The Goddess Speaks
Being prompt sometimes is waste of time
I am always on time. That's just how I am. Tell me to be somewhere at a certain hour and I am there, guaranteed. Sometimes I'm even early.
I usually arrive first for a meeting. I always have time to buy popcorn before the movie previews start, and my daughter is never late for a scheduled activity.
I've learned the hard way that if an invitation says 5 p.m., the host does not really expect that I will be knocking on the door at 5 o'clock sharp. As fashion-conscious as I am, fashionably late has never been my style.
It surprises me that people are often approximating when scheduling a date -- especially in a social situation. For me it's an exact science, a reflection of my commitment.
I always plan ahead and am pretty exact in the details. I know how long it takes to get ready, clean up the house, pack up the car. I allow generously for travel time and even factor in for traffic along the way. I also expect my daughter to go with the program.
I could blame it on my mother, but in this situation I believe that fault lies with my dad. He was a prompt man. My mother would still be putting on makeup, and my father would be waiting for her with the car running. She was always late.
It wasn't until I was talking to my friend Paula that I realized that by being prompt, I have wasted a lot of time.
She told me about an outing her family had enjoyed, but suggested that it would have been more fun if they had all gone together. What she meant is that she got there on time and had to wait for everybody else to arrive.
I can relate. I'm often waiting for people and end up thinking about all the things I could have been doing while they were taking their own sweet time. What latecomers fail to realize is that by manipulating the schedule, they also manipulate the people involved.
Cell phones make it even worse. People figure that if they just call to say they are on their way, then they are absolved of their tardiness.
I give my friend Candy credit. We've been working and socializing together for years. She is usually pressed for time, mostly because she is so darn busy. But when she makes plans with me, she comes on time. She knows how I am and respects that. And I, in turn, understand when she is occasionally late. It's a reciprocal relationship.
What I have learned in all of this waiting that I inevitably have to do is that while I can't necessarily change my innate propensity for promptness, I can at least learn to be a little flexible. Time certainly waits for no one, but apparently it is a fact of life that on occasion I will have to.
And I can also learn to factor into my planning a conscious effort to be late. It will probably work out that when the latecomers arrive, I'll be right on time.
Lorraine Gershun is publications adviser for Searider Productions at Waianae High School.
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