I am not a patient person by nature like the majority of the other women in my family. A single unsuccessful drive around a crowded parking lot at a shopping center is enough for my mother and one of my sisters to lose their shit and go home without even bothering a second rotation. I don’t drive, but I’ve typically been the person in line at the bus terminal tut tutting at how long it is taking a person to purchase a round trip ticket to Suffern because, really, how long should it take to purchase a round trip ticket to Suffern??? And how do some people manage to spend ten minutes at an ATM machine? How many transactions are they doing for the love of God?
Despite my genetic disposition for impatience, I’ve definitely become a bit more relaxed and “go with the flow” with age, even more so after I lost my best friend to cancer because how much time I wait in line at Duane Reade seems so trivial in comparison to the tragedies we face every day. But I do still have my moments and yesterday was one of them.
I needed to get my taxes done and my accountant is my mother’s former employer of close to twenty years. Even though my mom retired several years ago, he generously does her taxes, along with mine and my sister’s, for free. Since his office is near my mother’s house, I stayed over at her home the night before and we had a lovely mother/daughter night. On Sunday afternoon, my sister and her husband met us at the CPA’s office and after we each had our turn, the four of us went out for an early dinner. My mother assured me that a 4:30 dinner at the diner would be early enough to catch the 6:00 bus back to the city. If I missed that bus, I’d have to wait an hour and wouldn’t be back in my apartment until about 8:30. With Monday morning looming and very little time to myself over the weekend, I desperately wanted at least a few hours to decompress before going to bed and starting an entire week of work.
Enjoying my family’s company, I was oblivious to the time until my brother-in-law mentioned it was 5:38 and if I wanted to catch the 6pm bus, I needed to hurry. My mother suggested that we would be pushing it, but I insisted we at least try because I really did not want to have to wait another hour. I rushed to the bathroom and assumed the check would be paid in the meantime. (My mother already said she was treating us). When I got back to the table a few minutes later, they had just asked for the check. This was when I lost it. My sister offered to pick up the check so that my mother could take me to the bus, but my mother wouldn’t have it. I tried to throw cash at the table so we could get going but she said no. And then she pulled out her credit card. Knowing a credit card transaction would take even longer than paying cash, I became more and more vocal and emotional about my desire to go home. I’m pretty sure folks at other tables heard me, but I couldn’t help myself. I almost cried at the thought of getting home after 8 with practically just enough time before bedtime to unpack and prepare my lunch for the next day. I visualized the week ahead of me with zero downtime over the weekend and I barely remember kissing my sister and brother-in-law goodbye before yelling at my mom to hurry up. “Come on!” I begged. Significantly less stressed than I, my mom took her time, which only ignited my crazy flame! Then when she stopped the waitress to ask about a 10% off coupon, I stormed out of the restaurant, ran to the car, and stamped my feet until she finally emerged. It was a temper tantrum at its very best (worst).
Fast forward, I made the 6 o’clock bus and arrived at my apartment shortly before 7:30, which I considered a decent amount of time to unwind before bed. On the way to the station, I had apologized to my mother for being so insistent, but tried to explain how I was dreading a stress-filled week at the office and really REALLY wanted a little time to decompress. She understood as did my sister when I texted to let her know that I made the bus. But for most of the bus ride, I was so embarrassed and ashamed by my behavior and pondered exactly when I was taken over by a lunatic. It wasn’t the first time my freak flag waved at intense speed and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but I wasn’t proud of it. I stand by my desire to make the early bus. I even stand by my frustration over the possibility of missing said bus. I just wish I could have been a bit more subdued about it.
In those moments when “crazy impatient Meri” takes over, I sometimes wonder what people around me are thinking. What if the love of my life (a man I have not yet met or at least do not think I have) observed me in one of those moments and decided I might be cute, but I required anger management more than a dinner date? I worry that my best friend Alan was watching me from Heaven and shaking his head in disappointment. The problem is that once I find myself in one of these tailspins, there is no turning back until it has reached its natural conclusion. I cannot be talked out of it in the moment and it must run its course. The key is holding it all in to prevent letting any of the crazy out in the first place. I am successful most of the time, but as evidenced by last night’s incident, it’s far from foolproof.
I’m only human, you see, and I think my positive attributes way compensate for the negative ones, but I do hope other people lose their shit sometimes, too!
Do you? Please share an example in the comments so I know I’m in good company 🙂
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ALL THE TIME!!! Ever since the loss of my fiance, Jeff and the tragic loss of my best friend Tim, my patience is non existent. My case may be a little different, as I’m being treated for anxiety, severe depression, and a host of other fun things, but know that a lot of this is coming from a place where grief should be – and isn’t. In other words, going bat-shit crazy on your family could be the way you are dealing with the loss of your friend Alan. It doesn’t come out all the time, but when it does, it’s usually over the dumbest, smallest, most inconsequential, trivial little thing. Toothpaste left in the sink, for instance, made me scowl at my sister over the weekend. Dog hair on my pants from sitting on her couch got me too. They have had their dog for 5 years. I know when I visit I’m going to come home with dog hair on everything. Goodness, I could go on and on. Just please know that you are not alone. So many people, grieving or depressed or not, have these moments. Probably why your family just brushed it off and accepted your apology so fast. It’s part of being human. No big deal. I seem to be, “flying my freak flag,” quite often lately! It’s all good. Don’t worry!!
I’d never even thought that might be the reason as I thought I’d been more patient since he passed, but I have regressed recently and this could definitely have been a result of that. I’m so sorry for both of your losses – let that freak flag fly as high as it needs to!
Oh, yes, it seems the older I get the more “crazy Cindy” shows up. After she leaves, I think to myself, WTF, who was that person? Never in my life have I called a person a BITCH to their face. Might have thought it but when I hit my what I call my ” f*ck it fifties”, it seems I have no filter on my mouth. And I just turned 60 in Jan.so who knows this will bring. Anyway, about the bitch. 4 months after my mom died, I needed back surgery. I’ve had quite a few surgeries and that doesn’t bother me. In 2010, I had a brain aneurysm and every surgery since then, the anesthesiologist had done an a-line to keep better track of my bp so it didn’t go high. Well, the anesthesiologist didn’t think I needed it. I said then why was it done at this hospital 3 years ago and the same surgery. I want it so he tells the nurse, go get it, she wants it. He brings the cart and thinks he is scaring me by doing it right there. I said no, it has always been done when I’m out, you are out of your mind if you think you’re doing it while I’m awake and undrugged! So he calls the head anesthesiologist, who refused to introduce herself, didn’t look at me, read through my chart and said SHE doesn’t need an a-line! I yelled, hey, I want one. And she ignored me. I yelled go ahead, walk away from me BITCH while I’m trying to explain why I want one! At that time, they brought my husband in. Can you believe it was the first time he had ever been to the surgery holding area? And what does he see? Crazy Cindy crying, yelling, cussing, telling that I won’t be having surgery if that BITCH was going in with me. Truly, it was unreal! My husband was frozen just starting at me telling me to calm down.but it didn’t help. My Dr. came in and asked what is wrong. I told him and was sobbing that he better keep that BITCH away from me! He immediately told her she was of this case. And told them to bring me happy meds, you know to shut me up. 🙂 He said Cindy you handled this fine last time, you’ll be ok and she will not be in there with you. I told him this was the first surgery that I didn’t have my mom tell me she would be praying for me and she always reminded me that my grandmother would say Cindy don’t be scared. My Dr. actually held my hands and we said a Hail Mary and he asked God to watch over me and to keep his hands steady. He gave me a kiss on the forehead like you would a child. But it was what I needed. But I hope to God, I never have to go to that hospital again. I’m sure my records say ” difficult, foul mouth, crazy Cindy”!
Another time, I had your surgery on both of my big toes. I walk in cvs with my blue booties on since my toes were so wrapped up I couldn’t get my shoes on.. I give her my pain med rx and she says it will be 4 hours. What, are you kidding me!? Sorry, she says. So I swing my foot up and rest it on the counter in front of her. I said, see this? Well, the other foot looks the same and I cannot wait 4 hours! Do you want me to unwrap my toe so you can see where he removed the entire nail? She said let me talk to the pharmacist. Came back and had it ready in 5 minutes. And it was crowded so everyone saw” crazy Cindy” and her bandaged foot on the counter. When we got home, I told my husband I can’t believe I did that! He kind of mumbled, um, yeah, neither could I… He tries to stick to the drive through now hoping they don’t recognize him as the husband of that crazy woman who wanted her pain meds and she wanted them now! Not 4 hours later!
Sorry that I rambled on so. Probably went over the comment word limit!
I’m so happy that you rambled on! That was a great comment. I might have reacted exactly the same way if the people who were assisting in my surgery treated me like that – no bedside manner whatsoever! Your doctor, however, sounds wonderful. And so does your husband 🙂
Oh my Goodness Meri, so you are human. What man is going to want a woman who isn’t a saint? 😉 Seriously, though. I’ve flipped out like that more times than I care to remember. One man told me he found it attractive!!
Ha! I have heard that men dig crazy chicks so maybe I should flip out more often 🙂
I do relate. Especially at the grocery store. You know, I always pick the line with the person with fewest items, but for the love of God, why do you have to enter in every code manually?! Or, once, I was at Walmart, I was paying with a coupon, I made sure that I had the correct item with the coupon, and the cashier insisted on reading the fine print, despite the fact that I was running late for a wedding. She even snapped at me that she wouldn’t be fired to save me money. Seventy-five cents. Frustrating. Now at Walmart, I use self-checkout. It’s easier.
That would annoy me to no end!!! When stuff like that happens, I try to take a deep breath and remember that I’m not in a hurry and it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but sometimes it’s just not possible!
Since suffering a major loss years ago, in many ways I have learned to let a lot go. But at other times, I get impatient over the stupidest things! Personally, I think it’s because we’re all so overwhelmed with the demands of every day life that the smallest of things can pop our corks. I never used to be an impatient driver, but these days my teenage daughter probably thinks I need to take a Xanax while on the road. When someone gets in the fast lane, drives slowly, and refuses to move over to let traffic pass. Oh. My. God. This is me:
“You’re killing me, people!”
“Seriously? If you wanna go ten miles under the speed limit, get out of the f****** fast lane!”
What is the big deal? Really, is this the worst I have to complain about that it’s worth getting my dander up? But I think what upsets me about it is that I assume it’s someone being inconsiderate of others, when most likely they’re just in their own little world and oblivious. At least, that’s what I need to start telling myself to avoid an aneurysm. Haha!
That kind of driving gets to me as well – even as a passenger. I hate when someone passes me when I’m running and then slows down so I am right behind them. I end up sprinting to get far enough ahead of them that we aren’t shadowing each other.
I get it, though. Even as I was losing it in the diner, my inner voice was saying “if you get home an hour later and don’t have much time to relax, it’s not the end of the world” but I was too upset to let go.
In my family, I’m known to be the calm and organized one. That’s just one side of me, but there’s another side of me where I do act like a spoiled and whiney little girl when I don’t get my way, or when someone is doing something wrong. It’s pathetic–I know this–but I can’t stop myself. Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest and can “see” how things will end. Though, sometimes, thanks to my husband, I’ve now seen that most of the time, I just need a hug and a good cry.
You should feel good about this because your outburst only means your normal. It’s okay to have them, no matter what age we are. 🙂
Thank you, Isabella. That’s sort of why I wrote this post – I was very much hoping you guys would reassure me that I’m just normal and if you, as the calm one in your family, can admit to throwing tantrums on occasion, I feel much better 🙂
Yep, we’re related. I am extremely impatient. I hate to waste time waiting in lines. I hate being the one stuck in line behind the person at the checkout counter when he/she has an item that has no price tag or when the cash register paper has run out. A month after my dad died, I needed a new laptop. I thought I wanted a Mac and bought one because I had one 10 years ago and thought I’d switch from a PC to a Mac. Well, I hated it and plus, I couldn’t get the MS Word program to work even after calling the company. That was it. I was returning this computer. Well, I had all kinds of hassles and troubles, but because it was 2 years ago, I don’t even remember the specific incident/s, but I do remember losing my shit at the person at the counter and screaming that I was done and that I was returning the computer. I was a lunatic in public, something I had never done. Thank god my husband and daughter were not with me. (I am fairly confident I wouldn’t tantrum in front of my daughter the way I did there.) I did get the problem resolved—returned it and I recall I bought a PC later, elsewhere, but as people came into the store, I yelled at them to get out and find someplace with competent workers. Some of them actually, said, “I know what you mean,” although they did not leave. I can never go into that particular BEST BUY again. I am not blaming my insanity on my dad’s death (or am I?) but I am pretty crazy by nature. Unfortunately, my daughter shares the same crazy gene and throws a fit or cries at the age of 7 if she can’t find something, if something breaks, if the jewel falls of her hair band, you name it. I am afraid she’s learned this from parents, as my husband is quick to yell, as well. Can craziness be untaught? I will try to find out.
I don’t know if it can be untaught, but I’m sure there are ways to keep it in check. But once a crazy, always a crazy I think 🙂
*edit: “off” not “of.”
LOVE it! I put on a good front, but I definitely lose my shit from time to time. Just gives us more to write about! 😉
Very true 🙂
LOVE it! I put up a good front, but I definitely lose my shit from time to time. Just gives us more to write about! 😉
You need to write a scene like this for one of your characters in a future book. 🙂
I have lost it on occasion. The worst is when something frustrating happens and I’m at work and have to deal with it. Like problems with the school bus. One time, the bus driver dropped off my youngest at their other school but they left their cochlear implants on the bus and no one bothered to check before letting them off the bus. They are deaf without the implants. I couldn’t reach the bus company for a while and then when I did, the dispatcher was totally not cooperative about helping me get the CIs to my kid. I finally got them to tell me where the bus was going next and had my husband meet the bus over there. In any case, I was in an open office and too upset to think about making the calls in private, so I was just raging in front of everyone. One of the guys I work with asked if everything was okay and I felt embarrassed subjecting him to “Crazy Melissa.”
I also wrote an angry, but polite, e-mail to the principal of the school and some people at the bus company. The principal replied right away and was nice about everything. I hope she gave the bus company an earful. (Excuse the pun.)
I would have been pissed as well. A company who works with kids – like a school bus company – should be more cooperative when it comes to stuff like that!! I think you get a “get out of jail free” card when the reason you lose it is because you are caring for your children 🙂
Fascinating to see the length, depth and insight from other comments.
Yes, I do lose it, but rarely in public. I’m much more inclined to go home and rant to my husband (I think that’s a British trait, to act polite even when we’re seething inside!). And even though we know we’re sweating the small stuff, we still do it, don’t we….?
What I found interesting was the part where you said you can’t be talked down once you’re in motion. Recently, I’ve been doing a better job of observing my own feelings and deciding whether or not I want to proceed on that grumpy path. I’m not always successful, of course.
And I think there’s something about Sunday nights, too. I absolutely identify with the feeling of the weekend ebbing away and needing desperately to have some time to mentally prepare for the week ahead.
I definitely lack that “British” trait. The NYC one is quite the opposite!! In the moment, I really knew I should just relax, but I couldn’t stop. It was horrible. Maybe I’ll have better luck next time!
Oh, honey, I lose my shit all (all!) the time. In brighter moments, I tell myself that it makes life interesting, not just for me but for those around me, lol. Cheers and thanks for a great story.
Very good point. I definitely added a little spark to the bland surroundings at the diner – thank you for stopping by!
I may have been known to lose my shit on occasion. Not often in public, but always at home, or in the car where no one can hear me. Except my daughter – who will likely need therapy for all the shit losing she’s witnessed!
My mom used to lose it all of the time growing up! I think that must be where I get it from 🙂
Oh, completely, Meredith! But you know the key things from your piece: you recognized your freakout and you apologized to your family members. That’s all any of us can do when the freakout monster hits. 🙂
That’s true. And they were very cool about it. I think it might be because we are all so similar and it could have easily been one of them.
OMGosh, Meredith, you’ve written my story! I experience this every FREAKING morning I try to get my 9-year-old out the door to school. Holy crow can that kid take his time. And the more I lose my mind, the slower he gets! Trouble is, if I flip out, then I’m a bad mom. But argh!!! Put your dang shoes on! AHHH-SHIT-AHHH-SHIT-SHIT-AHHHHHH!!!
Okay, if Julie Valerie can lose her shit in front of people – even her children – I guess it’s not so terrible. I love you!
Oh Meredith, I do understand. I am usually very mild mannered, but when someone steps on the wrong nerve, watch out. Once (who am I kidding – one of many times) I was standing in line with a cart full of items I needed to purchase. Every other cashier line was just as long and moved ever so slowly. When it was my turn, the cashier said, “I’m sorry, I am closing for break> Please step to the end of another line.” Me – What Are you crazy? I’ve been standing in line for over 45 minutes. No, you can take you break when you are finished ringing me out. Well, that got me nowhere. So, I calmly took all of my items out of the cart, one by one, and dropped them on the floor by her register. I then stepped over them and walked out. BTW, when I got to the door, I turned and the next three people in line followed my bad example.
That would have driven me over the edge, too. I got stressed out reading it! I don’t blame you one bit and am not surprised the other people followed you. You can’t just randomly decide to take a break when you have a long line of customers. She should have stopped new people from getting in line and said she was taking a break once she dealt with the people already there. Grrr!!
My feelings exactly.
I am very impatient. I have gotten much better since I had kids, although in some circumstances it’s worse. Things like driving I take with more ease … and now I just part wherever in the lot. I usually just park next to a cart return. I am sure others look at me like I am crazy when I do lose it, but I don’t care!
I do care when I lose it, but I don’t care enough to stop!!
you are hilarious. even when you lose it. i do not know how you do it. hold down a full time job and write books and write long blog posts like these.
I don’t know how I do it either, Michelle. I’m working on adrenaline and think if I gave myself a real break, I might lose my mind. But I do get a lot of sleep 🙂