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Traveling no where near the speed of light

I’ve always been the one to have patience with the person in front of me in the grocery line, fumbling with their checkout process and payment unless they are totally unprepared … you know the people who once the total key is rung then they look surprised they actually have to pay for their purchase and they pull out their checkbook and methodically make out their payment? They try my patience, but I will still quietly stand and wait my turn, and rarely do I grumble aloud.

My husband gets impatient with the drivers in front of us who poke along, driving timidly – demonstrating they are less than comfortable behind the wheel. I regularly have to remind him that they may be young drivers just learning to navigate the roads or someone elderly, like our parents, who don’t quite smoothly synchronize the driving process between their brain and their feet and slow down to compensate for that slowing response time.  I also remind him that it might very well be us some day.  No matter the case, backing off and giving the person room is my modus operandi – I am not going to tailgate anyone, thinking it will help to speed them up.

I would like to think all of my years waiting for others, exhibiting patience for people who are functioning at less than 100%, should earn me some points as I find myself as the person others are now waiting for.  You see, it’s not on purpose – I’m doing my best to not draw attention to myself or to slow you down, but from your glaring stare it is obviously not working.

Recently I traveled by airplane by myself and as I always do, I asked for accessible seating toward the front of the plane. I am allowed to board with the first group of people so there is plenty of time to navigate the small aisle and get myself out of the way of others – it’s not always simple with my purse, small bag (I try to check my luggage when possible) and cane.

This also means I am one of the first people to get off the plane – and while I am juggling again with my cane and bag and purse, I feel the stares but I don’t look back to make eye contact.  The people seated in front of me have already exited the plane and there is a line of impatient travelers behind me. I do my best to get my things together in advance preparation to exit the plane gracefully, but that is tough and darn near impossible to pull off.  I feel the pressure of holding up my weary fellow travelers and at times it makes my ability to not quite hurry, even slower.

I should also mention that the person meeting me as I exit the plane doesn’t intend to delay you, either; they have protocol to follow and must at least let me get seated in the wheelchair before they start moving. That pusher can only go so fast, and tailgating my chair won’t get you up the walkway any faster.

Sorry If I’m slowing you down as I travel – but there’s no speeding me up …. I would definitely like to move quicker, myself. This is the pace I move at –  if there were a faster speed for me, I would be happy to do it.  I trust you will believe me that I am doing the best I can but these signals just don’t get there as fast as needed to move like you or the next person in line, thanks to my multiple sclerosis.

I’m sorry for the inconvenience and your bad luck of standing behind me in line, as I said, I‘ve been there myself.  The next time you’re following me through, I hope you’ll keep it in mind that you never know when you might be the next person needing patience.

Wishing you well,

Laura

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Gale L
    5 years ago

    Laura,
    Thanks so much for posting this. It’s oddly refreshing to read about others’ experiences in situations that, I’ll admit, scare the living cr@p out of me. Okay, maybe not that much, but it’s an oddly startling thing to have to face so … much … sooner … than I’d thought it would come round.

    BTW, love the title! I tend to wonder whether light might slow down near us — turn to soup, as if it were in a different dimension altogether!

    Cheers,
    Gale.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    5 years ago

    That’s a funny thought -I hadn’t visualized bogging down light, sound and perhaps even time with my sluggish motions. Thanks so much for the laugh. We are in this together. Best, Laura Gail ( not Gale)

  • Sonya
    5 years ago

    Laura,
    My daughter & her family have been visiting with us, the past 2 weeks, so I am now trying to play catch-up with the e-mails & facebook; which why I am just now reading your latest installment.
    I’m right there with you all the way!! I too have always tried to be patient with others. Maybe that is because I took care of my parents, & knew how frustrating it was for them, or maybe it is just because they taught me to try & be considerate of others, for you don’t walk in their shoes. I don’t travel by plane, but I do know the exasperation, of being slower, dropping things, & fumbling with my money or change in a check-out line!! I too, am constantly reminding my husband that it could be me in the car ahead of us….be considerate!!
    I find that causing people to wait, came much sooner than I had ever imagined. I never thought at 30, or even 40, that at the age of 53 I would get a diagnosis like MS; that in 8 short years, I would go from walking 3-4 miles a day, to using a cane, not being able to find the word I am searching my mind so frantically for,& losing my train of thought in the midst of a conversation. However,these are the cards I have been dealt, so I shall try my best, to make the best of my life as it is. I know I have gained a lot more patience with those who are older, slower, & less organized. Although those folks who,as you said, look up, face full of surprise & shock, that they actually are having to pay for their purchase, or better yet, wait until this time, to gather their coupons…seriously??!!!, I have NO patience for…that, in most cases, is just inconsiderate!
    Hope you have a wonderful rest of the summer,
    Sonya

  • wheels460
    5 years ago

    I’ve traveled extensively and believe first on last off. I figure that way it balances out.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    5 years ago

    That sounds good except there is usually someone in the seat next to me who is needing to get off quicker. 🙂

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