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I was born on July 4th, 1948. I wrote a diary about this yesterday, and I suppose that writing was what prompted me to continue to mix my own life and history from here in rural North Carolina.

 Like any old guy my age I enjoy telling stories. My kids have heard all of them and roll their eyes at me when I start in on one they've heard. It doesn't hurt my feelings. Shit, my sons are young and--as seems to be common today--void of all patience. I guess I can understand that. In a culture where you can obtain pretty much whatever you want as fast as you want it--if you can pay that is--patience doesn't seem as much a virtue as a frivolous practice.

 More below.

   We lived out in the country. While his neigbors were content with chimneys and wood-furnaces for heat, my dad fought to get Rutheford Electric--a rural co-op power company--up to our place. Dad came from "old south" money, and after WWII his dad died and left him with the hundred-and-fifty-three acres of woods and plot by which his two-story home was surrounded. That house has been in our family for four generations now. My great-great-grandfather bought the place after the civil war was over and he died in the master bedroom of fever. In any case, in an extraordinary display of patience, dad wrote letter after letter to REA requesting service. He showed up frequently at their offices, and was rewarded with electric lights and heat. We were the first house to recieve electric power in our area.

  Now, I remember a lot about being a kid.I don't think I ever remember being bored. I hiked in the woods. I played a lot of baseball. I made fake guns out of sticks shaped like pistols and shot at my brother while making stupid shooting sounds. When I was old enough I began to hunt. I began to fish. As a teenager hunting and fishing were like an addiction. Both take a massive degree of patience. You have to be still. You have to listen. You have to focus and pay attention to everything around you.

   I was good at those things because I was raised with a degree of patience with which most of society is lacking. My sons were bored fishing and soon resorted to fidgeting and complaining. Even when they were older I could never get them out on the water. "Dad," my youngest told me, "fishing isn't relaxing or whatever you think it is, man. It's, like, the most boring shit on the planet. Plus what the hell am I going to do with a fuckin' fish?"

  He had a point. Whenever I fished as a teenager I didn't release the fish, as I taught my kids to do. Sometimes I did, but most times I took my catch home for dinner. It was always the same with deer. I will never kill an animal and leave it to rot, or stuff it's head like a trophy. I always found that practice vulgar in some way. Most of the time that I hunted I would also use a bow instead of my .30-ought-six or my .22. Nothing against guns--although I don't have any today--but I was always put off by the sound. A bow has a much more subtle, earthly sound.

  The boys didn't take to hunting, either. Although my oldest can shoot as well as anybody I've known. It wasn't that they had a moral objection. They just told me that they were bored and didn't want to stay in any one place that long.

   Society as a whole seems like that now. It seems like nobody can stay in one place more than thirty seconds before they're off again, to some other place or space or moment. Patience and understanding seem to have taken a back seat to "Why hasn't this been done yet? This should've been done WEEKS ago!" and "Why am I still here? Shouldn't I be gone by now?"

   This hit me all at once the other day when I was ordering fast food with my son. We were in a long drive-through line and his legs were pumping up and down like angry pistons. "What is that jackass doing?" he said under his breath, "Ordering every damned thing on the menu?"  

   I noticed then that my sons were both similar in their inability to be patient when it comes to anything. A wait is simply, to them, moments of dead air when they were between moments.

   I also have noticed that, as a society, we've become that way as well. We expect so much to be done all at once to fix all our problems that we forget that the very nature of life is incremental. From the wondrous effects of evolution to the stages of life to the very impulses that direct us to act without thinking or to demand too much of ourselves or our society.

   This latter statement is not to say that fights never need be waged. Fights that are just, my good kossacks, will always have those willing to enter the fray. Yet even political battles necessitate degrees of patience and understanding.

   

Originally posted to Socratic Method on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 12:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    "Come writers and critics who prophetize with your pen. And keep your eyes wide the chance won't come again." --Bob Dylan

    by Socratic Method on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 12:38:53 AM PDT

    •  Amen, friend. (7+ / 0-)

      My spouse, bless her soul, cannot abide to simply wait in the check-out lines in the supermarket.  Instead, she steers us towards the 'self check-out' stations, which invariably leave me flustered and annoyed and confused.

      I don't mind waiting my turn.  I do mind a machine telling me "remove the last item and return it to the bagging area."  What the hell?  Why do I have to chain myself to the whims of a machine trying, imperfectly, to keep me from stealing groceries?

      That said, my wife is 67.  I am 47.  Patience isn't always a generational thing.

      "Don't ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine. They fall right out of the sky." -- Kaywinnit Lee Frye

      by Technowitch on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 01:02:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You are a year younger than my mom (5+ / 0-)

    I'm 41, and likely of your son's generation.  I have to say that my mom is without a doubt one of the most impatient people I know.  She was like that before technology took over our lives, so that's not always the reason, but it sure as heck doesn't help.  

    Some days, I have patience.  Some days, I don't.  But I never, ever pray for patience, because that is when you will be tested the most.  

    On the days I have patience, the driver who speeds by could be headed to the hospital on a family emergency.  On days I don't, he's just a jackass.  

    Sometimes, patience with others comes from ascribing no ill motive to their actions.  Patience with fishing, though, I cannot speak to, as I have never once been fishing in my entire life.  Perhaps someday, that will be corrected.  

    Keep being patient.  Your sons are still learning from you and paying attention even when it looks like they're not.  

  •  this former north carolinian (3+ / 0-)

    through ny temporarily staying in california until i can return to the big apple agrees with you wholeheartedly!

    the world should learn from horses.

    patience is the ONLY way to work with the horse.  you cannot bullyrag your will on one - doesn't work.

    through patience - learning HOW to communicate with that majestic beast - gets you everything you can possibly dream and then some.

    maybe riding should be manditory as part of each person's education - it would go a long way in explaining why carrots always work better than sticks!

    taking time to enjoy the moment - and hoping you do, too - and that your sons learn that the most important time is what is BETWEEN those moments.

    peace!

    MOVE'EM UP! ROLL'EM OUT... MOVE'EM UP RAWHIDE!!! meeeoooow! mrraaarrr!! meeeOOOOOW!

    by edrie on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 02:02:45 AM PDT

  •  I admire bow hunters. (3+ / 0-)

    I'm not big on killing things.  I don't really like the taste of wild game.  I find it odd that people will buy the most expensive, semi-automatic guns and ammo, and always a super-duper scope, and call it "sport."  While archery technology is pretty advanced compared to when I was young, it still takes a lot more skill to bring down a deer with an arrow than with what is essentially a machine gun.  It seems like it wouldn't feel as satisfying (not the same sense of accomplishment) to use a gun as a bow, but I could be missing something...

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 02:44:30 AM PDT

  •  Patience to the max. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ovals49, worldlotus

    I enjoy fishing too, and there are times when my favorite type is catfishing.  Put something really nasty on a hook with a slip sinker to take it to the bottom, and lean back with a cold one.  As I'm sure you know, an old catfish can be quite wily, and suck and play with the bait and still be ready to drop it if he feels pressure on the other end.  That's when the real test of patience comes: watching that rod tip dart and dive but waiting to set the hook until that old fish is just about to pull the pole into the water.

    I'd agree that young people these days seem to operate at a different speed.  They're at 78 while we're back at 33.  That's especially true with their Web surfing.  I'm comfortable with computers, but my children (now adults) click at the speed of light when they're online, and they get very impatient at any slow down.

    Fishing isn't politics, though.  There are openings in politics, rare occasions, when there's an opportunity to do a lot of good in a short time.  It happened in the 30s, and I believe such a time presented itself in 2009.  Miss that opportunity or fail to fully take advantage of it, and it may be another generation or two before it comes again.

    Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

    by goinsouth on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 04:14:38 AM PDT

  •  my husband and I had this talk last night. (3+ / 0-)

    We went to the Cotton Bowl to hear the Wind Symphony and see fireworks. (4th on the 5th.)
    We were walking through the fairgrounds, admiring the gardens, watching the fountains spouting to the music, and listening to the birdsong in between activities.
    All around us there were families, many had small children with them.  Lots had plastic rainbow light-up flashing sabres that made loud irritating screeching sounds, so of course the little kids were running around with them stabbing people and making tons of noise. During. the. symphony.

    We talked about raising generations of children who could not be still. Parents make kids that way.

    Then we left Fair Park, on the DART train.  There was a long wait, with so many people, with those same little sabre-swinging kids.  People were shoving and pushing and yelling at disabled people and thunking into little children because too many people were impatient to board too few train cars. Babies were crying because hello, it's after 10 at night, and crowds of strangers are crammed right up on each other like sardines in a tin can. A visually impaired man was yelling out to let him on the train because he would miss his bus connection.  No one was there to help, and the crowd just shoved him up onto the train.
    One policeman for thousands of mass transit riders.

    Patience and understanding seem to have taken a back seat to "Why hasn't this been done yet? This should've been done WEEKS ago!" and "Why am I still here? Shouldn't I be gone by now?"

    What you said, Socratic Method.

  •  Years ago at a Summerhillian school in VT (7+ / 0-)

    some of our students stayed over the summer with resident staff, usually because they literally had no family and a summer placement at a state facility would have been the only other option.  One of these students was a 10 yr old boy, afflicted with what would be today almost certainly be classified severe ADHD.

    Well, we staff weren't ready to be giving up all our summer fishing time tending students at the school so we thought we'd take the boy along to chase some trout.  We each worked our own sections of the stream.  First day out Franklin appeared after a half hour or so, his pole broken into small pieces and his mono line in a huge snarl.

    But we persisted, and so did Franklin.  Over the course of that summer Franklin not only learned how to catch fish, he also learned how to sit still and focus his attention.  By the end of August he was heading out on his own to the nearest stream and usually return with fish in hand.  It was one of his first big successes, but certainly not his last. But it wouldn't have played out that way without an abundance of patience, both his and ours.

    "If you do not read the paper, you are uninformed. If you do read the paper, you are misinformed."--Mark Twain.

    by ovals49 on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 05:49:53 AM PDT

  •  rec'cd (5+ / 0-)

    for the reminder.

    Just because it's the way things are, doesn't mean it's the only way to be.

    I really enjoy any diary that wakes me up and gets me to think about myself and my reality, and yours did just that.

    I grew up in ultra-rural southern Ohio in the 50's and 60's. The house was so small no kids would have wanted to hang around all day in it, even if it was raining. We left the house early every morning and usually came back at dark. Sometimes we took sleeping bags and camped out for a while.

    Then I grew up and married a guy 10 years younger than I, and from East LA. He used to be amazed that, when presented with a problem or question, I would not immediately respond. I would stand back, look, and think. Then I'd actually jump in and try something, usually to no avail. Then I'd try something else.

    What he learned from me: self-reliance, patience, resourcefulness.

    What I learned from him: joy, acceptance of new things and technologies.

    To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

    by kareylou on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 06:33:15 AM PDT

  •  Very well said, Socratic Method! Thank you! nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED, mawazo, Socratic Method
  •  If there were a good reason (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED, mawazo, Socratic Method

    for people to be impatient nowadays, the world would work better.

    If the people running the show (any show/ congress/ war) were impatient with poor planning, there would be planning.  If they were impatient with poor execution there would be competent execution.  There is not.

    My belief is that there is something in the air/water/food/whatever that has turned ADHD into "normal."

    BTW: if you can't stand the "self checkout" it's because you have no patience.

    •  You make an interesting point... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mawazo

      which is that there is also, perhaps, a measure of virtue in impatience. To whit, that society, when faced with immeasurable tasks to solve, will inevitably become intolerant of inaction. This type of impatience certainly has its virtue.

      "Come writers and critics who prophetize with your pen. And keep your eyes wide the chance won't come again." --Bob Dylan

      by Socratic Method on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 12:18:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I love the self-checkout. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mawazo, Socratic Method

      What I don't love is when there is no customer service manager to override occasional glitches in the self-checkout.

      I'm confused as to whether that makes me patient or not patient.

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