Select Page

Ever since I was little, I have noticed an air of impatience about myself. When I see my nephew being told to be patient, and see him kind of sigh and desist with the incessant Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy soundtrack (which only sometimes refers to my sister), I think to myself, man, that -ahem- is hardwired. He looks like he might grow up to be patient. Maybe he’s Chilean.

Since I was tiny, sitting in the backseat of the giant forest green stationwagon with the beige vinyl seats with the waffleweave that would burn the living bewhosis out of the backs of your tender baby legs, I would ask “when?” or “how much longer?” or “are we there yet?” Given the distances we covered in that behemoth at eleven miles to the gallon, it is perhaps somewhat understandable. So too, would it have been understandable had my parents made me just get out of the car and wait until they came back. But this I was spared, perhaps because they are/were quite a bit more patient than I am.

Even now, I notice that I am perhaps, not as patient as other people. I could count all the drops of rain that fell on the Cotswolds last year in the numbers I let race through my brain, saying to myself, if you count to 10, 30, 127, this situation will have resolved itself. And eventually it does, and my patience-facade is rewarded and we all go on our merry way.

Chileans tend to be much more patient than I am. Americans probably are too, but I feel the difference much more acutely here, perhaps because the pokerface Chilean tells you nothing about how much he’d like to strangle you, while if the number thing doesn’t work out, I’m doing a circular high-stepping, footshuffling, fingernail inspecting, knuckle cracking, hair-twirling impatience dance. I once brought a knitting project on a long bikeride, so that when we stopped for lunch and everyone was enjoying their long sobremesa (lit: above the table, this is the after-meal banter that I love about Latin America), and I was itching to start biking again, I could knit (a scarf, I’m way too impatient to follow a pattern) and probably purl (though I never remember which is which) and staunch the need to just get out and ride.

Which brings me to another point. I’m incredibly patient with minutiae. In a recent post on bread I posed the marraqueta on a coffeetable, my own, which I mosaicked myself, tiny tile by tiny tile, each one with a glop of adhesive and tiny spacers between. I showed this same love for meticulous fixing and such on the spindles, banisters, and newell post in the built-in-1908 rowhouse I used to own in Washington, DC. So maybe it’s not that I don’t have patience. It’s that I’m not patient when I have to wait for another human to do something, like make a decision.

Which is why for the next eleven hours and thirty-five minutes, I will be in tenterhooklandia, waiting to see what the judges at the Lonely Planet blog contest will opine. Sadly, the popular vote (thankssomuch!) only counts for half of the final decision. As I mentioned recently on twitter, I found a relatively reasonably-priced plane ticket to SF, but even I am not crazy enough to spend that much money to go to a party where I might not even be celebrated, and where I have no guarantee of cake.

So look for me at 6 pm San Francisco time (9 PM east coast time), rapidly hitting refresh, taking a spin around the room and hitting refresh again. I don’t even know what the ramifications or the prizes for this contest might be, but still, impatience rules the day. Maybe I’ll go get my own piece of cake.