As several of my recent posts have been a tad too serious, here is a less solemn one on a nevertheless touchy topic: being on time. It seems like humanity is divided into two main groups; those for whom hours and minutes are etched in stone, immobile, unshakable and completely firm, and the rest who view time as a ‘for your recommendation only’, much like the Walk / Do Not Walk pedestrian traffic lights in New York City. The latter bunch, upon reading this blog entry, may react with, “say what?” While I suspect the time-keepers will nod their heads in sad agreement; recognizing themselves in the writings.
Although wanting to be on time is nothing out of the ordinary, I recently realized that the anxiety I may sense when a concern arises for being late, is actually an OCD. “Why?” you might ask.
(Pause, allowing time for you to ask.)
Because I tend to feel that angst even when the appointment I may run late for, is with a person who couldn’t care less if I am on time. But wait, that is not all. It gets even better. I feel at unease even when I may be late for a completely fictional deadline… Say I am running some errands, and according to my “master plan” I need to be at library by 10am, at the post office by 10:20am, pick up something from the supermarket by 10:50am and be back at home by 11:20am; all these are just arbitrary times I came up with. No one is expecting me at any of these places, nor must I be back home exactly by 11:20am. Still, I would feel distraught if I get off schedule due to, say, a chatty post office clerk, or heavy traffic on the road. Mind you, I am quite good with time planning, leaving plenty of room for the unexpected. Yet, just the thought of a slight digression from my precious timeline, can foul my mood. In my mind I am like Lieutenant Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith of the A-Team, puffing my cigar and, with a grin smeared all over my face saying, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Nothing less will do.
For people like me, who are almost always on time, or else pay dearly by means of self-torture, meeting others who do not suffer from such an OCD is incomprehensible. That someone would come late for a meeting, and will show no remorse, brushing time off as vanity, is an unforgivable insult, punishable by hours of water-boarding. Let’s see what such souls, not haunted by the need to follow the march of the clock, would have to say once water drops slowly over their smugged faces; how insignificant would minutes seem then! But alas, puff goes that vision, and I realize, with some degree of horror might I add, that I am the defective one; the person that has the real problem. The world belongs to people who have plenty of time, enough of it even to be late. I am just a visiting alien from a planet enslaved by two large arms; one longer than the other, and all I am doing is trying unsuccessfully to assimilate.
Learned from: self-observation, considering why I stress out about being late for my own arbitrary timeline.