The Old Man and the Intersection.

I thought I would take a moment to talk about an incident that occurred a few months back that made me wonder where we are headed as a people. I was driving down Fairfax avenue in Hollywood when I came to a stop at a traffic light. There were four cars ahead of me, but when the light turned green none of them moved. Then slowly the cars inched forward until I could see the cause of the delay. There was an old man pushing his dilapidated vehicle to the side of the road. It had died on him just as he had reached the intersection. My first instinct was to get out of my car and go help. But seeing that the old man was having no trouble moving his vehicle, I decided to wait patiently rather than cause a second hold up by leaving my car. The three drivers ahead of me had different ideas. One after another they quickly sped up and swerved around the old man. One of the cars came dangerously close to hitting him. They almost seemed angry as if by causing the delay, the old man had greatly inconvenienced them somehow. If a single driver had done this, I would have attributed the incident to one inconsiderate asshole, but all three acted the same way. I waited until the old man pushed his car safely off to the side before proceeding. I felt a little sorry for him knowing how it was to have an unreliable car. I did own a Ford Ranger once.

Then I started to think about The Old Man and the Sea. For those who have never read the novel, it is about an old man who fights a Marlin for days determined to bring in this catch of a lifetime. He shows a great deal of strength, enduring hunger, fatigue, and injuries, but more importantly, he displays an enormous amount of patience throughout the battle.

In order to succeed at any worthwhile endeavor, one needs to have patience. The operative word here is “worthwhile”. People can achieve wealth quickly by capitalizing on trends or cheap fads, but I’ve never heard of a Nobel prize winner becoming a scientist over night. As I see more children addicted to the internet, smart phones, and tablets, using twitter, vine, or anything that only requires an attention span of a few seconds, it really worries me. How is our country to produce the scientists, engineers, and great minds of the future if our kids cannot focus their energies for any prolonged periods of time (Playing World of Warcraft for twelve hours straight doesn’t count). I’ll admit that I can become inpatient as well. But when I do, I try to remember the big picture. I try to be a bit more understanding. I try to set a good example for my nephew, because I know that it is only through my actions that he can learn the value of patience. So whether it be a long term goal or simply waiting for an old man to push his car to the side of the road, I am hoping more people will take the time to contemplate the situation before acting. For I will be the old man in the intersection one day, and I don’t want to get run over.


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