Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pet Peeve

That's right, I have one. Tardiness. As simple as that. I hate it when people are late. I hate it when I am late. Hate it. I think it is disrespectful to be tardy. You don't respect the other person's time as valuable if you are late.

While I was growing up, my mother taught me, "If you're not 5 minutes early, then you are late. If you are going to be late then you shouldn't go." We were always on time. ALWAYS. For everything. So on time, in fact, that my friends attempted to teach me how to be fashionably late. I still can't do that comfortably.

These days people ask me how I can be on time to church (as early as 8:30) with 2 little kids. Not just on time, early. Every Sunday. Every single one. It's simple. I plan to be early. I schedule time to be on time. I schedule the 5 minutes it takes to get to church. I schedule the 5 minutes it takes to get everyone loaded and strapped into the car. I schedule breakfast, showers, getting dressed, and I schedule extra time in case of tantrums, meltdowns and clothing/hair malfunctions. I make sure I have time for all those things to happen, and time for the unexpected.

If you know me you know I plan (schedule) very few things. Because if I make an appointment I have to be on time for it. It stresses me out to be late. My planner is very vacant.

I like the freedom of a to-do list. I like to make a suggested list of activities that is free of time constraints. Appointments leave open the option of being late; and I can't have that.

As a teenager one of my friends was constantly late. Her whole family was late. We used to joke that the problem was so bad they would be late to their own funerals. They simply didn't practice the art of being on time.
Once, her dad was supposed to take us to the airport so that we could go on vacation together. We agreed upon a time that would get us to the airport with plenty of time for check-in and security. I even had included a 20-30 min "time buffer" in case of traffic problems or other unforeseen disasters. I didn't schedule the disaster of them being late.
Needless to say, they were late picking me up. I don't remember how late it was, but I think it was more than 45 minutes.
When I called my mom after we got to our destination (we did make our flight) she told me she was sorry they were late. I asked her how she knew they had been late: she had been at work. She told me about the mess I had made in the living room with a deck of cards and the furniture. I had been playing solitaire while I waited and waited. I had gotten so mad I literally shuffled the deck of cards into the air and let it rain all over the furniture, repeatedly. The mess spoke volumes to my mom about how late they had been.
I still get really ticked when people are really late. REALLY TICKED!!!!

I say all this because I realized last night that I didn't just snap when they weren't feeding my son. I started to get mad when he wasn't fed at feeding time. The longer I waited the madder I was getting. I just didn't let it get to me for the first 20 minutes or so. Instead, I gave them the chance to make it right for that long.
It's like watching your kid do something that will eventually end badly. They do it repeatedly without the consequences until the last time wherein they get an sudden, unexpected result.
I should have seen the snap coming, but I didn't.
The burr gets under my metaphorical saddle as soon as "on time" stops and "late" begins. My level of frustration, disappointment, and feeling of disrespect is exponentially relational to the amount of time by which one is tardy for my appointment. Which explains why I was still just "warm" at 20 minutes late and "LIVID" at 30 minutes late.

If I have ever been late for an appointment with you, I apologize. I was probably already mad at myself for not being on time. If you need me to be on time for an appointment, just let me know. But don't ever, EVER, make an appointment with me and then disrespect me by being preventably late. I don't forget it when people are late. And I really don't like it either.


Osborn6 said...

I am exactly the same way. I will NOT be late. John will not even walk into a meeting late. (what have I done to my children) As far as we are concerned if we are not 15 minutes early to church then we are late. (that is the only way to sit in the chapel) I'm glad we share a common pet peeve.

I have a good life said...

Wow! Another reason you and I are so much alike. I hate, hate, hate to be late. Always early. Always. It is the only way to operate. Now I worry, though, about what I am doing to my poor children! :)