I never purchase deli meats at the deli counter. Instead, I buy those overpriced low-quality prepackaged meats that come in plastic containers. Why? Because it is faster.
But today, as I zipped past the lunch meat case, I stopped. Why was I in such a hurry? I couldn’t for the life of me remember. So I took a number. Three minutes later I was being waited on by a very nice deli counter lady, who not only took the time to make sure that she was slicing the meat to the thickness that I’d requested (though really, I had no idea what thickness I wanted having never done this before) but even offered me a piece to eat while I waited.
Do you know what? That tavern ham was pretty damn good. It almost can’t be considered the same food–or even in the same food family–as that flaccid crap I get in the plastic containers. I fear I may need to inform my husband about the switch. He may think that I failed to buy sandwich fixings as there’s no bright red Hillshire Farms tub in the fridge.
Do you know what else? I had a nice conversation with the deli counter lady. I never would have had that conversation had I continued to grocery shop at zipping speed. So today I talked to a nice woman and purchased a higher quality product–simply because I took an extra five minutes out of my day. And do you know why I was able to take an extra five minutes? Because working from home has increased my patience threshold.
Notice that I didn’t say ‘because now that I’m not working I have the time’. It would be ridiculous for me to imply that while working, one does not even have five extra minutes. Unless one is a 24-hour emergency room nurse, one does, in fact, have the extra five minutes. I’ve always had the time–I just didn’t want to spent it. Additionally, after practicing saint-like patience all day teaching middle school, I had zero patience left for anyone or anything else in my life. Today, after waiting for my ham and swiss cheese, I got in line…behind a senior citizen.
This is a huge step for me. Trust me. If you’ve ever been a senior citizen in front of me in line–or worse, in front of me on the road–you’d know what I’m talking about. And I’m not alone; I think that many people use up all of their time-waiting and patience-having abilities at their jobs. My wonderful, kind, gentle husband once told an actual old woman to ‘go f*ck herself’ when she cut him off in the bread aisle (to be fair, she also yelled at him first–but still. Not cool dear.)
For those of you who have taken a career break, did you notice yourself becoming more patient? Did you find that you were in less of a hurry all the time? And, most importantly, were you able to hold on to that mindset when you eventually returned to work?