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dude, be cool...

I am not a patient person. 

I am not calm, relaxed, mellow, lenient, easy-going, accommodating, serene, or imperturbable.  In fact, I had to look up all of these synonyms of patient because they are not even in my vocabulary.  I only knew the ones at the bottom, under antonyms: agitated, unwilling, intolerant, impatient, and frustrated.  Those are words that I (and pretty much everyone else) would use on a list of "10 words that describe Kirsten."  But never patient. 
 

Now, before I go on, I know that as some of you read this, it will remind you of times when I have not been patient with you personally.  This would be any time in which we have occupied the same physical realm of existence, including but not limited to face-to-face conversation, email, instant message, letters, postcards, telepathic messages, candy-grams, time capsules, and those fortune tellers that you made in elementary school by folding pieces of paper and adding colors and numbers.  You all have stories, I know. 



I started thinking about this, shall we say unique, part of my personality yesterday. I was having a conversation with a colleague about how we are both "Type A."  We were trading stories about how completely inflexible we can be, particularly when it comes to getting things done.  I, like my co-teacher, like to have things done now, and in the exact way in which I have instructed.  If I wanted it done in five minutes, I would have said "In five minutes, can you..." But I didn't say that.  I said "Go.  Now.  Get it done."  And this is true for everything: folding laundry, quitting smoking, whatever it is you have told me you are going to do (okay fine, whatever it is that I have told you you are going to do); I expect instantaneous results with no complaining from you, or there will be a whole lot of complaining from me. 

Under the joking about our unusually resistant personalities, there was a sense of commiseration, or shame even, because we know that it is not really healthy for us or our relationships.  We both know that we drive our spouses, friends, and family completely bat-shit crazy.  At least, I know that I do.  I know because you do not all put up with it quietly.  And thank God for that--if you people didn't put me in my place I can't even imagine what my life would be like.  Well, I can.  Shit would get done when and how I want it, but there would be no one around to marvel at my efficiency and genius, so what would be the point?  So, I appreciate that you are all willing to point out when I am being overbearing, even if my response is "I want results, not excuses!" 

I am not going to be so rash as to suggest that I will (or even can) change.  But I will admit that maybe I should try to be a little more laid back about things.  Once I Google "laid back" and figure out what the hell it is and how one goes about being that thing, I will see what I can do.  The great irony being, of course, that changing such an integral part of my personality will take time, the one thing that I never allow for other people.  So maybe this will not at all lead to my being a more relaxed person myself; in fact, I can't really imagine who I would be if I wasn't impatient and anxious.  That person would not be "me" anymore.  But perhaps trying to change will help me to develop some level of empathy for those of you who routinely have to put up with me and my less than accommodating personality, and will stop me from being quite so obnoxious. 

Or you can just do what I tell you the first time, and we won't have any more trouble. 

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