I started watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee a couple of months ago. It’s one of those things that was on my to-watch list for a long time, so long that I’d mostly forgotten about it, and then one day when I had nothing else to do, one of the episodes popped up on my dash and I clicked play. I then proceeded to watch every single episode within maybe a week, and it became one of my very favorite things.
Although the main point of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is comedy, every once in awhile, someone will share an anecdote or an idea or something they’ve learned and it will stick with me. Now, I’m hardly one of those people to post inspirational quotes on Facebook (or worse, on Twitter) and I don’t make framed motivational “art” from Pinterest, but as someone who loves words and their possibilities and they way people choose to use them, I am a sucker for a well-turned phrase.
The title of the this episode is “Sarah Silverman: I’m Going to Change Your Life Forever” and in it (ahem, at 10:22), Sarah Silverman tells a story about how she noticed Jimmy Kimmel’s daughter sitting in the car with a shitty look on her face. Not because she was feeling shitty, just because that was her default look.
“I’m going to change your life forever,” Sarah told her, and proceeded to explain that if she was going to just sit there with a face, it might as well have a smile on it. And wonderfully, Jimmy Kimmel’s daughter took this advice well, and so did I, because while I do not have a perpetual stinkface (or even a resting bitchface; my face looks like I’m sort of doing a math problem and am very serious about it), I have recently come to realize that there are plenty of ways in which I can make myself better, and that like simply changing your facial expression, a lot of those ways do not require very much effort.
One of the ways in which I am trying to make myself better is by having patience. Historically, I have not been a very patient person. It’s not because I don’t know how to wait – I mean, I’ve got my phone and I can’t remember the last time I went anywhere without a book – but when I (incorrectly or not) perceive that someone else is wasting the time of others, I lose my patience. And this is an especially prevalent perception now that I live on the West Coast where everything seems to be either “hurry up and wait” or “it’s cool, man.” Even when it is not cool. Not cool at all.
Firstly, like I said, I know this is something I have to work on. I believe that being more patient will make me a better person and that’s pretty much the main reason for it, but also, I have zero to gain from constantly losing my shit over the actions of people I cannot control. No one’s going to move faster because I’m furious over all the things I could be doing if they weren’t so inconsiderate and/or lazy, and no one gives a shit about why I’m this way.
Although personally, I think that some other people could stand to be this way, too. Some other people could stand a little get-up-and-go in their step, a little fire in their bellies. Some other people should have had their dads serve as their soccer and softball coaches is what I’m saying, because once you spend ages 6-12 being screamed at by adult men to HUSTLE and GET AFTER IT and KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL GODDERNNIT, you develop this sense of “you know what, there’s some shit I’ve got to get done now.”
I have plenty of issues with the way I was raised and in no way am I implying that I am a 100% well-adjusted person because of this background, but when it comes to understanding how my actions and the time I take to complete them affect others, I am thankful that I still hear my father’s voice in my head (although don’t tell him that because that means I think he was a little but right and I just cannot handle his attitude right now). This means that DO WHAT YOU SAID YOU WERE GONNA DO and FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED are first and foremost when I consider the task in front of me, and while I’m accomplishing that task, whether it be driving to work or getting stuff together to go to a friend’s house or get the grocery shopping done, my thoughts are MOVE MOVE MOVE and QUIT LOLLYGAGGING and, above all, HUSTLE, COME ON, HUSTLE.
So you understand, then, that I might be a little impatient when it is clear that some other people do not carry Dennis’s voice with them at all times, and that any voices they do carry with them are not delivered at top volume. It’s fine to slow down when it’s just you – I mean, right now it’s nearly noon and I probably won’t change out of my pajama pants for a couple more hours at least – but when others are involved, whether this is people you know or strangers at the DMV or whatever, it’s always wise and considerate to get a move on.
But I am trying, and so far I have not screamed “HUSTLE!” to anyone on the road or in the store, and that’s already a bit of an accomplishment.