A foreigner’s first impression of the U.S. is likely to be that everyone is in a rush — often under pressure. City people appear always to be hurrying to get where they are going restlessly, seeking attention in a store, and elbowing others as they try to complete their errands (任务). Racing through daytime meals is part of the pace of life in this country.
Working time is considered precious. Others in public eating places are waiting for you to finish so that they too can be served and get back to work within the time allowed. Each person hurries to make room for the next person. If you don’t, waiters will hurry you.
You also find drivers will be abrupt and that people will push past you. You will miss smiles, brief conversations, and small courtesies with strangers. Don’t take it personally. This is because people value time highly, and they resent someone else “wasting” it beyond a certain courtesy point.
The view of time affects the importance we attach to patience. In the American system of values, patience is not a high priority. Many of us have what might be called “a short fuse.” We begin to move restlessly about if we feel time is slipping away without some return — be this in terms of pleasure, work value, or rest. Those coming from lands where time is looked upon differently may find this matter of pace to be one of their most difficult adjustments in both business and daily life.