Hurry up.

Everyone moves 20% slower than I do.

“Professor?” A new student looks into my office meekly, like I might throw something at her.

“Yes?” I look at her. My right hand is on my keyboard. My left hand is holding my Blackberry.

“Is this a bad time?” she asked.

“Yes.” I said, waving her into my office, pointing at the chair in the corner. When I first went to college, a professor I had told me that, one day, I’d know why she was so tired.  Now I know.

“I’m nervous about this assignment. I’ve never written anything this long before and my last professor blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah……”

Of course I care what she’s saying. And of course I’m listening. But my brain now, it takes in words and moves the words around, finding the words I need to hear and pushing ut the words I don’t need.  I’ll try and show you how it works.

blah blah blah five pages blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah what you might want blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah never been good with English blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah let me have extra time with this blah blah blah blah blah

I put my hand up to halt the assault of words.

“Part of this class isn’t about just teaching you to write. It’s teaching you to deal with deadlines, expectations, pressure.  Do the best you can and turn in what you can. You’ll be fine.”

“You sure?” she asked.

“Positive,” I said, getting back to my emails.  “See you in class.”

“How many emails do you have to write?”

“All of them,” I said, waving my phone at her.

It’s not that I have a place to go. It’s just that I want to be DONE with what I’m doing, so I can be impatient doing something else.  I’m behind three people at the ATM machine and I want to rip people’s arms off.  Hurry. Up.  At staff meetings where someone talks about a committee they were on in 1997. Hurry up. When I’m headed to class and I’m behind students who walk like they have concrete in their shoes. Hurry up. People on the phone. Hurry up.  People on the phone. Hurry up. People on the phone. Hurry up. People sending emails!

“Fuck!” I screamed a little too loudly in my office.  A colleague walked in.

“You shouldn’t swear so loudly.”

“I emailed these guys five minutes ago!” I said.

“And?”

“No one’s emailed me back yet!”

“You emailed them five minutes ago?”

“Yes!”

“And they haven’t emailed you back?”

“No!” I screamed! “WHAT’S TAKING THEM SO LONG!”

I’ve always been impatient.  I learned to hide it, though, as much as I could. Being impatient isn’t helpful when you teach people, or when you are interviewing people for a story, or when you are working retail. Impatience is a flaw. As Americans, we don’t rally against it like we do jealousy or greed or anger. But it’s still a flaw, one that can lead to problems. For other people. Not me.

Riding my bike down 14th street, going down the Meriden Hill, a hill that spans ten blocks and is murder to ride up no matter how you hit it but so smooth riding down it, 14th street especially.  You can get some speed on that, baby. Some real speed.  So fast on a gear shift that, amazingly, I can go faster than a car.  I passed two of them. An Accord and a Prius.  At a stop light, I looked at the Prius.  Their windows were up, but I screamed anyway.

“I can beat you?  On a Bike?  Really?”

The light turned green and I passed them again, peddling harder than I had to, because I always do.

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4 thoughts on “Hurry up.

  1. great post. i feel like ripping people’s arms off when i’m driving and i’m late, other times too. but, really, you’ve been out of the south long enough that it’s hard to remember how slow it can really be…… think, sunday drivers. xoxo

  2. This describes how i felt moving to Wilmington. I was used to walking really fast and everyone there moved so damned slow! i chalked it up to coming from a northern state where the cold made everyone hurry up and get to their destination for half of the year.

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