I used to think of myself as being quite a patient person, and able to work well under pressure, and keep my head. As I’ve grown older, this has definitely changed: work and travel has made me more confident and assertive, so I’m less inclined to put up with bullshit, and often think it’s faster for me to do a job myself than wait for others, only to be disappointed. I also have less patience for myself and my own bullshit, and there’s plenty of that.
I would definitely say this is worse since Dad died. Every little thing feels like another weight, crushing me down. As soon as I feel like I’m getting on top of things and the end is in sight, more things come to challenge me. I feel like my ability to cope under pressure and my patience have been tested to their limits.
One such example would be the week I locked myself out of my car. Twice.
Not as stupid as it sounds: my car has developed a fault that means the driver’s door locks itself as soon as you unlock it. While I was in a car park waiting for Mum one day, I decided to clean the inside of the car. After finishing around my seat, I decide to do the seat behind me. You have to press the ‘unlock’ button on the fob twice to unlock all the car doors, and I had not done this. I realised the back door was still locked as soon as I shut my door, but that was too late. My door had locked itself, with the key on the dashboard.
It was pretty stressful because everything was locked inside the car: phone, wallet, keys! I just had to wait. I had no breakdown cover, so I was worried how much it would cost me.
Thankfully Mum knows someone from the police who can break into cars. He couldn’t pull the lock up, but managed to hook the key onto a wire and drag it out through a gap in the door. Much relief for me, and even more so because he and Mum realised it really was not my fault. I immediately got another key cut in case it happened again.
A week later, I had been checking on my horses at my friend’s house when her Dad was on his way back in his truck. I decided to be helpful and offer to open the gate from him. I reversed my car out of the way of the gate and jumped out to ask if he wanted me to open the gate. He said no, because he normally reversed in so needed to pull forward to where I was. No problem, I’ll get out of the way.
Except, the car door shut behind me. Keys inside, and this time in the ignition with the engine running. And where is my helpful spare key? In my bag, in the passenger footwell. And once again, I hadn’t unlocked all the doors.
This time it was hugely stressful. I hated having a stupid car that kept doing this. I was so angry at myself for locking myself out a second time in a week! I was angry that I hadn’t done anything helpful with the spare key yet. I was annoyed that this all happened because I was trying to be helpful, and ended up being a hindrance. I still didn’t have any breakdown cover, and this time I was in the middle of the countryside and the engine was running. I was almost crying, swearing, kicking the car, and ready to just throw a rock through the window.
My friend’s Dad on the other hand was totally calm. To the point of being quite irritating. He wandered around his shed and house looking for wire and wire cutters and a torch, so we could try to pull the lock up; and in my mind, he was just taking too long, and chatting too much. I was losing my patience with him.
But he did it. He was totally calm, got what was needed, and managed to open the car door and I could get back in and drive away.
I was completely in awe: I achieved nothing while I was losing it, and he remained calm and solved the problem – my problem.
I decided it was something I should work towards, and a few days later, Pinterest came up with a definition of what that is.