Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

For many of us, the saying "hurry up and wait" brings back unpleasant memories of standing in long lines, sometimes in the dark and cold, waiting for something to happen. Men are not built to stand around and wait. Unfortunately, patience isn't usually one of the traits men are best known for. Nope, on the contrary, action and drive would definitely trump patience in most men.

I witnessed the hurry-up-and-wait phenomenon the other day on the highway. The flashing road sign let drivers know the left lane was closed one mile ahead -- and that's all it took. It was as if a red flag was waved in front of a bull, as car after car sped up and pulled into the left lane. And what was their destination? Why the front of the line, of course. That was the hurry-up part. The wait part came when the cars in the left lane had to slow to a stop until some generous soul in the right lane let them merge. I confess there are days when I purposely box out the hurry-up drivers so I don't have to wait.

For many guys patience is a word that doesn't quite capture a trait they possess. Many businesses know this quality about men and have made their products accordingly: quick-dry paint, instant glue, the car pool lane, the airport fly-by, check-in line, the-ten-items-or-less grocery check-out line, and one of my favorites: quick-set concrete.

While these conveniences are handy, still, sometimes the hurry-up thing isn't the best route to take.

I admit I use a gas grill, but for an Omaha Steak I get out the Kingsford briquets, douse them with lighter fluid and patiently wait for the coals to glow red orange. Sure, it may take longer, but you know and I know it's worth it. The same principle applies with primer and paint. I've used a paint-and-primer concoction, but nothing beats a coat of primer followed by a few coats of premium paint -- a day or two later. And here's one we all probably know. It may be faster to step on a chair to change the ceiling light bulb, but lots of pain and suffering can be avoided by taking the time to get the ladder out of the garage.

Patience is also a good thing when it comes to raising children. I have found it better to take the time to listen to why they came home after curfew than to hurry up and ground them when they open the door. It's also beneficial to wait until all the facts are given when listening to the teacher discuss your child's behavior. And it's always a good thing to sit patiently in the passenger's seat and hold one's tongue when teaching a teenager how to drive.

Men, there is a time for everything -- even patience -- and getting some is worth being in a hurry about.

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