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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Canadian Virtue?

As I write this- Today is Canada day. As your read this it will not be Canada day. No sweet sisters- I could not get my shit together in time to post on a Tuesday, despite the fact that it was a 4-day weekend. Yes, I am training for a dreaded Half Iron Man and yes I am using this as an excuse to shirk certain responsibilities.

The importance of a CANADA DAY post rests in the point that Canadians indeed posses certain iconic traits that I must discuss here.


Canadians are a patient people. We are a country that waits our turn. Walk down a street in any major city in Canada during rush hour and you will see people lining up at bus stops. There they are- a row of orderly Canadians waiting their turn to board the bus. 

I am a very proud Canuck. I love my country fiercely. Like any great relationship I am easy to point out its flaws as a nation and easy to forgive some of them. As someone who loves here country I relish in the fact that I bear a good deal of Canadian traits.

I apologize profusely. I am sorry for most of my existence. I voice my apologies easily and often. Last week I bumped into our living room furniture and found myself asking for forgiveness from an ottoman.

I am polite. Please and Thank you are a part of my everyday vernacular. Canadians are known for their polite way of going about their day. We are especially polite in a foreign country…. Our mothers would be furious with any other behaviour.

Not only do I pride myself on spelling COLOUR,  BEHAVIOUR and HONOUR, I love the metric system and easily can convert celicius to Fahrenheit without a calculator.

And although my religion is not Hockey, I am a fan of socialized medicine. When the maple leaf hits the flag, this is my country though and through. Saints or sinners, Good or bad, I’ll stand on guard – not blindly but with an ever cautious questioning eye in the true spirit of a country born of polite conflict.

Yes, I am Canadian though and through. Born on the prairies, I’ve lived east (if you consider Ontario really east) and west.

But, I am not a patient woman. This is not a new revelation but I have noticed lately with 40 long passed that I’m willing to admit certain things about myself with more pride than shame.

This dawns on me as I write this- the day after Canada day. Just this morning I stood in line behind a woman who took 4 minutes to order her coffee. Yes she was a tourist fresh off a cruise ship but who has the time to wait 240 seconds for someone to decide between a “grande latte” and a “regular cappuccino”. Isn’t the difference just FOAM?

I shared this helpful information with her only to realize that my input was not speeding the process along but indeed impairing her ability to make a decision.

“Is the coffee good here?” she asked.

Ever the Canadian my polite side kicked in.

“My favourite”, (notice the spelling?) I said.

“What should I get?” she asked eyes, like a baby deer, pleading with me for some certainty? Her accent was British of some sort- and I felt compelled given our Commonwealth and all to help her out…

“Get a grande latte and be done with it. Tomorrow you can try the cappuccino.”

And there you have it. She ordered the latte and the day moved on. I should tell you that I was pleased with my act of coffee compassion. But I was not. When it comes to Java, I lack patience. I believe that my coffee place should have one line up reserved especially for me. I am this way with driving a car as well. This is perhaps why I do not own a car.

Until the city installs a new road just for me to drive on… I’m holding out on the whole automobile purchase. Perhaps this is why I ride my bike? Indeed I see the bike lane as my OWN?

Patience has never been my virtue. As a child I ate dessert first, as an adult I open birthday gifts in July and I was born in February.

Ironically in my work I am a very patient woman. But at home…. There is no delaying the 8 year old in my brain who wants it all right now.

According to Susan Cain, author of QUIET, I am less patient because I am an extrovert (shocker).

Patience can be taught. The art of slow contemplation of tasks and ideas can be innate or a learned skill.

There is a class at Harvard University, which teaches this very principle. The answer lies in teaching methods that stress patience, critical thinking, and a delayed response based on deep and meaningful contemplation.

Jennifer Roberts a humanities professor at Harvard teaches her students to contemplate and shift the pace and tempo of learning to wards work that requires you to slow down in order to pick up the knowledge.

In medicine and study I am patient. In life I am not. Could it be that there is a concept called situational patience? Could it be that in matters of the head I am slow and contemplative but when it comes to daily tasks, the world best move the hell out of the way so as to allow me to GET ‘ER DONE?

Who knows?

I am happy to resolve the issue by saying I have situational patience. This does not make me less of a patriot. I still apologize the furniture and am polite to a fault even when it means my coffee must wait.

But as for waiting in line at a bus stop? Screw it… I’d rather take my bike.

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