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Is Running Late Exercise?

Dec 24, 2007
I don't like the word late. I'd much rather be called tardy. It sounds less thoughtless, less selfish, less all about me.

For me it's all about wanting to finish A before starting B so I can get to C. I'm so determined to get things done I lose track of time. When I look for it, it's gone.

As a child I laughed at the White Rabbit as he ran through the pages of Alice in Wonderland yelling, "I'm late! I'm late - for a very important date!" Now I identify with him. Now I understand why my grandmother said I'd end up in a stew.

Well, Grandmother, I have my own Wonderland. It's a doctor's waiting room. Even though I'm not on time, I still have time to wonder when the doctor's going to see me.

Most people consider being five or ten minutes behind schedule as being delayed. Most people don't think it's a problem until they're thirty minutes behind schedule. The more we try to fit into our days, the more accepting we are of not being on time. We empathize with others and expect them to empathize with us. It's the Golden Rule of Delinquency.

A parking ticket under your windshield wiper or not being able to fit into last summer's bathing suit - life has lots of ways to let us know it's later than we think. In fact, I expect to see age spots on the hands of my watch.

I have friends who set their watches ahead to avoid being less than punctual. It doesn't work. They just have a few extra minutes before they have to worry about it.

In Los Angeles we explain our lack of punctuality with one word - traffic. Rush hour starts earlier and lasts longer. In LA we don't have toll roads. The freeways take a toll on us.

Everyone can be dilatory from time to time - that's life. When time to time turns into all the time, however, our waiting gives people a mixed message. It tells them they're worth waiting for.

Whether it's people or planes, I'm not sure better late than never is always true. After sitting on a runway in a cramped plane seat for two hours, never - as in never getting on the plane - looks better. Another time never looks better is when I'm paying bills. Late charges would be never charges.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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http://knightwatch.typepad.com
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