Many years ago my friend Dane said to me, “You’re too fucking patient with people.” At the time I think he was referencing my patience with a roommate who was about as committed to the apartment we lived in as someone who lived on the opposite of the globe who’d never met me.
Many years ago my friend Michael said, “You gotta stop trying to help everyone, take care of yourself.”
We were driving up Sixth Avenue in the village at the time he said this. We were approaching 10th Street and were in heavy slow moving traffic. I looked to my right and the guy in the car slowly moving next to ours, Michael was driving, was riding on a flat rear tire. I looked at Michael. “One sec, bro.” Rolled down the window. Shouted to the other driver, “Hey! Your back tire’s flat!”
He shouted back, “Fuck you!”
Michael said, “See what I’m telling you?”
Both Michael and Dane were, and, I am beginning to realize, still are right. Patience is indeed a virtue, a beautiful character trait. It has its place as long as you, I mean me in this case, are not cutting of your nose to spite your face. And trying to help everyone is an impossible task. I think the litmus test for the latter is helping someone is something that lands in the sweet spot of my bat swing if the person is willing to help themselves. If not, it’s time to let go.
As for being too patient, it’s something I’m working on but frankly I don’t have time to think about it right now.
Hey! Maybe I’m learning!