Have you ever wondered why being on time is such a challenge for some people?
Sometimes it’s not what you think.
For over ten years, I sang regularly with a group of women. We had a standing monthly engagement, but sometimes we’d be asked to render an item elsewhere and sometimes – after we’d amassed a bit of a repertoire, we’d put on an event featuring ourselves.
As you can imagine, those kinds of occasions require that we be early or at least be on time, but I remember that invariably, a particular member always showed up after the agreed upon meeting time. Read – late.
It wasn’t like she didn’t know the exact time of the function. It wasn’t like we hadn’t done this a couple of times before. But we’d all be turning our heads every few minutes hoping to see her coming through the door…. . We loved her anyway.
My mother has always been a stickler for “time”. She’s much more relaxed about it now, but when I was much younger she never went anywhere late. More often than not she was at least half an hour early for any engagement, so she was always able to have her pick of the best seats, but she always chose to sit near the back.
I don’t think I’ve ever been that early for anything – unless of course I was with her, but you couldn’t often accuse me of being late. So when I left the island to study in that most fast-paced of cities, I already knew the importance of being on time. And if I didn’t, missing the bus and having to wait (in the cold) for twenty minutes before another one came along was bound to set me straight in a hurry.
But back here at home, some of us have yet to realize that “island time” is only a promotional gimmick.
I know lots of people who leave their homes half an hour or more after the stated time of an event, secure in the knowledge that they’ll be right on time when they get there. And when some families gather, there are two times given – the actual start time for the family members who come on time and an earlier time for those people related to you who consistently come late.
Sometimes the simple thing to do is to ask the person the reason for her chronic lateness.
We expected an answer from our group-mate along the lines of poor time management skills or a serious inability to multi-task. Or that she overslept. Actually, she told us that everything she needed was prepared in good time – her outfit was ready but getting it on presented a bit of a challenge. I imagined her, like a participant in a game of double-dutch just waiting for the right moment to jump into her clothes.
“It’s just nerves”, she said. We understood completely, because we suffered from them too. So in the spirit of helping a sister out – and in order to hold on to our sanity, we laughingly encouraged her to start getting ready two days before the event. That way she was sure to have the extra time that she needed.
She laughed right along with us. I don’t think she ever did realize that we were serious.