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...