The Pain of Patience

Sunny Janby Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown    


I’m envious of those of you who have patience. It must feel wonderful to feel as though time stands still for you. You are probably never worrying or hurrying because everything is working out just the way you planned it; all you need to do is to be patient. Well, good for you. I, unfortunately, am not blessed with that virtue. But boy do I need it. So I have decided that my New Year’s resolution this year is going to be to practice having more patience.

It seems to be a fact of life that patience is needed in almost every life situation, even in the most mundane and basic routine events, like waiting our turn for the bathroom first thing in the morning or waiting on everyone to go out the door to work and school (oh, wait, someone’s not going today? Someone’s home sick or working from home today? Extra patience is required.) Raising kids takes loads of patience; after all, 18 years is a long time to wait. But nothing compares to the patience that is required when going to get a manicure. Nothing even comes close. Not running errands and having to wait on the person in the car in front of me to finish texting so they can see that the light is green. Not waiting on the red light to turn green, the light I got stopped at when the person in front of me finished texting and looked up just in time to floor it through the yellow light. Not as much patience is required before I go in to order my lunch, because the people who are going to take my order and make my lunch do not really care whether I am ready to order or not. It’s true that I must patiently wait and be ready when they are. I dare not burden them or irritate them any more than I already have by deciding to go there and do business with them. But again I tell you this truth: No other situation in life compares to the patience that is required when going to get a manicure. It requires multi-level patience.

Just think about it. When you first walk in, they assure you that they have time to do a manicure and ask you to go ahead and choose your color. And this, by the way, is the first test of your patience, because I don’t know about you, but I can’t quite make up my mind between “Bubble Bath” or “Champagne Cocktail” or any of the 27 other slightly various shades of pale, but I feel it is a critical decision or there wouldn’t be so many choices, so I must take my time and choose wisely. In truth, I can’t really tell them apart at all, but their names are so intriguing I am convinced that the one I choose will have a profound effect on how my life will be when I leave the salon. I mean “Italian Love Affair” has the promise of so many life-altering possibilities, but what if I choose “You’re a Pisa Work,” instead? Does that mean I will be leaning slightly to the left when I leave the salon? Not that I don’t already.

Anyway, having finally passed this test and chosen the same color that I choose every time I get a manicure, I am now told that they will be with me in a minute. So I sit down and pick up the latest issue of People magazine, and this is the second test of my patience, because after flipping through 22 pages of the latest news on Kim Kardashian, my nerves are worn very thin. There isn’t any news about any other people in People; it should be called Person. Thank goodness they are finally ready for me, but then of course, it takes a great deal of patience to have to sit there during the manicure while I am trying to find my phone somewhere in the depths of my purse to answer the urgent call from my daughter asking me where I am, because she can’t find her history book. I am sure I put it somewhere when I finished reading it, because, after all, academic history books are one of my favorite things to read.

But the biggest test of patience comes, when, after the soaking, and filing, and trimming, and clipping, and buffing, and polishing, you have to sit there and wait for the blood to dry.

I think I’ve changed my mind about my New Year’s resolution. Instead of practicing more patience, I think I’ll just give up getting manicures.

Leave a Reply