Pushing faster and harder does not make it happen sooner

The dogs and I were rounding the corner and she was standing there a few feet ahead, at the intersection. She was really, really visually appealing, at least what I could see because all I could see was the back of her. What I noticed, in the order that I noticed, was:

  1. the persistent sound that the push-to-cross button makes when someone presses it fast and furiously, that awful electronic high-pitched beep-beep-beep
  2. the hand that was pressing and pressing and pressing on it; the shape of it, the fingers, the nails
  3. the bare arm, then the long brown hair
  4. the curve from her shoulder to hips, then her fitted jeans, then all of the back of her body, head to toe.

Nice. All rather well-put together and interesting enough to wonder about the rest of her; however, that sense of nice was being edged out by the physical and emotional noise she was creating by her non-stop pressing-pressing-pressing of that poor button in a hard, fast, staccato sort of way to make it beep-beep-beep, a sound that was maddening to the dogs and to me.

People are curious in what they do when they approach elevator buttons and crosswalk buttons. Some people press once and wait. Others press once, and when it doesn’t come immediately, press again. Others press again and again and again until the elevator arrives or the light changes or someone tells them to stop. Sometimes, every new person who arrives presses the button, even if the light is on to show it’s already been pressed, because you know, they might have the magic touch, or it’s a superstitious thing, a thing to do just to be sure, or in case everyone who’s waiting neglected to press it and the light is lying: it’s not really on and no one has pressed it until now.

My motto? Better twice than not at all. However, pushing the call button twice or 17 times doesn’t make the elevator come or the light change two or 17 times faster. Not only that, leaning on the elevator call button or the crosswalk button, or pressing it a million times with increasing frustration is futile and a waste of energy whether the presser is gay, lesbian, bi/poly/pan/trans/sexual, straight, unlabeled, questioning, two-spirited or entirely indifferent.

The unfortunate thing is that people, even lesbian people, who engage in excessive button pushing thing are rewarded for their silly behaviour because at some point the elevator DOES arrive and the light DOES change and they think that with their pressing so doggedly, that they made it happen, when that’s not what’s happened at all. There are little things called sensors and algorithms and traffic flow and people on other floors and they all influence what makes the light change and the elevator arrive.

What we tend to do is make huge leaps in logic to draw straight lines of cause and effect and we rationalize or justify our irrational behaviours.

We cannot just be in time and space for a few minutes, just breathing. We have to keep active, busy. Standing, waiting, being, is not something we are good at doing. We have to fill time. Vanquish the discomfort. Some of us have to do something, have to force an outcome, have to feel productive, even if it’s a false sense of productive, as in pushing buttons more than once.

Maybe it’s the older sister in me but I wanted to tell the woman at the intersection who seemed attractive that pushing the button hard and fast and making that beeping noise was NOT going to get her across the street one second sooner than if she pressed it once. But I didn’t.

Instead I wondered why someone would do that excessive button pushing like it’s a hit of something addictive or a game of Whack-a-Mole. I wondered who peed in her Corn flakes. I wondered if she was late, or if for her and others it’s about control and the need to feel as if they have some influence on something. Or was she just an impatient person and wants things she wants, right now? Who knows.

By the time I got fully around the corner the light changed and the attractive-from-behind woman was crossing the street, walking heel-toe, heel-toe and hitting the ground quite hard, harder than is probably good for her body. She telegraphed impatience and anger. Not that I took what it seemed like to be the truth, just noting what seemed to waft around her.

In the world of judging a book by its cover — a bad thing to do — I figured she was in for a challenging day because it seemed that the day wasn’t going to move fast enough for her. I hoped I was wrong.

As you know a bad thing to do can also be a fun thing to do, like watching women’s behaviour and reading them like fortune cookies. What that means is interpreting everything I see and hear a woman do (or not do) as indications of how she might be in a more intimate setting (read: in bed.)

I’d wonder about the maturity and ability of anyone who blindly pushes and stabs at a button to cross the road or call the elevator. And if it was a woman, I’d have serious reservations about the implications. Just sayin’.

In case you’re wondering, I have not been wrong yet.

About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween. On hiatus from writing anywhere else but here ... at least for now.
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6 Responses to Pushing faster and harder does not make it happen sooner

  1. bookish butch says:

    Patience is a virtue:-)
    Twice..in elevator buttons- anything else is overkill.
    I believe it was Confucius or Oprah who said,
    “Nice backs are sometimes wasted on the impatient”🙂

    • fs says:

      BB: Hmmmmm….. So what does the second push of the button do? I have not got a reasonable answer to that. I think Confucius or Oprah were wiser than I first thought. Oh complete other tangent: Have you read Aimez-vous Brahms by Sagan? You might like it.

      • bookish butch says:

        I did, years ago, I don’t really remember it, but, love the title.
        Bonjour, Tristesse, I remember, fondly, Sagan has the best titles, don’t you think? But, my all time favourite title is from
        Salinger, a short story, To Esme, with Love and Squalor-
        perfection. I’ll look into Brahms again:-)

      • fs says:

        BB: I think you are correct: that is the absolute BEST title. There’s a cool clothing shop here in Toronto called Love and Squalor and I knew of a cat named after the character Esme… Sagan…was an interesting character.

  2. makingspace1 says:

    Ha – it took me a while to think about “the implications” – haha (too many years spent in hetworld and one kind of resigns oneself… haha)

    The laugh though was much needed as well as the larger perspective. I have something going on that’s got me in an active panic right now. And it’s time to slow down and just be. The boundaries have been set. They are likely to be crossed. And when they are I will handle it.

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