Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's Your Excuse?

Punctuality has been a problem for me for as long as I can remember.

When The Oracle and I dated, I was equally impressed and annoyed with his nearly-perfect punctuality. We'd arrange a date and he'd call and say something like, "I'll be there in twelve minutes." Why not round that to ten or fifteen?

As sure as sunrise, he'd arrive in the time he allotted for himself, whatever it was.

Being self-employed has improved my punctuality considerably. If the proceedings I'm hired to write are scheduled for 2:00 p.m., the court reporter needs to arrive -- and by "arrive," I mean be on location greeting the attorney, not just pulling into the parking lot -- at least fifteen minutes prior.

When I worked for 9-1-1, dispatchers on the prior shift hated having me as their relief, because I was rarely on time. Most of the time I'd punch in at 7:29 and scramble to my zone, headset in hand, all out of breath and spouting apologies and excuses. One thing or another always delayed my arrival. Accidents, construction, vehicle malfunctions, school buses, and turtles or turkeys crossing the street all had a hand in my tardiness.

I sometimes have nightmares about being late. Most of the time, I'm valiantly struggling to get somewhere and I'm perpetually delayed. I keep calling my destination on my cell phone to tell them that X happened and I'll be there soon, and "soon" never comes. It's awful and stressful and I usually wake up tired. At some point in my nightmarish journey, I also discover that I'm not wearing clothing, so I'm further delayed in trying to find something to cover my nakedness without anyone seeing me naked. (Freud would have a picnic with that, eh?)

On Monday, Precious Daughter had a play date with a classmate. I told the girl's mother that I'd return to pick her up at 3:30. Their house is less than five minutes away, and I was lat because I backed over a basketball on my way out of the driveway and it got jammed in the wheel well of the car. After several attempts at dislodging it, we decided the best approach was to drive forward and hope it pops out. It did, and I immediately thought, Who's going to believe this?

What was your weirdest delay ever?


The Cotton Wife said...

That time I went to the city and didn't realize there would be a 45 minute difference between 1230 EAST Main St. and 1230 WEST Main St.


Rustys Mom said...

Twenty three years ago I met R and have been late for everything since. But I can't blame R. I have just lost my ability to judge time or maybe I'm just in denial about how much time I need to do something or get somewhere. So you name it and I've been late for it. I think that I need to stop judging how long I think something should take and be realistic about how long it will take. Oh yea and it probably wouldn't hurt to add 10 mins. to that time too, since 10 mins is how late I always seem to be.

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