Teri Vance: Check your tolerance and put it in gear
Sometimes when I pull up to a stoplight, I shift into neutral while I wait. Because I drive a manual, it’s easier to put it into neutral so I can just keep one foot on the brake, rather than one on the brake and the other on the clutch.
When the light changes to green, I often, without thinking, tap on the gas. That revs the engine, making it impossible to now shift into first gear. So then I have to wait a second (or maybe five) before I can get my car moving.
In that lapse of time, the people behind me can launch into a full rage. Seriously, in just a matter of seconds.
I understand most people don’t drive a stick anymore and are, therefore, oblivious to my problems. And I should be better at making sure it doesn’t happen. But, still, it seems like a gross overreaction to a delay of mere seconds.
Last week, I wrote about ways we can be more polite and aware of one another. So I thought I’d balance it out this week with ways we can be more tolerant.
Of course, I can easily recognize ways others should be more tolerant of my quirks … it’s much more difficult to acknowledge ways I should be more tolerant.
Like when I go shopping with my mom. And she writes a check. Every. Single. Time. This world isn’t set up for checks. All life comes to a standstill when she breaks out the checkbook.
“What’s the date?” she’ll ask.
Then, she verifies the amount, which she writes in her best — read: slowest — penmanship.
It takes a thousand years.
Just when you think it’s done, she needs to show ID.
Now, you think it’s really done, but, no, she has to write the transaction down in the register.
By this time, I’ve started to eat my own face.
So, clearly, I have my own shortcomings when it comes to being patient.
Readers shared some of the ways they hope others will increase their tolerance.
They ranged in severity, such as avoiding road rage to indulging other’s tastes in what may seem like unappetizing food.
Craig Skinner pointed out, “Some people overreact because it seems they enjoy overreacting.” He mentioned people who loudly protest when one line at the grocery store is moving slightly faster than another or those who erupt in profanities over a parking space when there are plenty more available.
My friend Erin Peters from Ruby Valley said, “People need to chill out about putting their kids in 800 activities and then complaining that they have no time to do anything because their kids have to be seven places every night. Look, we grew up without dance classes and music classes and Little League and somehow, we turned out to be well rounded adults. Or, maybe I need to chill out about people not being available because their kids are too busy to let them hang out!”
I sort of came to the same conclusion. We can all do a little better.
I was talking to my husband about it, and he started listing all of the things I could work on letting go. As the list continued, I finally had to stop him.
There needs to be a line somewhere.
Like everyone, I’m a work in progress. So let’s all be patient with each other as we work on our patience.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.