Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)
TITLE: Worth the wait?
By Gregory Kane
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It wouldn’t be so bad if they would open another lane. That would be a sensible thing to do but I read somewhere that store managers have to fail an IQ test to work here. I once made a point of asking loudly if there was anyone else in the premises who knew how to operate a till. But a security guard threatened to evict me from my place in the queue and since then I’ve learned to stay mum. So I wait. Impatiently.
My pastor thinks we should use such opportunities to evangelise our fellow unfortunates. I took him up on this one time but it was an unmitigated disaster. I was halfway through my chatty preamble when my would-be victim asked if I knew that I had spinach in my teeth. Talk about killing a conversation dead in its tracks. All the way up to the check-out I kept expecting someone to tap me on the shoulder and offer me a packet of dental floss. So I’ll pass on the “Bible-bash my fellow shopaholic” programme. Besides, I did have green salad for lunch and you can never be too careful.
Oh no, the guy by the till wants to write a cheque. What’s wrong with plastic - or even cash? They’re, like, q-u-i-c-k! No one uses cheques any more. The silly girl probably won’t even know what to do- yep, there goes the bell. Now we have to wait for the manager to drag himself downstairs from his office. What’s this? Mr Stuck-in-the-20th-century is asking for a pen. In these days of chip-and-pin they don’t keep pens by the till any more. Maybe the old lady next in line will have one in her handbag. Maybe we’ll all rot here until closing time.
Deep down I know that I could use these long waits better. For instance I could pray about all sorts of stuff: the church; the Government; my husband and kids; the credit crunch; the hunt for Osama bin Laden; my husband; the cost of chocolate muffins; world oil prices; my husband needs loads of prayer; that little girl down the street who’s always crying... The problem is that I tend to move my lips when I pray and invariably people start giving me odd looks. I know we’re meant to be fools for Christ but I’m in real danger of being labelled “the spinach-toothed loony in the slow lane at the supermarket.” Maybe it’s safer praying at home.
Oops, didn’t get any washing powder and I used the last this morning. On a good day I’d grovel to the person next in line and make a dash for the necessary lane. But I don’t fancy my chances today. The woman behind me has got a poodle in her handbag, something skinned and left for dead round her neck and, what’s worse, there are only three items in her trolley. So the moment I beg a favour from her, she’s guaranteed to make a pitch for my letting her on ahead. I did this once and the old dear kept us all waiting an extra 20 minutes while she paid for her shopping with a purse full of small change. However, since I’ve neither tried praying nor preaching, the fur lady can’t know I’m a Christian. So I needn’t feel bad about turning a blind eye to her three items. Shame about the washing powder though - the kids’ll have to dig their stinky socks out of the laundry basket.
We’re moving much faster now - only one more person ahead of me. My pastor’s always going on about how God shapes our characters, how he uses the knocks of life to make us more like Jesus. I’m just not sure that it’s working for me. I reckon that I’m becoming more selfish, more irritable and definitely more impatient the older I get. Maybe this born-again business isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Either that or I’m missing out on something pretty fundamental.
Swipe card, pack, lug bags to the car, lean on the horn until I get home. Impatiently.
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