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Hurry Up, You're Not Alone

Last month's article, about a new language being formed by our youth, caused a bit of controversy, so I thought it best this month to level the playing field and pick on the older generation (of which I am now one).

I recently lined up at one of my favourite haunts for a sandwich and coffee, which I have often done. The difference this time was there were three people ahead of me, all somewhat older than myself. The lady ordering was nearly finished and the gentleman behind her was stepping forward. The person behind the counter asked what he wanted.

"I don't know," he replied, slowly. I was dumfounded. 'How could he not know?'. He had been standing there for the past 10 minutes staring at the board which listed all the options. I sometimes regret not being bolder and commenting, as I was in a bit of a hurry and was ready to place my order. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, he ordered. The counter lady said she would be glad to bring the order to his table, but he opted instead to wait for it.

Finally the sandwich was ready and he fumbled in his pocket and slowly, as if he knew I was in a rush, took out his Visa card and paid for his lunch. He was about to walk away with his tray, when the lady in front of me noticed a coffee on the counter and mentioned for him not to forget it. He explained it was not his, but stared at it, turning back to the counter and, after placing his tray down, deciding he too should have a coffee. A moment later the counter person handed it to him and once again, slowly, he removed his wallet, again fumbling for his Visa and paying for his coffee.

Now I would be the first person to use my credit card everywhere I can, because it is, after all, all about the points. I would, however, like to think that I am also a bit concerned about showing courtesy to others, and not hold them up any longer than I should.

The gentleman was about to enter his pin number when someone mentioned ice cream. He stopped, looked at the ice cream cooler and decided he 'might try one'. I sighed, louder than I had intended, and got the attention of the lady in front of me, who smiled and rolled her eyes. I was glad to have a compadre and more so relieved that I wasn't the only one who felt the way I did.

The counter person stopped the Visa transaction and asked what flavour he would like as well as the size. He paused, stared at her curiously and realized what she had asked. "I don't want it now," he replied. "Perhaps after my lunch... if there is still room," he added. Once again she began to process the Visa transaction and after, what amounted to nearly 15 minutes he was finished.

Don't misunderstand me, I realize there comes a stage in life when we naturally slow down and become oblivious to others around us and their needs. My time is valuable. Not any more valuable than anyone else's but certainly not any less. I experience similar frustrations when I am behind someone in a shopping mall and they’re texting or chatting on a phone and suddenly stop, dead in their tracks, directly in front of me. I'm sure many of you have experienced similar situations and probably find them just as exasperating.

There, now that I have that off my chest I can finish my article, as I am typing it on my phone while walking through the mall. Oh, look, it's my turn to order lunch. I wonder what I will have.

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