by Melinda Gallo

Can patience be learned?

Today I went into the cartoleria (stationery store) to buy a few notebooks. There was a woman talking to the shopkeeper at the cassa (cash register) when I walked in. "Buongiorno," I said as I entered. They both responded and I headed for the notebook section. I picked up a few and noticed that the woman was still talking, so I decided to look around some more.

After a few more minutes, I figured that I'd just go to the cassa and pay. I stood there and the woman kept talking. The shopkeeper didn't seem to notice me either, so I just waited.

I didn't know how impatient I was until a young man came in to the store and stood next to me behind the talkative woman. I kept shifting my weight from one foot to the other and he just stood there unbothered by it all. How does he stand there and not get upset?

Finally, it was my turn when the woman finally picked up her bags and headed for the door, still talking. I paid for my items and left without saying a word. I couldn't believe that a normal trip to the store that would normally take 2 minutes took me 20! Besides improving my Italian, I hope that I'll improve my patience while I'm here.

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