It's Later Than You Think
Marblehead Patch columnist Brenda Kelley Kim talks about time, tardiness and taking things slower.
“I’ve been on a calendar, but never on time” - Marilyn Monroe
Yet another reason I’m nothing like Marilyn Monroe. Besides the obvious truth that I was never a sex symbol, a movie star or an American icon, I am also never late. Well, almost never, I’m not perfect, and when I have been late, well it was ugly.
This doesn’t mean that I am somehow more efficient or smarter than the average person. I just don’t like being late. It bugs the snot out of me to get somewhere late. I will own being a little tightly wound (Like a watch, get it?) about the whole late thing but I just cant help it.
I know some people have a fluid concept of time and if that works for them, so be it. I don’t share this concept. Five o’clock is five o’clock. Time is one of the few things that is exact. What’s hard about knowing when to be somewhere? You are late if you get where you are going any time after the time you said you would be there. It really is that simple, even for someone like me and I can't add or subtract.
In my world, if I have to be somewhere at 2:00, I am on time if I get there at 1:55. I’m late if I get there at 2:00 and if I get there anytime after 2:00, I am a hot mess. I don’t know anyone else who thinks this way about being punctual. I think it’s almost cool to be late. We are all so busy with things that matter, maybe being on time is an admission that you had nothing else important to do and no one wants to be that person.
More than a few years ago, I worked for an airline in their reservations department. It would be a common occurrence for a passenger to call and explain that they had missed their flight and needed to get on the very next one, right away. Back then the airlines had the “flat tire rule.” In some circumstances, they would not charge a passenger to change their flights because they knew unexpected things could happen.
What would set my teeth on edge though were the passengers who would say “Well, it’s very hard to travel, I have lots of stuff to pack, and I almost made it, I really think they could have waited 15 minutes for me, I paid $200 for that ticket.”
Airlines live and die over on time performance numbers. Unless you own it, a plane will not wait for you.
And then, the ever popular “but there was traffic.” No kidding, other people were on the road when you were? Going in the same direction? The nerve of some people, clearly they should have known you had a plane to catch.
Finally, passengers would tell me “It’s not my fault I was late, I overslept.” Oh, okay, lets call up Mr. Sandman and tell him he has to pay the change fee. If you have to be somewhere in the morning, it’s a sure bet you are going to have to wake up to get there.
I hate mornings with a passion, believe me I do not leap out of bed every day bright-eyed and whatever else. I slither out of bed reluctantly, at the very last minute, cursing my way to the coffee maker. Not for nothing, I am shocked none of my children went to school repeating what I cannot print here and am not able to filter at o’dark thirty. So far.
I really do believe that we need to slow down our lives. On the average day, I’m willing to bet that most people I see racing around on the roads in town are not on their way to the White House Situation Room. Maybe being constantly late for everything means there’s too much on your plate. There are only twenty-four hours in a day; that will never change.
I don’t get to places on time because I am Sponge Mom Superior Pants and therefore some kind of time management whiz. Not even close. I’m on time because I am the exact opposite. I'm usually a disorganized mess, “Often wrong, but never uncertain” is what my father used to call me. At least I can tell time, but that’s only going to get me so far. For now though, I am one thing Marilyn Monroe never was. I’ll work on the rest.