BY WOLE OGUNTOKUN
I HAVE come to the conclusion that patience is not a strength very many people possess.
As a matter of fact, my studied opinion from observations is that there are very few people who can lay claim to knowing what the word, “patience”, really means.
In The Whisperer’s attributes, and I would like to think there are many, being the most patient person in the world is not a major one.
We all have our glib definitions of patience, always swift to say, “I can be patient for a long time, but...” I dare say true patience of the kind that cannot be overcome is not human.
Like steam in a kettle, frustrations and impatience will find outlets for annoyance and unleash a figurative jet of scalding steam on the nearest object sooner or later.
The trick is to manage temperaments as best as you can, so you never force your partner and yourself into positions in which both of you can never come back.
WHAT has made patience the issue for me? There are several reasons and I will give examples.
One of the examples below happened to me but I’ll leave you to guess which one it might be. What’s the use of totally robbing myself of the mystique that should cloak every writer on issues concerning relationships?
A friend I would normally regard as very patient (how little I know of some things), told me of a young female he met a while ago; someone he regarded as very pleasant in disposition as well as being fair of face, which was a great plus in his own books.
They found common ground together, got on like a house on fire, became fast friends and a relationship soon developed.
However you never really know the limits of your own patience till someone helps you test it.
For some reason, when we are with a partner who really cares about us and does not hide it; we, being human, tend to take things for granted.
We forgot ourselves, drum our feet on the floor throwing mini-tantrums when we should show appreciation for what we have and try to nurture it.
So my friend would “patiently” accept all the idiosyncrasies of his partner and her many mood swings.
One night as he came out of a movie theatre, she called him with a telephone number she seldom used and which he had never bothered to save.
According to him, he went “hello, who is this?” but her annoyance erupted that night because he had failed at immediate voice recognition.
She cut the call off and kept on terminating the connection when he repeatedly called back realizing his mistake. It had taken a while that night for him to deduce who it was on the phone but that was the night his patience with her ran out. As far as he was concerned, his offence had not been a capital one.
Her tantrum was badly-timed, it rubbed him the wrong way and he sent her a terse text the same night saying he wanted nothing more to do with her. That is the way it has stood to this day.
When she realised her cup had run over, she tried to make peace but love or whatever it was they had, had flown the coop. It’s amazing how something innocuous will be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.
NOW, the times I have written to say things that might be construed as not favourable to the female specie, a few women have accused me of woman-bashing.
The only way you can write a column like this is if you love women. I do. And that is the long and short of it.
The more base-minded might begin to read meanings into me “loving women” but I’ll let them do whatever adds meaning to their lives on grey, rainy days.
MY point on patience? It is not an infinite emotion, larger than the sea and wider than the oceans.
It is a very human emotion and it can run out. As a matter of fact, the guaranty is that if you over-use your credit on anything, you’ll slot in your card one day and be informed by the machine that you have run out of credit.
There was a young man studying for a postgraduate degree who came across an under-graduate in her final year.
A relationship blossomed which they regarded as love. However, because he would fawn over her day and night, she soon got tired of his attention.
She was short-tempered, easily irritated and did not even attempt to hide she was keeping her options open just in case a better deal came by.
One day, he walked out without notice, she attempted repeated, and desperate comebacks but he was too far-gone.
NOW there are some people, male and female, who are suckers for love. They will do anything to keep a relationship they regard as sacrosanct (yeah, check a dictionary).
However, on the other side, there are many of us also who have a default setting that is programmed to abuse those who hold us dear. We become like children who have been given brightly coloured, brand-new toys.
We are fascinated at first by the new gift, turn it round and around in our hands then proceed to bash it against a wall to test for its durability.
After a while, we discard the toy. I bet some of you reading have an uncomfortable feeling here.
The oddity of the situation is that we suddenly come to our senses when the “gift” decides after a long period of abuse, whether emotional or mental, that it has had enough.
The gift decides it will walk through our door and then we begin to grovel and beg.
WHY are we this way? Even I cannot tell. I can only ask you to appreciate what you have, when you have it, before your partner decides the love and attention shown to you is a complete waste of time.
We have all met inconsiderate partners; people who did not respect our time, our values, our emotions, the respect we give them and our love.
If you are one of the many who have taken a blessing for granted, this is the time to show appreciation before the blessing is retracted by a partner who will suddenly come to his or her senses.
Listen to Janet Jackson, “You do not know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”