"Whenever I see English folk queuing impatiently today as they wait for this or that, I muse upon how much life has changed. Gone is our ability as a nation to 'hang around' one minute longer than is necessary as we go about our busy lives, filled to the brim doing less meaningful things than we used to do.
I think of my school days in the 40s and 50s, my earlier years on holiday in Ireland where I was born, my teenage years in West Yorkshire and holidaying in Jamaica during later life. These were the time and place where folk knew how to wait.
In the 30's, my reading of history told me that men would queue for hours and walked for miles seeking work for the day and think of it as nothing unusual to have done so. During the Second World War years, housewives would queue for hours with their ration stamps, often trying to secure the purchase of some vital food for the family's only meal of the day. I recall as a child in Ireland that if you wanted to travel ten miles from the village of Portlaw where I was born into the City of Waterford, there would be one bus to take you there at 8am and one to bring you back home at 6pm. Miss it either way and you walked.
As a teenager, it was common practice to hang around street corners for half a day or go into a cafe that had a juke box and sit and chat over one cup of coffee for the whole afternoon. In adult years, I saw the poor folk of Jamaica wait for a bus for half a day, not knowing if one would ever arrive and not getting angry or annoyed when one didn't.
As a country, we have most certainly lost the ability to be able to 'hang around' any longer than it takes to change our mind. As a world, we have become so preoccupied with 'getting there as fast as possible' that we are prepared to lose the experience of the journey in the process. Is it any wonder that so many of us consider life to be less meaningful today when progress is equated with 'speed' and regression with 'hanging around?Having been a stress management consultant for much of my adult life, I have to say that people who are prepared to wait and who live at a slower pace to life are far less stressed than those who are impatient and live in the fast lane.
When I first became engage to be married at the age of 22 years, though I'd been a bad boy where the ladies were concerned for many years prior, one was expected to be prepared to honour one's wife-to-be and wait and delay gratification until after the wedding. Even my mother often told me, 'Billy, the best things come to those who are prepared to wait.' I did as was
advised at the time, but later discovered I'd waited too long for the wrong thing. I would have saved myself much heartache had I waited for another woman to marry instead!
As I grew older, I became much wiser and was prepared to wait for the right one to come along. Now, when I first met Sheila, her kiss told me that all was worth waiting for, and this time, by God it was!" William Forde: May 8th, 2016.