Do you ever have that feeling that you are behind? That there is somewhere you should already be and you are not there yet. That there is someone waiting for you? I feel like that almost all the time. I've heard it said that people who are always late value their time more than other people's time. I swear I don't feel that way! I often have a stomach ache worrying about the person or people I am currently inconveniencing. I think my propensity to lateness is a genuine disorder--complete with the inability to be on time and the extreme guilt that comes from always being late.
When I am late:
- Church: It doesn't matter what time is starts. 9:00a.m. or 1:00p.m. I am always late. Eric doesn't even wait for me anymore. I think he may be known as that poor man who shows up for Sacrament Meeting with some or all of his children but no wife. She eventually skulks in somewhere between five minutes to a half-hour after the meeting has begun. I have a friend in my ward with seven children under the age of 13 and they arrive at church EARLY every single week. What is my problem?
- Dr. or Dentist Appointments: I really try not to be. And I am sometimes successful. I think the reason here is that, at the last minute, I am looking for an immunization card, an insurance card, or my checkbook. There is always something.
When I Manage to Arrive on Time:
- Taking Kids to School: I am rarely--if ever--late doing this. My kids should not suffer because I have a handicap. (The doesn't, however apply to picking them up after school.) Now, in Haven's case, her pre-school has a really cool flexible drop off schedule. I can drop her off anytime between 12 and 12:30. I just have to pick her up at the corresponding time three hours later. (Which is also not a problem. This may stem from my previous experience as a pre-school teacher. Those teachers are ready to get out of there at the end of the day. Don't make them wait!)
- Returning DVDs: Okay. I'm cheating on this one. I subscribe to Netflix so there are never any late fees. You return it when you are good and ready. Still. I would like to take credit for never having to replace a Netflix DVD. I always return them. Eventually. (I had a very hateful relationship with Blockbuster because if they charged me a late fee when I didn't deserve it--which they did more than once--it was hard to argue with them when I already had a legitimate pattern of lateness with them.)I know that I have not included every circumstance in which I am late. There are, unfortunately, many random opportunities for me to expand the horizon of my lateness. But I have embarassed myself enough.
I would like to offer some sort of explanation, however paltry. I think that one thing it boils down to is that my mind thinks in increments of 15 minutes. I think that everything should take about that long. Whether is is getting ready for the day or driving somewhere. I consistently suffer under the delusion that it will only take me 15 minutes to get ready in the morning (or afternoon, as the case may be). This includes a shower. My hair air dries and I only wear mascara and maybe lip gloss (both of which I put on in the car--not while driving! I put them on in the parking lot before I go in somewhere. Which is why sometimes, if I only taxi people around and don't actually get out, I never put on make-up at all!). So why should it take any longer? It does and I should have clued into that by now. But my brain refuses to accept it. This is also the reason that I can make it to cello on time but not violin. Savannah's cello teacher lives almost exactly 15 minutes from our house. Sage's violin teacher is about 10 minutes further but I give myself 15 minutes no matter which place I'm going.
So. What to do? Is there some sort of medication I can take. Even a vitamin or something? Do I need therapy? Am I just a poor loser for whom there is no hope? I don't know the answer to these questions. I would love to be that person you can always count on to be there on time. (I have a friend from high school by whom you can set a clock!) I am trying. And perhaps some day I will have mastered time management. I just hope it's not too late.