Monday, December 03, 2007

Meine Zeit

It's a cold and blustery day in Ontario. It rained last night and the roads are treacherous. It took a long time to get to work this morning. Usually, as I get more and more frustrated by the poor driving habits of many motorists and bad road conditions generally, I mutter bad words under my breath, sometimes in two languages. Today, I was mostly lost in thought as I waited in traffic, and as I missed yet another opportunity to make a left turn from a long queue of cars all waiting with the same purpose, I heard myself sigh and utter the words: "Meine Zeit."

I don't recall using those German words in an exclamation of resignation and frustration for decades, or perhaps even ever. It was my mother who would sigh those words when she got impatient about something. The words mean 'my time,' and might fall into the same category as 'my goodness,' as an exclamation. Time, in the context of having to wait for dozens of vehicles to make it through an intersection would, of course, be something to exclaim about!

My mother has been gone for over five years now. She and I were much alike, something that didn't always allow a harmonious relationship between us. Although each of us had virtually unlimited patience in the pursuit of life's larger goals, each of us had no patience to speak of in smaller matters. My mother's impatience used to drive me crazy as a child and young man, much as my own now surely tortures my son, Zachary. Poor kid.

I had great respect for my mother, though. She was very bright and in all ways except her impatience was a great role model for her children. I miss her and wish that my son had gotten to know her for longer than the ten or so years he was able to share with her.

Today, the first working day in a new calendar month, is the day on which I buy everyone in our office lunch, to celebrate another successful billing to our customers for the month just passed. I'm waiting now, more patiently than usual, for our lunch orders to arrive.

Did I just say "more patiently?" I must be getting old.


  1. It seems to me to be a thing that works the reverse as it does with other people: In my youth I was so patient I was often called slothful, whiles my classmates rushed to and fro expending energy like mad in desperate persuit of that Walkman, pair of Nikes, or other all-important fad du-jour.
    The older I get, the less patience I have, as I realize time waits for no one, and is not the ally of nations or individuals (perhaps you recall a CFN post in which I advocated "GET ON WITH IT!!!" as a national motto?).
    The fact your time means something to you is unfortunatly, insignificant to the fart dicking along at less than half the speed limit ahead of you, and too short to see over the dash, or the zit-faced parrot at the vendor, who can't do anything but repeat part of what you just asked him for.
    Uttering a few of my mother's fave Arabic oaths has been known to be my habit in such instances.

  2. I take after my dad. I'm very patient. But then again, I'd have to be with 5 children. :o)

    What I find interesting (my Fair Maidens and I often talk about this) is that we've noticed many elderly people with little to no patience. When we are at the grocery store or any other store, some are in such a hurry that they run you down. some complain about the lines, and are plain rude. I'm thinking, "What's your hurry? Where do you have to go?" Now I understand, like everyone else you might be running late, but where is the common courtesy? But when I see some of these elderly people being slow, I think of my grandma. So for me it's easier to deal with. I would want someone to show patience and kindness to my grandma. Well, she's gone now, but that's the way I've always seen it.

    I am known around here as the one with the lead foot. I admit, I speed. But if one is driving slow or the speed limit, "Hello, move over and drive on the right side." This only applies to those that I encounter on the road that aren't elderly. LOL!

    Where we live there aren't many Hispanics. So, should (and I'm sorry to say I do) I lose it, I'll say something I shouldn't in Spanish. To be more precise, I'll say something in Panamanian. My mom was the one that would... ah... lose it. So, I guess I take after my mom too. LOL!

  3. I think what bothers me is not that I will be several minutes late in getting somewhere but the complete disdain that some people have for the rights of others. If I am lollygagging around, looking for a particular address or just enjoying the scenery, I pull over to let everyone pass. All I expect is for everyone to be courteous and considerate.

  4. Galt: Arabic oaths? That should be interesting!

    Lady~g -- since Panamanians speak Spanish, are there expressions unique to Panama that wouldn't be used elsewhere in Latin America?

  5. Not so much the that the expressions are different, but the words are different.

    A Puerto Rican friend of mine once said a word that made my mouth drop to the floor and my eyes bug out. She looked at me and asked what happened. I told her what it meant in Cuban and we both had a huge laugh about it. For her is meant bread, for a Cuban it a a very vulgar word for a private part.

    Same thing with Cuban word for a person's behind and the Panamanian word for a person's behind. The vulgar word for the Cuban is the acceptable word for Panamanians. Yet the acceptable word for the Panamanians is a vulgar word for the Cubans. Different dialects.

    Imagine how confusing it was growing up in our home. But it sure was fun!