I am a professional waiter. Not a food server in your favorite dining establishment, but a sitting, gathering dust lingerer. It's my job as a pharmaceutical representative to wait for a doctor until they have a free moment to sign for samples and speak to me about drug information. We all know how busy health care providers are these days, the wait time can make your trip in from the parking lot fell about as recent as the dinosaurs reign.
Not that we don't all have our turns at waiting. In their lifetime the average American spends eight hours waiting for red lights, two years on hold and two to three years waiting in line, much more if they go to Disney World. As a professional I am pleasant and serene as I pass the time chatting with anyone who walks by or browsing magazines. Heck, I'm downright chipper. On the outside. All this practice should make me terrific at biding my time, but it seems to making me worse.
My husband points out that I should take it in stride, after all I'm getting paid regardless, right? Has he seen my to do list? I need to make the most of my day. When I come out of an office it feels like a slow motion scene in a movie suddenly going to live action. Let's move people, it's go time, work to do, errands to run and kids to raise. I don't even have the patience to go inside a store for a drink, it's drive-thru all the way. Heaven forbid there be a slow car in the left hand lane of the interstate that a little gentle persuasion can't convince to move over. Video clips that can't download instantly on my phone are skipped. DVR is a beautiful thing, I can watch a week's worth of shows in two hours.
Some might say I'm a classic example of a driven technology focused Gen X who wants everything right now. I would argue that I've spent too much time waiting and it's made me more than a little unbalanced. Not to mention that the quality of the waiting has not always been the most pleasant.
A particular instance comes to mind where I was kept waiting in the rudest way possible. At an office I was visiting for the first time, when I approached the counter the receptionist was on the phone and motioned for me to step back from the counter. Several patients entered and joined the line as she continued her ten minute conversation about broken marriages and cat fights at the VFW casino night. Finally hanging up she waved the line forward. Being first I bounced forward with a bright smile, only to be cut short when she announced loudly across the room "not you". My smile faltered only slightly in my embarrassment as I stepped aside. Once everyone else had been helped I looked up hopefully, but she needed to open up all the mail first. Before she was finished two more patients came in. Maybe after all this it would be my turn? I could check-in and find out if they even needed my services? No, it was not to be. I had been standing at the receptionist desk for more than thirty-five minutes when she stood up and glared at me. "I'll be with you in a minute." Then she walked away. Seriously. I couldn't help myself. The professional calm, cool, and collected exterior cracked. Even my good Christian nature slipped a little. I announced to her retreating back, and the waiting room of patients that were starting to look sorry for me, "No, no you won't", and I walked away. Call my behavior childish, but I think we should all be able to expect some common decency and respect.
I was thinking about all this when a telemarketer called tonight for a charity. Normally I try to get off the phone as quickly as possible, hanging up if I have to. This time I stayed on the phone, listened to the schpeel and politely declined. When I wished the gentlemen a good evening he said I was the first happy person he'd spoken to all day. That's just sad. He waits for someone to pick up the phone all day and one out of a hundred wasn't rude. I'll bet he uses the drive-thru too.
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