105 Ways to Give a Book

Why I Am Always Late

I am going to be big about this and admit that much of my lack of promptness is my own fault. First of all, I often think that I can fit in one more thing before I leave. I’m usually incorrect in this assumption. Second of all, I am chronically disorganized, which leads to a last-minute search for the right shoes, the lost books, or my car keys. I am usually successful in this search, but not particularly quick.

But the third reason that I am always late is bigger than me. I believe in my heart of hearts that I’m somehow cosmically doomed. I believe this because while I generally run into the more mundane delays — like bad traffic, broken signal lights, and slow drivers — I am plagued with other instances that cannot be normal.

This past Wednesday I was going to the government offices for a meeting with a member of the library administration. The offices are about 15 minutes from my house. I prepared early so that I would have plenty of time. As I found myself ready at 8:45 and my appointment wasn’t until 9:30, I worked on a blog entry. I mean, I can’t get there half an hour early, can I? So no problem.

I wrote until 9:00, signed off, and made my way out the door. Just as I was grabbing my keys from the kitchen table, the phone rang. I saw that it was one of my mommy friends, and concerned that she might need kid assistance, I picked up the call. She didn’t need me to pick up her child, but we did have some Girl Scout information to share. But I had to go, so we didn’t talk long, and I left the house by 9:05. No problem.

Except that when I got to the government offices, most of the parking lot was taken over by a county festival that was going on that weekend. I searched for a usable parking lot and then walked farther than usual to the building. But I still had enough time if I just walked a wee bit faster. No problem.

I got inside the building and to the stairs... and realized that I couldn’t remember if the library offices are upstairs or downstairs. If I went directly to the office, I’d still be on time for my appointment.

I chose downstairs. The office is upstairs. I arrived two minutes late.

In the past year, the following have occurred when I have tried to allow extra time to get somewhere. This can’t be normal.
  • Dressed nicely for a school visit, I exited the house on a hot day. My cat — who at 12 years old and 14 pounds is neither young nor spry — managed to slip out through my legs as I was leaving. Knowing she was too old and too fat to stay outside on that scorching day, I spent ten minutes trying to capture her as she slipped between the bushes and I struggled to keep my shoes and skirt clean.

  • After running over an object in a parking lot, I worried that my car’s tires were punctured. But they held up overnight, so I drove my kids to school and got ready for work. When I came back to drive to work, one tire was flat. I called my father-in-law for help and then, with fixed tire, drove to work.

  • Getting ready to pick up a friend for a Girl Scout event, my oldest yelled up to report that my cat had caught something outside. As I was coming to investigate, the cat entered the foyer with said caught thing in her mouth. I spent five minutes herding the live chipmunk back outside and another five calming down both daughters.
These things do not happen to people unless there are some kind of cosmic forces at work. I’m just sayin’.

4 comments:

MamaSutra said...

I was relatively punctual back in the day (ie. before kids). My reasons for lateness now are never as interesting as "live chipmunk," usually just "where's your sunhat?" and your shoes, and the library books, and...

Happy belated birthday! I enjoyed your posts.

And, I would like to join the marathon. Eek. I suppose the worst that can happen is that I won't meet my goals. I won't be in the page race as I have small kids and we will be focussing on picture books.

Sheila said...

I'm laughing my head off, because this is me, too. I just can't seem to make it out the door on time, no matter what I do. I can be ready a half an hour early, and something inevitably happens.

The thing is, a few years ago, when my son was young, I had the excuse that it's hard to get out the door with a young child. Now, he's a preteen and usually standing at the door waiting for me, sighing his annoyance that he had to stop what he was doing to stand at the door while his disorganized mother tries to get it together. So how do people manage to get places on time?

Anonymous said...

Your late because you don't accept being on time is your responsibility.
"I believe in my heart of hearts that I’m somehow cosmically doomed." As long as you pretend being late isn't your fault, you will never be on time. We all suffer from unexpected problems when getting ready, most people, make sure they leave enough time to deal with them. Being late is a choice, that's the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

I, too, feel like "COSMICALLY DOOMED." But your response was the "HUSH-UP AND CORRECT IT" that I needed to read/hear. My spouse & I spend so much time fussing over MY being late to everything. In my family, it's a joke when I arrive any place on time - let alone early. I am, from this day forward, going to hold on to
"PUNCTUALITY IS MY RESPONSIBLITY!"