I am going to be completely honest and admit that I have a severe problem with punctuality. Growing up, I swore to myself that I would never be like the compulsively tardy individuals that I seen around me. But as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I am late. About 75 percent of the time (that’s actually being a bit generous…). And when I am late, I become flustered and impatient. I will admit that I am one of those people that push the elevator button about two to three times while anxiously pacing back and forth–as if that will really make it come faster and/or as if it is the elevator’s fault that I am running behind schedule.
I truly wonder if this is a cultural phenomenon. As an American who spent my summer abroad in Spain, I was struck by the patience of the people. While waiting for elevators (among other things), friendly strangers would smile and make casual conversation. Everyone was relaxed and at ease even when running late; time was more of a suggestion than an ultimatum. People were engaged in enjoying the moment and making the acquaintance of individuals that they would most likely never see again; they spent hours leisurely lunching and spending time with loved ones during the daily siesta.
This starkly contrasts with what I observed upon returning home. Here we are all in our own universes; strangers remain strange and we try to find time to scarf down a power bar in the midst of our long days. We spend so much time dashing through life, running from point A to point B, double and sometimes triple tapping elevator buttons to get to that next meeting, next class, that we forget to live. This raises a pertinent question: Do you push the elevator button more than once?