Perhaps you have noticed that patience is not my strength. I want people to be quick, concise and to the point. I need them to get out of my way when I am trying to work and let me do my job. If someone calls me over to their table to order and it is clear that they are no where close to being ready to order, my attitude towards them will drop a few hundred points. When I see something that needs to be done, I do it. For example, last night when I noticed that my home supply of tequila was low, a trip to the liquor store happened immediately. No wasting of time.
There was show last week at work that must have had an AARP discount because the entire audience was full of people who were born at the beginning of time Most of them could probably recall the day they first rode in the Ford Model-T or what it was like when fire was discovered. They were old. Like I think one lady was the daughter of Betsy Ross. Between their age, their walkers, their canes and hearing aids, it made it right near impossible for me to serve them. They meandered around the room before the show started leaving me no place to walk with my tray. At one point, a man who was at least as old as paper was standing in the middle of the one aisle and yammering away about how when he was a kid he had to walk ten miles uphill in the snow just to get to school. I politely said, "Excuse me" but he didn't hear me. I said it again. And again. I was getting very frustrated and couldn't help but picture him in his living room on his rug saying "I've fallen and I can't get up." I tried again. "Excuse me, sir, but if I could just slide right by you..." Nothing. I looked at a woman who was watching the whole thing transpire. She shrugged her shoulders and smiled. "I am talking, aren't I? You can hear me, right?" She confirmed that my vocal chords were in fact operating. Visions of elder abuse danced in my head and I pushed them out of my thoughts. I finally gave up and went over to the stage to cross it so I could get to the other side of the room.
Coming back, Grandpa Joe was still in the aisle talking about what it was like for him to deliver mail for the Pony Express. I noticed he had a hearing aid. He had a sweet smile and kind eyes and the people he was talking to were looking at him with love and affection. I assumed they were family members. He saw me this time and said, "Oh I'm so sorry. Am I in your way?" I smiled back at him and simply said, "No, sir. You're fine." He finished his story and then went back to his seat as I patiently waited. He patted me on the shoulder when he walked by and smiled at me again. I thought about my Mamo Rita and how slowly she moved sometimes when she had to use her walker. I hoped that no waiter was ever frustrated with her and that no one ever mistreated her just because she was old. Grandpa Joe gave me a lesson in patience that day and he didn't even know it. I guess that's what our elders do for us. They teach us things. Even if it's something as simple as "let the old man finish his story" it's a good lesson to learn.
As of today, I am on vacation. As you read this, my ass will be in a plane going to Miami to soak up some sun and vodka. This post was a new one, but don't be surprised if you see some tired ass repeats over the next few days. -BW
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