On How I Am Not Punctual

I am, by nature, a late person, not on time, the opposite of punctual.

I worked for a very large corporation, herein after referred to as “the retail store” for a long time – almost eight years.  The retail store had a punctuality/attendance policy in place that seemed….enabling.

The policy was something like this:

“Personnel could arrive to work up to fourteen minutes past their initial scheduled time.  If personnel arrived fifteen minutes past their scheduled time or later, they were considered tardy.”

This policy was my mantra for years.  It got so that I did not even leave my apartment UNTIL my scheduled time.

For example, if I were scheduled at 8:00 a.m., I did not leave UNTIL 8:00 A.M.!  Luckily, I lived within ten minutes of the retail store, therefore leaving me with four minutes to get to the time-clock and swipe my name badge.

In that ten minute drive to work, every red light was a challenge to my ability to make it on time, every slow driver an obstacle in my path.  If life were like a game, my drive to work was similar to the game Burnout, except I didn’t leave the burning wreckage of other vehicles in my wake.  At least, not that I am aware of.

And for years, I did this.  When I moved within one mile of the retail store, it got even worse.  Sometimes, I wouldn’t even leave until five after.  But I always made it there at fourteen after or before, with few exceptions.

Now that I have a real job, I can’t seem to shake the habit.  I have crafted the quickest route to work in my head dozens of times; I have planned out my mornings to the minute; I have cut my morning routine in half!  Even my disappointment and shame in myself doesn’t seem to help.

I am going to have to train my child to shout disappointments and heap resentment on me.  Maybe that will help.

Then again, maybe I’ll just laugh hysterically like I do when he tells me “You pissin’ me off Mom-my!”

How is that NOT funny?!

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4 thoughts on “On How I Am Not Punctual

  1. you could also think of how relaxing the drive and journey would be if you planned it so that you purposely got there every day a full 30 minutes before hand. Get there, have a quiet cup of coffee while reading a book or magazine, not a care in the world. I have been there. It sucks. Finally I got to the point where I was so frantic about it that I just decided I had to plan as though the start time, appointment, or meeting was a half hour earlier than it actually was and then I would scoop on top of that this vague idea that I really want to get there at least 15 minutes earlier than the “fake real time” just to be safe. Oddly, it did eventually work. Its like dealing with equations in algebra. You offset each side to cancel out constance and variables until you have x=15 minutes on a bad day and 35 on a good day no matter what. But then, everyone had their own way 🙂

  2. Heh. I’ve had similar experiences. A recent professional job required punctuality. Five minutes late was verboten. By nature, I’m flexible with time–as long as it doesn’t encroach on what is needed. In that case, I had to change my system and my mentality.

    What worked for me was figuring out that I needed to take the consequences seriously. Everything in life is a choice. Do I go to sleep earlier because I need to get up earlier, or do I have one more beer? Do I prioritize punctuality or do I prioritize my innate rhythm?

    I set my priority for punctuality higher than it was naturally. Over time, it grew to be second nature. In fact, I started to loathe when I was late to things or other people were late. That meant changing my prioritization for accepting others not living to the same requirements I set for myself… =)

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