Waiting (#314)

I am not a patient person. I was the kid in the car asking “Are we there yet?” every 10 minutes. My many siblings were equally impatient. Road trips were an endless chorus of questions about how long it was to the bathroom, restaurant, and destination.

Unsurprisingly, we didn’t go on many road trips.

My Chinese-American husband is patient (sadly, he grew up on Oahu, which is too small for road trips). I’m not sure if he’s naturally mellow, or if the tropical “hang loose” vibes worked on his personality the opposite way that the intense, political atmosphere of Washington, D.C. affected me.

Perhaps our different levels of patience exemplify the difference in our cultures. My Western mindset insists that I can control my destiny if I work, scheme, and worry enough. At the very least, maybe I can get someone incompetent fired if I document the crap out of his failings. But Andy doesn’t see the point; people are gonna be stupid and other people are gonna cover for them. That’s life, and you have no control over your own fate, let alone anyone else’s. Why exhaust yourself changing nothing?

Much of my experience reinforced my Western views. After all, if I argued long enough and logically enough with my father, he’d come around to my point of view on everything from childrearing to Black Lives Matter (though it usually takes about a year for him to process, do his own research, and then lecture me using my own arguments).

Andy’s parents? You can talk until you are blue in the face. They don’t hear a word you say if it contradicts their ideas.

Maybe that’s how Andy learned to wait. He had to bite his tongue and bide his time until he got a job 3,000 miles away.

I left home at 18 and stayed impatient. Impatient with waiting for guys to ask me out—so I asked them out instead. Impatient with college—so I graduated in 3 years. Impatient with friends, which cost me more than a few relationships. And impatient with waiting for Andy to kiss me, so I kissed him.

It wasn’t until I was pregnant (MISERABLY pregnant) that I learned a modicum of patience. Unless modern science comes up with an artificial uterus, there’s no escaping 10 months of nasty pregnancy side effects. There’s no point in complaining, or crying, and it takes too damned much energy anyway (especially when you’re low on energy because you’re anemic).

I learned to endure nausea, hives, exhaustion, strict bedrest, and then the kid being weeks overdue.

As a reward for surviving pregnancy, I got to endure breastfeeding a growth-spurting giant baby. Welcome, cracked and bleeding nipples.

Followed by an energetic child who didn’t nap.

All the while, I would chant to myself: “Just a few more years until preschool. And then kindergarten.”

Call it patience, or call it endurance, but the ability to hunker down and wait out misery came in handy when Trump was elected. Even as I protested, donated, phone banked, or argued Trump cultists, part of me was simply counting the days, much like Imani Gandy’s thread of GIFs on Twitter:

Then came COVID. Which everyone who didn’t vote for Trump knew was going to be a nightmare, given that man’s ineptitude. There was no way we were going back to normal—and no way my kid was going back to school—until we had a vaccine. A vaccine would take at least a year. We were just going to have to wait out the horror, misery, and death. Which was maddening, because it was avoidable.

But if I thought about how much tragedy could have been averted by a competent, compassionate administration, I would spend my hours enraged. I would fantasize about head-butting Mitch McConnell into oblivion. Or putting up signs with the current COVID body count and the phrase “I’m okay with this!” next to my neighbor’s “TRUMP” flag.

Instead, as I waited, I gradually took heart.

Because we didn’t get COVID (yet).

Because Stacey Abrams created Fair Fight and Wisconsin took advantage of it.

Because Gen Zs is smarter than Fox viewers.

And because Treasonous Trumpers are stupid, and Black Capitol Police officers are smart.

And now?

Tomorrow, the waiting is over.

Fucking finally.

I hate waiting

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

14 thoughts on “Waiting (#314)”

  1. I agree that “people are gonna be stupid and other people are gonna cover for them.” Your husband is onto a truth there. I am somewhere between the two of you when it comes to believing I can control my destiny. I’m a little bit east coast pushy, a little bit aloha mellow– but mostly I’m standing in the middle watching people wig out all around me.

    1. Ah, some folks really do love their drama. I do rather wonder how we will all adjust to not having every day feel like reality TV/ the end of the world.

      But boring and competent sounds unbelievably attractive right now.

  2. Fucking finally INDEED. I feel like I can breathe again!

    I also grew up on Oahu, and I can’t tell you how many Saturdays we would spend driving around the entire island. It took just a few hours, and that’s including plenty of stops. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to road trips these days.

  3. It’s over. Hurray! I used to be patient, but not so much anymore. Sometimes you just have to accept your situation, choose your battles, etc. Nothing will ever be perfect–least of all people. But it has been deeply disappointing to see how many people would support a person like Trump. And really it’s not over. Those people are still there–although even some of the Proud Boys have turned away from him. If I were a senator, I would vote to kill the filibuster. Don’t count on cooperation from the Republicans. Give them a few days and then give up on them.

    1. You are so right about the Republicans. There is no point in trying to unify with them. Just show them the same consideration they’ve shown Democrats over the last 4 years. And the filibuster is a racist tool anyway.

  4. It has been quite a few years and quite the past year. Sounded like you really had to be more patient. Unlike you, I am a very patient person. Don’t know where I got it to be honest. I had parents like Andy – I can argue with them going to bed and right again when I get up trying to make a point. COVID is definitely none of us voted for and who knows how long it will be around, or if the next pandemic is around the corner. Also, it is not vaccine but vaccines with a plural. Many vaccines are going around.the world but none definitely holds the hopes we want in a time where there are so many contrasting politlcal agendas. We all need to be a bit more patient before sharing is caring is achieved.

    Hopefully, though, COVID doesn’t get any much worse and fades out in the next couple of years.

    1. I guess your parents served you well, at least in terms of patience.

      It helps if I don’t think about how much better COVID could have been handled by…literally anyone besides Trump.

  5. “I would fantasize about head-butting Mitch McConnell into oblivion.” That makes two of us. God, I hate that guy. I always tell my husband he’s going to burn in hell with Hitler.

    I know I’m late in commenting, but man, what a long four years it has been. I blame it on my monthly hormones, but I actually cried during the inauguration. So much relief in one moment.

    And yes, I think the future generation (aka gen Z) will be even more empathetic and enlightened than us millennials. Can the boomers just retire already? lol.

    1. I cried so many, many times that day. Devastated over the many lost, especially since it didn’t have to be like this. But hopeful, because of Kamala and Amanda Gorman, representative of all the BIPOC women pushing Biden in a progressive direction. But also grateful that while we do have yet another old white man as President, this one actually does have both empathy and a kind soul. I forgot what it was like to have someone trying very hard to do the right thing.

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