Annual check-up day.

I am good about these things. I get my check-up, I go to the dentist twice a year, I get my mammogram once a year. I do everything I am supposed to do. I fill out the same forms with the same information that never changes and give it to the same people. I smile and nod and pee in a cup and try to help the phlebotomist find a decent vein in my arm. I don’t faint or wince or complain. I wait my turn, from room to room, procedure to procedure.

I am a patient, compliant patient.

I didn’t used to be a patient person at all. I am a natural hothead, irritable and impulsive and all about the NOW. Waiting seemed to be some kind of hellish unbearable torture, imposed on me by a dimwitted and slow world. I was a sprinter, not a long-distance person. The longer I had to wait, to extend my effort and energy towards a goal, the more it diminished the value of outcome for me. Think Tang, not an orange that needs to be cut, squeezed, and poured – a crappier drink, but faster. The whole “patience is a virtue” thing always seemed to me to be for patsies and doormats – yeah, you calm and disciplined folks stand in line right over there knitting or something, while I run by and go YOINK! and run away with the goods. Snooze = lose, fools.

But over time, I realized that I had changed a bit. It wasn’t a mindful thing at all. I wasn’t looking to become patient, and didn’t think that was even possible. But one day I thought, hey, I am not all bound up and freakin’ and upset anymore. I could see down the road and see a finish line, rather than an endless black hole of never-will-get-there. I had gained enough life experience to not need instant gratification, nor Tang.

Maybe it was becoming a parent that made me more patient. By god, you had better be pretty damn patient if you want to have kids, let me tell you. There isn’t a thing you can do sometimes to stop them from crying or complaining. You can’t make them learn to walk faster or be able to tell you what is wrong when they are ill if they don’t have the words. They make all kinds of insane mistakes and choices, not to hurt you of course, just because that is what people do. You have to be patient through all their trials and tribulations, and hope that they turn out OK and do not become riverboat gamblers, talk show hosts, or insurance defense lawyers.

You realize, I guess, that all that bombast and frustration of being impatient often just hurts you, gets you absolutely nowhere, and makes you appear like a big tool. So now I can be patient; oh, I can be so damn patient you wouldn’t even believe it. Sometimes I am Saint Patience, Patron of The DMV Line. Yes, that patient. I can wait, and it doesn’t rip me up. This seems to be a positive evolution in character.

That said, the Tang in me, in my little nasty elfin core, got behind every GODDAMN slow truck, elder driver, lost-my-way driver, and hit every red light there was to hit on my way to the doctor’s this morning, late out the door to begin with. I suspect that is why my blood pressure readings were up. Or maybe I just have an impatient circulatory system.

Note to self: evolve more this year.