Thursday, November 15, 2012

How I Wasted My Sunday or Here's Your Medal!

I get it. Or at least I think I do.
These little tests of my patience keep popping up. As you may know, life's patience rubric looks something like this:

You Can’t Even Pronounce Patience
You have reached enlightenment.
Daily Life
Attempting to boil water sends you over the edge.
You set water to boil and happily chop vegetables while you wait.
As the water begins to boil, you realize you’ve been contemplating the universe, watching each bubble slowly rise to the surface.
You don’t believe in meetings. They are a waste of time, every time.
You keep your cool through not one, not two, but three reschedulings of a morning meeting. Said meeting lasts two hours too long and you’re still chipper afterwards.
The meeting may never be over and that’s okay with you.
Honey, I love you, but I stopped listening 23 minutes ago.
Honey, can I take a short bathroom break from your intriguing story?
Honey, tell me more. Then can I hear about your daily phone conversation with your mother one more time?
You have a caffeine patch. Who has time for coffee?
You can wait without complaint for your coffee to arrive.
Your order never arrives. You decide you weren’t thirsty anyway and the universe is just helping you out.
*Disclaimer to any WOU affiliates: I totally learned way more in my master’s program than just stellar rubric writing. Your name is still mostly good.

My score, you ask? Well, I can pronounce patience. But I stumble. So, I'm working towards the middle column since I definitely connect with at least two of the first column's descriptions. Don't judge.
My patience stamina, if you will, has been gradually progressing over the last year or so (Okay, my nephew, baby Oliver has taken bigger steps than me). And what count for tests of patience in my book may summon looks of pity.

Test of Patience, Exhibit A
When will this thing sprout already!? I'm fairly certain I started this avocado tree at least a month ago. Should it not be bearing fruit by now? I'd like some guacamole. Alas, its changes, much like my own, have been painfully subtle. With this in mind, I'm fairly certain that God has placed me on an intensive growth program which started Sunday. At 8:30 am.
That is the time I arrived with my male offspring to his Taekwondo fighting tournament. Of the 42 students who were told to be there at 8 am, Max was the 6th to arrive. I found a seat among the empty rows of chairs and opened up the book I'm currently reading (shameless shout out: Seven Years Between by Pamela McDavid), whilst others trickled in.
The Taekwondo teacher had said we "needed" these electronic feet protectors which counted successful kicks during a fight. One mother who's child didn't have any protective gear yet asked, "What is the most important to buy now?" The Taekwondo teacher did not tell her the arm or leg protectors. He did not say the helmet. He didn't mention the mouth guard. What was the most important? The thing they needed more than anything else? The electronic foot protectors. They cost US$70. Josh & I scoffed and chose not to buy into the hype. Sure enough, about 1/2 of the kids showed up with the required equipment and those of us who were unable/unwilling to pay went without (or borrowed a friend's pair). Isn't counting kicks what the judges are for?
The hours slowly passed. I made small talk with the Taekwondo mom crowd. They're like soccer moms with a splash of violent outbursts where they growl, "Give it to him!" then scream uncontrollably (I tried it. It wasn't really me.). Sometime about three hours in, while my son still sat patiently and I fidgeted in my chair, I realized that this tournament was entirely unorganized. The kind people in charge were pulling kids at random to fight. This meant that the more assertive kids (older ones) were the ones fighting all morning. As my thoughts slowly congealed into coherence, my bladder began to shout...
Not only did the toilet not flush (and hadn't for the whole morning from the looks of things), but there was no toilet paper, soap or water available in the bathroom. I lost it (but not out loud, thank goodness). How can someone expect players to be here with top-of-the-line equipment and then not even have basic essentials available to the participants?! I left in a hurry, bought water to wash my hands at the colmado and returned just as fast, since my son really could be fighting any moment. Hurry up and wait. I began to see potential illness everywhere knowing how many people had gone to the bathroom. It was hot since people were packed into the building and, well, we live near the equator. Hunger pangs sprouted in my belly (which means my 7 year old was likely "starving"). Four hours in and we were still sitting. Still waiting. Several children in the crowd were crying. I wanted to join them.
When Max was finally called to fight, it was 1:30 pm. I'd managed to sneak him a protein bar, but otherwise he hadn't eaten. He "fought" for 2 minutes without attempting a single kick and the kind of apathy that moans, "I waited five hours for this?" We were told that each participant would fight twice. The next time he was called, however, it was to receive a medal. A medal? For what?! Standing in the corner while another kid kicked him? This test was definitely designed for me. It had all the right elements: needless waiting around, children fighting, no soap, water or toilet paper, children crying, no food, expectations of grandeur and then the kicker: celebration of mediocrity. Except it was even less than mediocrity. It was straight up pathetic. Weak sauce, as you hipsters say. #ForCaitlin&Steph
The truly unfortunate thing about all of this is that I'm still ticked off about it, which means I did not pass my patience exam. Which we all know also means: another one is around the corner. Now if that avocado would just sprout already!


  1. Too long to read, can you just use emoticons?

    1. It goes something like this:
      :| :) ಠ_ಠ :@ :| :@ :)

      This note sponsored by the good people who put together "List of Emoticons" on Wikipedia.