Lessons in Patience from the World’s Slowest Pedestrian

I’m impatient, tense, and in a frenzy as I pull up to the intersection to turn right.

angry driver

The light’s green but because a meandering male pedestrian is wandering unhurriedly across the crosswalk on the street to which I’m trying to turn, I’m stalled.

He’s quite the eyeful; forty and short – maybe five and a half feet tall, with a hobbit-type potbelly.

His brown hair is a bird nest of a toupee with the crown not even pretending to match the temples. He’s adorned in a garish, undersized, well-worn, striped, algae-greenish, polyester sports coat that doesn’t fit him — or the current decade. His trousers are twisted so his fly doesn’t line up with his belt buckle. Neither is aligned with the center of his body, each wrenched askew in a different direction. The waist of his pants is pulled up so high, resulting in the pant-legs being too short, exposing his calves well above his socks. (As a kid, we called those, “high waters” because if there were a flood, you wouldn’t get your pants wet.) Pants, grey; shoes, maroon; socks yellow — he obviously did not have a wife to help him choose his clothes.

Wrapped within his short arms that the sport coat’s sleeves do not cover, pressed to his chest, are too many files in too few folders. While navigating the crosswalk, he’s trying to prevent the papers from sliding out of the packets on to the ground, causing his hands to be constantly in motion, sliding hither and yon across them. Further complicating this maneuver, is his Styrofoam cup full of coffee held at a dangerously perilous angle. With each step, the brown liquid sloshes over the brim of the cup, splashing him and his documents. It’s clearly hot because when it makes contact, he winces.

To top it off, he’s slower than a sloth.

Granted, if I wasn’t so stressed, it might not have bothered me. After all, it was almost like observing the offspring of a gnome and a businessman, and how often does one see that?

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Apparently, Losing Weight IS Rocket Science

For years, I’ve quipped, “Losing weight is not rocket science.

rocket-ship-and-planet

Shut your mouth and move your feet and you’ll drop the weight.” (The difficulty is all the “mental noise” that gets in the way.) Anyway, I’ve been proven wrong, as it apparently IS rocket science.

Let me explain.

I coach folks all across this vast land that find me via the internet or through referral. Of course, if they don’t reside in the community I call home, our sessions are via phone. Consequently, it’s unlikely I’ve met them face-to-face, or even know what they look like. Most times, unless it comes up in conversation, I am unaware of their vocations, as my purpose is to help them guide them past the pitfalls of shedding weight or changing another habit they don’t like about themselves.

With that as backstory, after calling my client, he asked me to hold while he shut the door to avoid disturbing his co-workers. This prompted me to ask, “What do you do for a living?”

“I’m a rocket scientist,” he said, “I study [something I couldn’t even begin to understand about solar winds].”

After getting past my initial geek-fest about really working with someone who is doing what I would have loved to do (if I was willing to have been a better student in college of course), we got down to brass tacks about his progress; which had hit a rough patch. Most people who are losing weight — at a healthy and sustainable pace — drop maybe a pound a week as a long-term average. He had only shed about 16 ounces in three weeks, and was understandably disappointed.

However, what smacked me was how he handled this unhappy slow down.

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