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27_dragon

I’m in a short line at the bagel shop waiting for my pumpernickel bagel to toast. Behind me, a man in his golden years is breathing down my neck, hoping to get his bagel before I get mine, even though I’m ahead of him in line.

He wants it now. Why does he think that his bagel is more important than my bagel? We live in a hurry up, quick fix culture and this neck-breathing can be the unwanted byproduct. Here he is, past his prime and yet he has learned nothing about patience.

Yes, it’s wonderful that there are many things we can get quickly, like a hot cup of coffee on a cold day, but when that convenience breeds impatience that translates into a stranger in my personal space, I can get very irritated. I want to throw up my hands and say to him, “Back off, Mister.” But I don’t; it wouldn’t help any.

I hear a thud and see my bagel drop out of a large industrial toaster.

“What would you like on it?” the curly-haired young man behind the counter asks.

“I’ll have a little cream cheese with tomatoes.” I paused and then added, “And some capers, too.” The capers just about took the fire-breathing dragon behind me over the edge—capers are small and precise and require more detailed work to organize on a bagel. The man got even closer to me and tapped his foot.

I pulled my charge card out of my wallet to pay. Then it was finally his turn.

“How are you today, sir?” the cashier asked him.

“I’m having a terrific day,” he said.

“No, you’re not,” I whispered to myself, as I walked towards my car. You can’t be “having a terrific day” if you can’t even wait for a bagel. That means that everything else is passing you by.