Agreeably Disagreeable

You all recognize this precious little angel, right?

She is most famously remembered for this quote, in which she shrieks at the top of her lungs:

I WANT IT NOW!!!!

And if you didn’t give it to her . . . oooo, boy, did you have it coming.

And really, can we blame sweet, dear Veruca Salt? Transported into the magical kingdom of Wonka Land, bedazzled and blown away by the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells, well . . . I can’t imagine I would be in much control of my wants. And truly, my own candy dish — does it still count as a “dish” if it’s an entire drawer? — has been known to send me into a saccharine induced tizzy. Maybe a sugar-high is to blame for Ms. Salt’s lack of decorum and self-restraint.

Or, perhaps not.

In my 29 and 9/10 years on earth, I have never experienced anything more difficult than . . . wait for it . . . it’s coming . . . a few more seconds . . . any minute now . . .

Waiting!

I hate to wait.

Did that drive you berserk a moment ago? Well, sorry to say, my friend, but you hate waiting as much as I do. Now, depending on where you rank on the scale — yes, there is most certainly a scale — of “hate to wait,” that will determine how prominent your impatience balloon is. Let me explain: I like to think of our bodies as giant balloon werehouses, wherein a colorful array of balloons both large and small, take up residence inside us. And let me tell you . . . my impatience balloon is pretty darn big — takes up an entire calf.

So, let’s take a census: do you, when approaching the checkout lane at a grocery store, search out the shortest line? Well, sure, I think anyone, whether their impatience ballon is marble or watermelon would do that, don’t you? Alright. Do you go so far as to make judgement calls? What I mean by this is, if there is an elderly person to the right and a  kid with his jeans drooping past his crack to the left, will you choose the kid because you know he is likely to move quicker? Do you go even further and initiate a little reconnaissance? Spying the amount of groceries in each of the carts? Do you see who has their credit-card in hand, or *gasp* clutches a leather bound check book? And after making your selection, do you start to hyperventilate when the person in front of you suddenly remembers they’ve forgotten the last thing on their list, some abstruse ingredient that may or may not be found before the turn of the century?

See what I mean about the scale?

So, taking into consideration all of the above, where do you feel you rank? Are you pretty confident that, as far as patience goes, you are a nice, solid five or below? Or, like myself, are you aware that you might benefit from a red rubber stress-ball and counting techniques?

I believe age is a key factor in shrinking one’s impatience balloon. But not always. The child with cancer learns an awful lot about waiting. Anyone on a donor list could tell you that waiting, much like breathing, is an inextricable part of their life.

Right now, I am waiting. And it’s gnawing on me. I have an inordinately awful case of the “I WANT IT NOW!“s. Candy has very little to do with what I want, and the only eccentric cane-toting-purple-velour-jacket-wearing man in my life is a grandfather with excellent taste in vintage clothing.

All that said, I strive to subvert my inner Veruca Salt. I do not want her to be the boss of me. That little girl could not see past her own spoiled, rapacious nose, and thus was feared or loathed by every single person who knew her; a rotten child if I ever saw one. While waiting certainly has it’s challenges, it also comes with many benefits that, unfortunately, lack tangibility. That doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable, however.

While I wait, a few things are happening.

One: when the time should come, having acquired what I want after being forced to wait for it, the value will have quadrupled and gained interest, making it far more precious to me than it ever could have been should I have received it immediately.

Two: character. Above all others, our character should be the attribute we hold in high regard. You may have lovely brown eyes, or an amazing sense of humor, but if at your core, your character is selfish, impatient, judgmental, narcissistic, and on and on and so forth, then really, you will have missed the whole point of what it means to live.

There are four words I must remind myself daily. Not because I possess — or, at least I hope not — an abnormal amount of said negative attributes, but simply because I am human. Those words are as follows: It’s not about me.

In life, whether or I go on to accomplish great things, or many little things that mean much to the people who are blessed by them, I will never stop working toward this goal. It is not, nor will it ever be, all about me. It is about what can be done through me.

And so I wait.

Happy Waiting Wednesday, everyone.

And simply because it’s awesome, and the movie remains to be one of the world’s most cinematically brilliant masterpieces — here’s something to make you smile.

~ Cara

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63 thoughts on “Agreeably Disagreeable

  1. Your song choice is one of my favorites of all time. :)

    I hate waiting…waiting in line, waiting for doctor appointments, waiting to hear back on submissions, waiting for my kids to get home. Our whole lives are spent waiting on something. It never fails I always get in line behind someone who forgot something or needs a price check, blah blah. It used to irritate me until it happened to me a few times. I found myself apologizing to everyone in line for the hold-up. To sort of pay it forward, to say thanks to the universe for patient people waiting on me, I will people with fewer items go ahead of me in line. I feel ‘squared’ with the universe then – like I’ve done something unselfish to thank those who were unselfish with me.

    Life isn’t about ‘me’.or ‘you’. It’s about all of us working together in harmony. It would be a wonderful world if everyone agreed and participated.

    Lovely post.

    • Glad you enjoyed that, Jenny. That is likely my favorite song from the movie as well. And, as much as I adore Johnny Depp, I do prefer the original over the recently augmented version; I think there is something fantastically deranged about the first, whereas the second is just kind of . . . weird.

      That is very nice of you to do that. It’s funny because someone actually turned around while in line today and told me to go on ahead of them, that they had 8 people they were ordering for. How wonderful when we can be considerate of one another.

      P.S. Your letter is in the mail!

      ~ Cara

  2. Great post. Waiting & patience, lessons life gives us the opportunity to revise over & over. Just when we think we’re cool there they are in a pop quiz, at the traffic lights or at the end of a non moving queue. My impaitence balloon used to take up my entire body but as life takes you along with it, waiting gets to be kind of ok because, as you say, you know you’ll get there and it will feel better for the pause, not to mention those ungracious moments – you learn it’s not about me the hard way :)

    • You are so right, Ella. It really does sneak up on you, doesn’t it? One minute you’re thinking “Okay . . . I think I have a petty good handle on this patience thing” and then BAM! “I’m sorry, ma’am, but it will another 3 months until we can send you those results.”

      *clutches throat and dies*

      So . . . what are we to do? Deal with it! So I’m dealing, some days well, some days . . . not so much. It’s a learning process.

      Blessings,
      ~ Cara

      P.S. Glad to hear you’ve been able to shrink your balloon a little bit. ;-)

      • *smile*

        I am glad you didn’t mind – thank you.

        I usually leave a ‘re-blog’ up for a few days and then move it to my side bar for discovery again if that is ok.

        I have been thinking about ‘waiting’ lately and of how hard it is to wait for what you want most in your life…

        Your post was timely and intuitive.

        Right now I know three people waiting to see their first child.

        Right now I know two people waiting to announce their intent to marry.

        Right now I know one person waiting to see if the will need to have surgery for breast cancer…

        Today I met people waiting in line (one very nice lady who just lost her Husband three weeks ago whom I was able to hug)

        We wait Cara.

        L,L.

      • Feel free to leave the post up as long as you like, and when you’re ready, relocate it. ;-)

        It sounds as if there is much going on in your world right now.
        Praying that answers come swiftly, but that in the meantime, characters are developed and refined.

        ~ Cara

  3. I HATE waiting! I have no idea how the Israelites did it. Knowing there was a promise for them that they wouldn’t even get to see fulfilled in their lifetime. I would go nuts, I really would. Thank God He can still do good with impatient people like us.

    • Christy, that is actually a great illustration of what waiting looks like on a grand scale. I’m with you — I have no idea how they did it. I suppose being led by God himself, as a pillar of smoke, was somewhat of a motivation; but still they were a grousing lot of heathens. And like my ancestors, I tend to grumble more often than I praise. Learning, learning, learning.

      Amen!

      • not sure about a ‘grousing lot of heathens” but being that I currently am enjoying the fruits of the land because they waited and had faith that there was something worth waiting for. I can attest, it was worth it. Y’all are invited to the Judean Hills if you ever decide to see for yourselves :-)

      • You’re right: maybe not grousing heathens, but the Israelites certainly offered up their share of complaints. 40 years in the desert and I’d likely be complaining, too. Thanks for the invite, Cheri! I myself have never been any further than Florida, but I hear the promised land is as rich and fertile and stunning as I’ve imagined it to be.

  4. I am so happy to read that there is someone else out there that is as impatient as I am…. The worst for me, is when people say: “I have to tell you something…” and then they make you wait! What is wrong with these people???

    If I had the power to change cliches (which by the way, I’m currently working on), I would change this one first: “Good things come to those who wait”…. that’s just wrong…. Good things better come because I waited!!!

    For now, I will just wait to see what your waiting adventure entails ;)

    • I think most of us, were we to raise our hands and take a vote, would find that patience certainly is a virtue — just not ours! It takes half a lifetime to understand it, and the other half is spent trying to implement it. I would say I am about 20% there.

      Oh, entitlement . . . yes, I am a victim of that, too, thinking that because I wave waited I deserve something great and grandiose. Unfortunately, life doesn’t often work that way, so I have had to make some adjustments in that department as well.

      An adventure to be certain. I will keep you posted! ;-)

  5. There are places I will not go and things I will never see because of lines and the misery of waiting. I am an aggressive driver, an intolerant restaurant client, and just a general monster when I have to wait. When I ponder this I kind of make myself ill. There is a place to share in the doldrums of humanity and finding something in it without complaint or perceived suffering is very mature. Your post shows wisdom beyond your 29 9/10 years, and I could use some of it

    • Agreed, Michael; sometimes it truly isn’t worth it. I think the waiting needs to worthy, you know? Are we talking a cinnabon from Wetzels Pretzels, or something that will change the course of your life? It matters. No need to intentionally subject yourself to a maddening situation. In fact, avoiding them at all cost is a wise move indeed.

      Hope you are well, my friend.

      • Too funny . . . my family gathered around the dinner table last night to celebrate my sister and her family’s arrival. This topic came up, and I was rebuffed for admitting that I prefer not to sit next to someone when I go to the theater. I have wide-shoulders and I tend to move a lot over the course of a 2 hour period. They simply couldn’t understand why I didn’t want someone next to me. Oh, well.

        I agree with you. Your J and fermented grapes is the equivalent of my renting a movie from the local RedBox, Michael, and a delicious bowl of homemade popcorn — about as good as it gets for me!

        Cheers to you, Blissful Adventurer!

      • tell me about wide shoulders :-) sitting in a movie seat next to someone is no different than sitting next to them on a plane. I pay good money to avoid that and the same goes for home. Movies without shoes, feet propped, wife next to me (although she always falls asleep, I mean always) is first class. LED TV is the bomb :-)

  6. Thanks for the reminder that it is sometimes good to wait. I confess I don’t like to wait and have put potential purchases back because I did not want to wait in line to pay. I seem to get more impatient with age but it should be the other way around.

    • Oh, yes, I’ve done that too, Jonel. We have a store out here, “Ross” it’s called, and because of its reduced prices, often times the lines swell all the way out the door and into the fire exits. I’ve filled up an entire cart, then sheepishly stuffed it in a corner and made my way along the outside of the store — and out!

  7. my dad always said that the Bible had its own four-letter word: wait. it isn’t easy. for me, it isn’t so much me having to wait that bugs me, its making others wait for ME…that makes me terribly uncomfortable. i hope your wait is well worth the effort you are putting forth…and if you can savor the sweetness of the end result, well, anticipate away :)

    • Yes, I would have to agree that the bible is chock full of examples and stories of endless waiting. Disciples, apostles, and those lucky enough to be in Jesus’ presence were likely to had learned a thing or two about that. Even then, though, with the glorious Son of man at their disposal, I bet it was hard. Waiting, plain and simple, stinks! But it’s like a shot: we need it to make us better.

      I am anticipating and praying for good things. In the meantime, I wait on Him.

      Thanks, Paula.

  8. You described my grocery shopping habits very well! I tend to think that I have a lot of patience, but I am not necessarily patient at the grocery store!

    I also agree with you about our patience growing thinner as we get older. So true.

    It’s true that it’s not all about me, but can’t it be just some times? (Whine, whine.)

    Great post!

    • Oh, I hope you didn’t mind me using you as an example, Mary Ann. ;-)

      Honestly . . . I think those are most of our habits. I only described that sequence of events so well because I participate in them on a weekly basis!

      I am holding out hope that, as I grow older — and wiser! — so will my impatience balloon shrink!

      Ha! Yes, it can certainly be about you sometimes. In fact, let it be right now, for the next sixty seconds. On my end, I will celebrate you!

      Have a wonderful day, Mary Ann!

      ~ Cara

  9. I know people hate smart phones and stuff because it makes people incredibly anti-social… but I’ve found that having a smart phone also makes waiting a lot more bearable.

    I’m early to an appointment? I’ll check my email.
    My friend is late for dinner? I’ll bitch about his impunctuality on Twitter.
    Missed the train? I’ll play Song Pop.

    • LOL — not exactly the message I was hoping to convey, but yes . . . it certainly helps having a device to distract you from the short-term waiting.

      You make me laugh, Drew.

  10. What a terrific child actress that little girl was! In real life, if she had actually been like that, she wouldn’t have gotten the gig. I bet she enjoyed getting to act that way and get paid for it.
    I saw a movie once where the actor had to play a complete stoner. It was called “To Die For” with Nicole Kidman. He was so convincing. There’s no way he could have actually been like that, won out over probably thousands of other competitors, and showed up at 5 a.m. with all his lines memorized.
    Actors are such good chameleons.

  11. Cara, I love your imagery of the balloon-filled calf and the astute observation that a lot of our human angst is due to the mistaken perspective that “it is about ‘ME’.”

    A remarkable post with a lot of depth – reminds me why I’ve loved YA lit (in another life) and names like Crutcher, Cormier, Peck, Klaus, Myers are often the ones that spring to mind when I think classic reads or referrals

    Patience & perspective came to me late in life. For 50 yrs I clung to a victim’s POV until the words in a book made me realize that my caregiver’s mental illness was the source of her behavior toward me. The woman’s only motivation was self-survival; I was just part of the landscape. It was liberating – not to be responsible for someone else’s pain, unhappiness, self-destruction.

    It is admiral IMHO if I (in my journey through this life) can lighten someone else’s load, but I’m trying mightily not to assume that others’ dissatisfaction with “things that be” is my job to correct.

    I hope the waiting brings the results you are praying for or delivers unto you the grace and strength to share with the rest of us “How it is supposed to be done.”

    Nikki

    • What a delicious comment, Nikki. Thank you for coming by.

      Those names you mentioned — I recognized a few, but I think I will have to pop on over to Goodreads and look a few up. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. Have you read anything of Peter S. Beagle? I am fawning over his work presently.

      Your mentioning of “later in life” gives me hope. Thus far most have corroborated that it only gets worse with age. I would like to belief it’s the opposite, though.

      It sounds as if you went through an ordeal that was quite painful. I am truly sorry for that, but am gladdened to hear that you are now in a place of subsequent liberation. How terrible that you were stuck in someone else’s sickness, but I suppose we can hope that experience made you a deeper, more compassionate, empathetic person. I believe that. Your words ooze of all three.

      Thank you. That is my prayer as well. However, I must remember that conditional love is not love at all. If this journey is to reroute, I will have to make my peace with that.

      Have a wonderful day, new friend,

      ~ Cara

  12. Cara,

    Hello lovely lady! I really enjoyed this introspective piece of yours. Ah yes, “it’s about what can be done through me.” When you put it into that perspective, it is much easier sit peacefully with and just… wait. Easier, but still not easy! ;) It all comes down to faith, doesn’t it? Knowing that there is something bigger than ourselves guiding us along our journey and being malleable enough to follow where we are led.

    Have a wonderful week, dear friend.

    Much love!

    Lori

    • So glad you enjoyed this, Lori. I enjoyed typing this out of my brain. ;-)

      Yes, it absolutely comes down to faith; and trusting that His plans are bigger, grander, and more incredible than that of my own childish wants.

      You have yourself a wonderful week, as well, lovely lady.

      ~ Cara

  13. My life is made up of little bits of waiting interspersed by bits of life. Sometimes I think the waiting parts are the meaningful moments. I’ve had my best writing moments while waiting. I’ve made some momentous decisions while waiting to be called. Sometimes I’m so into scribbling something into my notebook that I’m disgruntled when it’s my turn.

    • I think you’re on to something poignant, Kate. What you describe has yet to happen for me; however, I am still new at this whole waiting thing. I have worked, worked, worked, worked–and now with a cease in production, I am a spinning top. I look forward to being so immersed in my next project that I don’t even realize when someone has called upon me to supply them with A FULL MANUSCRIPT.

      And so we write and wait and write and wait. So goes the writer’s curvy path.

  14. Cara, your posts ALWAYS make me stop and reflect. You truly are amazing at so beautifully putting into words our common human experiences. Today’s post resonates loudly with me. Waiting…….waiting……waiting…..I’ve had to learn patience since May. Something that, as the youngest sibling of four, I’ve not had to do much of. I’ve learned that you have two choices while enduring thid kind of waiting: wait with sorrow or wait with dignity and grace. I tried the sorrow route and NEVER want to go back there. It feels much better to approach this whole waiting thing with dignity. grace and patience. As usual, thank you for sharing today!
    Hugs, Beth

    • Beth, so good to hear from you! It feels like it’s been ages since we’ve chatted. ;-)

      Thank for this . . . such uplifting words, that truly, I was dire need of this morning.

      I can imagine, with all that you have going on, that waiting has been much a part of your life as of late. I continue to think about you and pray that you are finding joy in the day-to-day humdrum. You are never far from my thoughts when I am talking to Him.

      Oh, me too . . . As he youngest of 3, and the only child of my mother, I am accustomed to having ALL the attention devoted to me, and thus am not so very good at the whole waiting bit. This process has been . . . a lot.

      “I’ve learned that you have two choices while enduring thid kind of waiting: wait with sorrow or wait with dignity and grace.” These words, quite honestly, are tinged with such wisdom. Thank you for sharing this with me.

      Love to you,
      ~ Cara

  15. Great thoughts. I think we all have our tolerances and patients at different things. I hate to shop and am one to get annoyed at the clerk who has to wait for a manger to void a transaction. I learned to not go shopping with my daughter she looks at everything. Thank goodness for the internet shopping.

    You are definitely right life will go on. Somehow we get past those impatient moments and go on to the next thing.

    • Thank you . . .

      Your daughter and I sound much alike. ;-) I often drive my sweet husband mad, because I simply must look at, “Just one more thing!” When shopping with him, I try to have a purpose when entering a store.

      LOL! For me, internet shopping defeats the purpose, as I LOVE to browse, but yes, I can see why others would love that quick and easy method.

      Thanks for dropping by, Kim.

  16. You really don’t have to tell me, I know how much I hate to wait. Spying the amount of groceries in carts? Of course. Age decreases impatience? You must be joking… I guess it’s needless for me to tell where I am on the scale.

  17. It is funny that you mention the grocery store. I could really care less about the time I spend in the store or in line (i usually have nothing to go home to besides cooking). BUT Trent does care. He is impatient in the car (like riding the person in front of us in a traffic jam is really going to help… or jumping lines in the store is really a good idea) and at the store. We have to start in different lines to see which one goes faster and than make the switch. In the farmers market Trent will wait in line with some stuff, while I go and pick up the rest, so we can get in and out. It is perfect now. HAHA! But when I am alone, I talk to the people in line with me, sometimes to the point where they wait for me to be done with my checking out to continue the conversation! hahaha.

    • How wonderful that you can be present wherever you are, not hindered by thoughts about what you will be doing an hour from then. I think living presently is one of the greatest achievements a human being can make over the course of their life. There is always the temptation to get more done in a single day, when really, it should be the opposite; what can we take OUT of our day, and thus make it fuller, richer.

      It’s a good thing Trent has you to balance things out. ;-)

  18. Busted…I use a very complex mental calculation when it comes to calculating minimum wait time in grocery lines. Add to that driving routes designed to minimize traffic lights and general avoidance of crowded conditions and I confess I am not fond of waiting. Funny how God is giving me opportunities to practice that skill. Sigh…

    • Judy, we must have taken the same courses I think. Because I too have a very complex system I use when evaluating long lines.

      “Funny how God is giving me opportunities to practice that skill.” It’s like He knows exactly what we need in order to be more like His son. ;-)

  19. I also posted about this movie! About being a candyholic – not about Veruca though. – and those checkbook people -forget about it – I am sooo guilty of running away from them. Here in Israel it has become “acceptable” to leave your cart on line while you continue to shop – argh that gets under my skin.

    But I agree, these are all lessons in patience and we all need to exert some with our children, or elderly, coworkers and neighbors (even if their kids keep tossing their garbage in your lawn!) It’s not about me, it’s not about me :-)

    • I’ll admit that is a fun game to play, and I think someone else mentioned that tactic as well. Strategies seem to work well in the short-term; it’s the long-term-waiting that is an art form. ;-)

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