Nancy Roman

Just A Second

There’s an old joke:  The definition of a split second is the interval between when the light turns green and when the guy behind you honks his horn.

We all know we’ve been there too….both as the honker and the honkee.

But I’d like to suggest – as part of my Year Of Kindness – that we give it a rest.

Let’s try to give everyone just a second or two more of our patience.

I’m not asking you to wait until you’ve missed the green light completely. Just give the poor schmuck a second.

And here are a few other moments of patience we should consider:

– When you ask your spouse to do something, and he says “Sure,” but remains on the couch. Give your loved one the benefit of the doubt. Maybe ten seconds’ worth. Or if you love the person, maybe even 20. He might get up and do as you asked, and you won’t have to yell obscenities at your alleged loved one.

– When the old person in the supermarket stops her cart in the middle of the aisle while she peruses the canned goods. Are you really in such a hurry that you have to move her cart aside while she picks up the green beans? Wait a second, please. If you move her cart, most likely she will apologize, when maybe it should have been you doing the apologizing.

– When you are out walking your dog, and he wants to go back to get another whiff of that tree. Go back and let him sniff. Sure he is supposed to be obedient. But you are walking the dog for his benefit; it should be fun for him too. Smelling pee is the dog equivalent of window shopping.

– When the sales clerks are talking to each other instead of waiting on you. Yes, that is rude as well as bad customer service. But I was recently waiting for the deli clerk to cut me some bologna, and she was chatting with her fellow bologna-cutting co-worker. It probably took her an extra twelve seconds to give me my cold cuts because she was chatting. But it occurred to me that I used to like to talk to my friends at work too. And I could spare the 12 seconds.

– When the guy ahead of you finishes pumping his gas, and then gets in his car, and you wait for what seems like a century for him to drive away so you can pull up. He’s putting his credit card away. You are not going to run out of gas while he buckles his seat belt. And on that subject, if you are ready to take out your paintball gun because you are waiting for my parking place, just remember that you are watching me pull out. I am not a good parker or un-parker, so I am being extra careful. I’m slow BECAUSE you are watching me.

– When your pre-schooler – or your oldest relative – is telling a story, and OMG, it is the most meandering route to the point ever. Please. You love this happy wanderer. Let him tell the story. Avoid suggesting he wrap it up. Try to limit the eye-rolls. (You can roll them if you are on the phone.)

– When your waiter disappears. Talk to your dinner companion. You can do it. Eating alone? Talk to the people near you. Don’t know what to say? I’ve started asking folks to name their favorite Beatles song. Interesting conversation guaranteed.

– When the sermon is long. Let your mind wander. The service will be over eventually.

– When the traffic is backed up. Let you mind wander. You’ll get there eventually.

– When you’ve already been in the waiting room for forty minutes, and you’re finally in the examining room and you’ve been shivering in your paper nightgown for another 15 minutes, and the doctor still hasn’t come in. Let your mind wander. Pretend that the guy in the next room has cancer and the doctor is holding his hand while he cries. There, now. Don’t you feel a lot better?


What I am saying is: Just Try. Just try to give people a few more seconds of your time.

I am not saying there is not a place for righteous indignation. For demanding change. For not tolerating things to remain as they are.

But that place is for when people – or their rights – are in jeopardy. Be impatient for justice.

Not when you wish little annoying stuff would move along more to your liking.

Let me put it this way:

Patience = Good:   When your loved one, neighbor – or the poor schmuck behind
the counter- slightly inconviences you.

Patience = Bad:      When people, nature – or the world – is suffering.









  1. Exactly right, why the rush.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here here,I already do most of these things, why because I am mostly a patient person and generally not in that much of a rush


    • Good for you. Me too… but sometimes I would like salespeople to give me their full attention.


  4. jono51

    I might make a copy of that and keep it with me for a reference. Hope you don’t mind.


  5. You’ve obviously thought that one through,. Nancy. I certainly can relate to all of those, except for the honker/honkee situation – I don’t drive. 🙂
    Hope I’m not offending here, but can I also point out that if you know that your husband will sooner or later do whatever it is that you’d like him to do, then you leave him in peace? He may do it today or tomorrow, but unless it’s urgent it is surely his call when he does it. You’re his partner, not his mum. If he’s the kind that says yes and never does it, then you should be sitting down one calm, quiet afternoon and discussing division of labour over a cup of coffee. 🙂 🙂 As someone who is past ‘notquiteold’ I feel I have a bit more life experience up my sleeve.


    • You make an extremely good and useful point – but spouses can really push one’s impatient buttons. We all need to have more loving discussions.


      • Sure they can. It’s the same with children. More so. Those who know you and love you best, know how to go about it. 🙂 But if you do sit down to have that loving discussion, be prepared to be surprised and to listen in your turn. This button pushing business goes both ways.


      • Just in case you’re wondering where I’m coming from, Nancy. I have sons, they have the most loving relationships with their partners (and their children – also sons). It’s my job to make a case for them and their gender.


  6. Pam

    I agree! Patience is a virtue! I have a pretty good supply of patience and I wish others had more of it. You know what I do when I’m stuck in traffic? Yes, I let my mind wander, too, and people-watch sometimes, but I usually put on a Beatles CD and enjoy the wait. My favorite Beatles song at the moment? “Norwegian Wood”……turned way up. Also, “You Know My Name, Look Up the Number” really cracks me up!

    Patience is a reflection of the kindness in our hearts. It’s a gift we give to others. If we are lucky, all of us will be that old lady blocking the supermarket aisle or the old man driving slowly in the left lane. We should remember that. And life is not a race. Slow down and enjoy the journey.

    Loved this post!


    • I love your definition of Patience – a reflection of the kindness of our hearts, a gift we give to others.


  7. I have noticed, as I grow older, that I have so much more patience than I ever had. You are right – it only takes a few more seconds to wait when others move slowly, whether it’s because of age, or they are letting their minds wander a little bit. I believe my cats have made me a more patient person.


    • Oh, cats are so patient! We live out in the country, and so we get our share of mice. When there is a mouse in the house, the cat will watch patiently at the hiding spot for hours on end.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. gobblefunkist



  9. hehehe I loved that the meandering story-teller was a “he” in this post. I can see my poor wife’s foot bouncing with impatience as I try to get through the crucial backstory before sharing the life-changing epiphany, or punchline. And yikes, we’re still in intermission on that one story I began that had BOTH an epiphany and punchline. But like all good husbands, I’m going to be patient (the perfection is implied) and wait for her to invite me to share the rest.

    As always, my visits here are a treat.


    • Thanks…. my husband sometimes makes one of those hand signs like “speed it up” when I am telling a story. I don’t think he even knows he’s doing it. As for me, I am an eye-roller.


  10. I’m retired. I NEED to slow down. 😀
    I took forever being born and it was hurry up ever since. Sigh. You make excellent points. 😀


    • I love not being busy. I had a very crazy hectic career at one point, and when I traveled, I loved it when my plane was delayed. Enforced rest period you didn’t have to feel guilty about.


  11. Yes, patience is a virtue and I confess that some days I don’t feel all that virtuous. In this fast paced world that we find ourselves in, where everything is instant I don’t believe patience comes naturally anymore. IMHO it takes practice. A lot of practice. Just like any kind of fine art eventually it will become second nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are probably right. I like it when I can slow the world down a little.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ray G

    Pretty much agree with the majority of your points. BUT, don’t be surprised if, when you ask the Beatles question, the answer is, “Who?”. We are older than we realize.


    • I’m afraid that’s true. I’ll have to find a more current question for the younger generation.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Brilliant, love the patience graphic – ha! One of my biggest challenges in life is developing patience! Thanks for sharing


    • And in the drawing, you can see that I was a little impatient with it! – not good at drawing hands.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Reblogged this on Humoring the Goddess and commented:
    I love this blog and this blogger. She reminds me of who I am … or moreso, who I should be. She seems to have more patience than I do, that’s for sure. But we can all learn a lesson from her lesson. Enjoy!


  15. Great post.Patience is when you are calm when everybody around you aren’t


    • Good definition. Often I think of Patience as the ability to accept that the world doesn’t revolve around you.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I wish I could say I was getting more patient with age but I feel I’m getting more impatient. Grocery shopping in a crowded supermarket where everyone is taking their time has become an earthly form of hell.


    • Hmmm. I don’t mind the supermarket. Can you buy something likes grapes, and eat them one at a time while you shop? Might help you slow down.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Very good points! Hubby and I were talking a couple of days ago about how, most likely, a large percentage of traffic “accidents” are caused by drivers’ impatience. I mean, are you heading to put out a fire??? Will it hurt you to wait a few seconds for that car to pass instead of pulling out in front of it at an unsafe distance?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No kidding! I really love it when a guy who makes a dangerous move ends up sitting at the red light anyway!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. linguisticallysorry

    I really, really enjoyed reading this post, mainly because everything you mentioned in it is so very true. I am the “happy wanderer”, always have been. Great read!!


  19. “give people a few more seconds of your time.” – the world would be so much better – and maybe there would be less suffering, too


  20. It still takes a lot of patience to sit at a green light while the moron in front of you finishes a text!



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