COLUMN: It’s not necessary to do the pee dance in the grocery store


For some it’s a practice.

For others it’s a card game.

It can even be a girl’s name.

This is what Wikipedia says about the latter:

“Patience is an English feminine given name referring to the virtue of patience. It was a name created by the Puritans in the 1600s. It has seen steady, though infrequent, usage in the United States throughout its history.”

(Editor’s note: Purity has also seen infrequent usage in the United States throughout its history. Just sayin’.)

Purity is a girl’s name, as well. According to so far this year 4,100 girls in the US have been called Purity.

The name means “unsullied and clean,” making it a somewhat ironic handle for a newborn, to say nothing of a teenager.

Your name is Purity sweetheart. No pressure.

But we were talking about patience.

Have never met a Patience in real life, although recently was introduced to a lovely and engaging woman who just moved to Princeton, named Solitaire.

How’s that for word play?

Was considering the qualities of patience while standing at the checkout in the local grocery store Sunday morning.

While for most of the long weekend Save On Foods could accurately be characterized as a zoo (strip loin steaks for $6.99 a pound – GET OUT!) this was an unusually quiet period.

There were just two of us waiting in line and the checker – who is a longtime store employee and well-regarded for her exemplary customer service – left the till for half-a-minute to greet a woman everyone later learned was her best friend from elementary school, whom she hadn’t seen in 51 years.

This did not suit the customer behind me, who was toting two cartons of juice and an engorged case of misplaced entitlement.

Isn’t there somebody working here?

Tcht. (Sound imagery: Cat with allergies).

Huff Puff. (More audio helpers: A smoker trying to blow out 93 candles on a birthday cake. And you probably don’t hear THAT everyday.)

She began to twist and bend, craning her neck up, down and around the aisles in an exaggerated display of looking for assistance.

As it turned out the manager was not crouching under the rack of candy bars nor hanging from the ceiling.

It’s a shame really, that no one wears a watch anymore. It used to be an excellent prop for people desiring to draw attention to their own sense of importance.

Fingers tapped on the conveyor and finally she started shuffling from foot to foot in a credible imitation of a five-year-old doing the pee dance.

It all transpired in less than thirty seconds.

She was making me anxious and I was just getting ready to fling a finger spinner in her direction when she heaved up her juice and flounced off to the self-check out.

Certainly we are programmed in an instant world. We want what we want, when we want it, and we want it now.

People pace in front of the microwave, pound their keyboards when a web page takes longer than the twinkling of an eye to load, and honk and fume behind a steering wheel if someone ahead is actually respecting the speed limit.

The Puritans got a lot of things wrong – what with the witch trials and the floggings and whatnot – but they did understand that patience is a virtue.

And it’s more than that, really.

It’s also a pleasure.

Sometimes the best thing we can be forced to do in a busy day is to stand still and wait for something. Consider it a mental coffee break courtesy of the universe.

Take a few deep breaths – as opposed to huffing and puffing.

Look around you – observe and consider things you’ve never paid much attention.

Watch other people.

You may get really lucky, and witness something like two women who were best friends in grade school, sharing their first hug in more than half a century.

I’d stand in line to see that.