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HONORING MY MOTHER | Pick a number

By Icoy San Pedro

WAITING for one’s turn, be it in a line or not, just seems to always reveal that there is a dormant cheat gene just longing to come out in anybody. So, whenever you find yourself in any situation which requires that you (1) get a priority number, (2) fall behind a long line or queue or (3) even join in that silly Trip-to-Jerusalem-like game of seat-transfer, common in government service offices waiting areas, pause and observe. Breathe deeply, think ‘this has nothing to do with you’, and then wait.

Almost always, there will be one or two (or worse, more) itchy feet who will likely try to jump the gun on everyone. And if there was ever a bet on the probability of this happening, you would probably win most of the time and luck would never have to be a factor. These jumpers, supposedly come in all sizes, shapes and even ages. Sadly, we can even count among them some among our kindred seniors.

During one booster shot vaccination activity for Covid-19 at a local school last month, about thirty of us oldies were already segregated from the rest and dutifully assigned to a faster, priority line. While we could hear the usual complaints and grumblings from the lines opposite ours, many of us thought we were fortunate; that waiting for our turn would prove to be a more pleasant one, compared to the restless throng before us. However, when the announcement over the speakers suddenly called for ‘Next 5 people’, five old ladies (you would think they were timid-looking) from the back of the line immediately rushed forward and overtook the front in the line who were slow to respond. From my viewpoint in the middle row, I could clearly see the varied reactions from the aggrieved party of ex-five: disbelief, shock and then, sadness. My first reaction however was “at least they could count”, while others among us merely laughed as if to exclaim, really seniors, what a lively bunch!

This has always been one life lesson I try to tell my young son who has already the makings of very good driver. It is not enough that one handles the technicalities masterfully, one also has to always be courteous, especially on the road. I tell him to never be bothered by those who constantly try to sneak past him, to give way when necessary and finally to think ahead and within the context: this might as well define you. Alas, why is it that many, seniors included, go through life by rushing through it. It’s like the marketed myth related to speed-reading. Comprehension of what you’ve technically speed-read is never around ninety percent, as advertised. Or even like taking your meals, and chewing your food slowly. Where’s the enjoyment of swallowing in gulps anyway? A favorite Tibetan quote I always return to whenever I lose to the urge of rushing forward: The oxen may be slow, but the earth is patient. So, pick a number and wait your turn.


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