I come from a family that was never late to anything. Time was a master to be obeyed. I think that comes from having a nurse mom and a doctor dad who were always consulting their watches for medications, pulse rates, and time of death. Years later, my mom still wore her watch with the face on the inside of her wrist, like she used to when she was timing contractions in the labor rooms. Needless to say, for my siblings and me, nothing good ever came of not being on time. If you were late getting in, you could be locked out of the house. If you weren't ready to go, my dad was known to leave without you. That kind of stuff.
But time is just time. You have the power to make it a tool or a weapon. You can let it rule your life or simply manage it. After growing up and leaving home -- on time -- punctuality was so ingrained that it became a test of another person's character. Mostly it loomed as a sign of respect. I was pretty rigid in the beginning. A guy who said he would pick me up at 8:00 and showed up later without calling didn't get a second chance. Assuming I wasn't gone already.
Later I had an in-law who was generous to a fault, kind to everyone, devoted to her church, and the most self effacing person I have ever known, but she was always two hours late. For everything. You could set your clock by when she said she would arrive. No matter what time she said, she'd get there exactly two hours later. It never occurred to her to call, because she never thought she was going to be late. She always arrived with profuse apologies as if her ridiculous lateness had never happened before. Time, I realized later, was the one thing that was all about her.
On the other hand, I learned not to be impressed by people who show up early. They're anxious and they make me uncomfortable. Every time someone is early, it just pisses me off. Getting to my house a half an hour ahead of time for a party, a date, a ride, whatever, was and still is, just annoying. I'm never ready early. I know how long things take to be on time, so you're just messing me up. It's like someone opening the door on you when you're in the bathroom. In fact, it feels just like that.
The key is being able to hit the mark. Not either side of it. Naturally, I married the most punctual person I have ever known. We were perfectly suited for one another time-wise. Laugh at me, but I'm not the only one who lovespunctuality you know. I heard that Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere had big problems in their marriage because she was always punctual, and he was hours and hours late.
But then I had children. And from that point, until recently, I have been fifteen minutes late to everything. For years, no matter how hard I tried, that incremental quarter of an hour was attached my to my arrival time like toilet paper stuck to my shoe.
The main reason I finally got a cell phone was to let people know I'd be about fifteen minutes late. Until this year. Something has happened. Recently, I had to be at someone's house the other day at 8:00 AM. I was about to call them to say I would be a little late. But I noticed I wasn't.
The first thing they said when I walked in was "Right on time." I can't remember the last time anyone said that to me. Maybe I finally have enough time to be on time again.