Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Punctuality. Or lack thereof...

One evening last week my wife met a girlfriend for a drink on her way home from work.  I was at home getting dinner ready for the kids.  Sounds like a role reversal from 1950, doesn't it? 

She assured me it would only be one drink, and she wouldn't be late.  I told her to take her time, knowing she would do that anyway so it may as well be with my blessing. 

"Where's mom?" my younger son asked at 6:25, as we were sitting down for dinner.

"She's meeting a friend for a drink.  She said she would be home around 6:00 for dinner.  She'll be here any minute.  It's just taking longer than she thought."

"The opposite of Mom is quick," my older son observed.  He's accompanied her on many a shopping excursion, and he knows of what he speaks.

My wife's aversion to punctuality comes in handy sometimes, though.  We know that we consistently run on the far side of on-time, and we build that into our plans.  For example, this weekend we were meeting a group of friends at a local pizza place.

"We'll be there at 2:30," we told them.  "Daley time."

By the time we finally did arrive, we found that our friends had taken advantage of our delayed arrival (and their own stellar organizational skills) to arrange and assign the seats around the table.  Eight adults and six kids, placed perfectly:

- The two childless adults were furthest away from the kids.
- The two adults that arrived first and assigned the seats came next, taking advantage of an envious distance from the clamor of the children.
- My wife and I came next.  We sat across from each other, and we each had a one-adult buffer protecting us from the kids.
- The two adults sitting next us also sat next to their own kids (the youngest children, who were most likely to fall off their chairs, and/or provide a general increase in the amount of chaos in the universe, and therefore needed direct parental intervention)
- The two eight year olds sat next to each other and started a crushed-red-pepper-eating contest, while the two five year olds sat across from their siblings and colored.

Had we arrived on time, we would have been expected to participate in the planning session.  As it was, we simply arrived and took our seats.  I like that kind of convenience.

I'm coming from a background of extreme punctuality, so this has been a challenging transition.  I hate to be late.  I get it from my Dad.  He's the kind of guy who will cut through three corner gas stations and a shopping center parking lot to avoid red lights...only to arrive ten minutes early, and then sit in the parking lot and work on a crossword puzzle.  I get it, though.  I would rather do a puzzle than sit at a red light, too.

But these days, I've fully resigned to perpetual tardiness.  Maybe it's what was really meant for me.  After all, delay is really Daley spelled sideways...

17 comments:

Laurel said...

Wow. Y'all are like doppelgangers for us.

Donna Hole said...

When I get to work on time, people think they're late. Imagine how badly it throws them when I'm two minutes early.

..........dhole

Rick Daley said...

Laurel- I need to knock Angie in the eye to complete the reflected image.

Donna- but how often does that actually happen?

kdrausin said...

You two sound exactly like me and Eric. He hates to be late and I hate to be early. Maybe I should carry crossword puzzles in my car.

Also-good one with being okay with your wife going out for a drink. Now you know when it's your turn to hang with the guys, she'll be thinking...I really want him to get XYZ done, but man he was so supportive of me when I wanted to go out...

Rich said...

Being on time is a curse sometimes. I always felt a leader had to set the priority high for puncuality. I can't shake it though. Even now, after not working for 10 years, I still am a nut abouot being on time/early. I chalk it to an unbreakable habit. Kind of related to a mrtini at 5 PM. Never early, never late, just on time!

Susan Quinn said...

"The opposite of Mom is quick" - Classic!

I confess I'm the tardy one in my family, but I was cured of that long ago by the lovely man that I married who would get us in a fiery wreck of tragedy if he was worried about getting there on time. Terror of one's life is a good motivator for reform.

And you rock for being cool with the after work drink!

Rick Daley said...

Neither my wife nor I go out that often, so when either of us requests a break-away, it's usually granted without question. Last time I took leave was to see Avatar with a friend (great movie). I can't remember the time before that. We usually go out together or take the kids with us.

We also watch closely for five o'clock to roll around, although red wine usually wins out over a martini.

Eric said...

Um yeah...no thanks. I can't do late. It's been ingrained in me by my parents since I could walk. I have to arrive at least 15 minutes early, even if it means standing around. I get irritable if I'm running late.

Crimey said...

But the question to ask yourself is being five minutes late really late. At least, that's what I keep asking myself when I'm running late.

Rick Daley said...

Eric- my choices are be late or develop an ulcer!

Crimey- In Daley Time, 5 minutes late is still too early.

Kristi said...

Oh my husband knows not to expect me home at any set time on my girls' nights out. We're seeing Shutter Island next week - our arms are being twisted to watch Leonardo DiCaprio but hey, we're willing to take one for the team. He knows I need my breaks and he's happy when I'm happy!

I'm chronically early which makes my friends upset at times. I've killed their excuse for being late when they see me there early even with two small kids in tow.

Rick Daley said...

Kristi- My wife and I both read Shutter Island, and we're planning to see it on a date night. Hopefully we'll actually make it to the theater and not resort to DVD.

Anita said...

My husband always gets places at the last possible second...it used to drive me crazy, but now we all just adjust when husband is home. The only rule is no speeding just because you're running late.

Donna Hole said...

Rick: hehehe! Does it really matter. The fact is: it does happen.

.........dhole

Bane of Anubis said...

Yes, but double sideways, it's Licky Dare (Pornstar name?)

Rick Daley said...

Bane- Going by the standard rules for porn star names (name of first pet + street you grew up on) my name would be Casey Foxwood. Although your anagram could be a movie title.

Anonymous said...

When the kids are waiting and a decent husband is home cooking, making the effort to compromise is nice, too. And drinks with a friend after work should take second place whether it's the husband or wife. This is what single people do, wishing they had a good husband or wife at home waiting for them :)

I've been married for 35 years, and the marriages that last know and understand compromise, even if it means passing on drinks with friends after work.