Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Better Late Than Never

Oh, hi. Sorry, I’m late.

That’s getting to be a bit of a habit for me lately. My whole life I’ve been punctual. If I were meeting you somewhere, I’d be the guy who’d show up 5 minutes early just so I wouldn’t keep you waiting. In school, I’d be the one to get to class early. Get a good seat, catch my breath, gab with my friends, read a magazine. It was a pretty good system.

In the case of meeting someone, I always viewed it as being respectful of the other person. Why should you have to wait for me? If we agree on a time, we’re both adults. We should do what we need to do to be there at the designated time. No sweat, right?

It would piss me off when certain friends were habitually late. Sure, things happen. But when it is a recurring pattern throughout our lives, it’s clear that either (a) you don’t have your act together, or (b) you think your time is more important than mine. To this day, I know that when I’ve arranged to meet certain people at 1:00, I don’t have to bother showing up until 1:10 and even then, I’ll wait for 5 minutes.

Much to my chagrin, somehow over these past few years, it’s been harder and harder for me to get places on time.

The kids are part of it. Inevitably, someone needs to go to the bathroom one more time, drops a glove somewhere, needs help tying a shoe or putting a seatbelt on. After realizing we were constantly rushing the kids out of the house, stressing them and us out, MLB and I decided to try to be proactive about this. We usually factor in an extra 15 minutes whenever we need to leave to get somewhere to allow for these kinds of delays. You’d think that would suffice.

It doesn’t.

And while I think the kids are part of it, I can’t really blame them when I’m by myself and I’m late. There’s always one more thing to do. One more call to make. One more email to send.

As I consider this, I think it’s probably because I try to cram 65-70 minutes into every hour. It’s kind of like convincing yourself that if you fold a map over on itself, you’ll get to your destination sooner. It’s a nice idea but doesn’t really work.

It’s a little disease I have called the inability to say “no”. (More on that another time.) Suffice to say that like many people these days, I’m so overcommitted that things will need to slide from time to time, until there’s a 25th (or 26th or 30th would be really nice) hour added to each day.

So if I’m meeting you, I promise to try not to be late. If I am, please don’t take it as disrespect. Consider it the opposite. I’m letting something else slide while I come meet you.

And I promise not to hold it against you if you show up at 1:15.

2 comments:

lacy said...

r.-
since i am habitually late for everything i do, including meeting friends, due to cramming 65-70 mins into every hour, my apologies for past and future lateness.
but, i'm glad you're not mad at me anymore. if you ever were. which i hope you weren't.
-l.

Rob said...

Lacy --

Was never mad at you. In fact, I'd put you in the punctual category.

Rob