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THE WHITE RABBIT

6 March 2003

She was late. Again.

Why did I expect anything less? "I'll be there at 10:30," she said. This meant I came into the office four hours early because there was some business that needed to get done for her and that was the only time she could make it.

At 11, I called her cell phone. "I'm 10 minutes away," she said.

I've always excused it as having been raised by a railroad man. My father didn't work for the railroad, but he worked on the train. In the days when they transported mail by train, he worked in the mail car, between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

When you work on a train, you learn to be on time. Always. Train timetables don't wait for people's convenience. At least they didn't used to. I don't know about now.

So I grew up being very prompt. And while there are few things that consistently get me upset, lateness is one of them. I think it is the height of inconsideration (or arrogance) to assume that people have nothing better to do than to sit around waiting for you.

I actually had things to do today, believe it or not. I was making good progress on the stack of typing, which I had to leave in order to meet her because 10:30 was the only time she could get there.

So I sat and twiddled my thumbs (and found some busy work around the office, but I really wanted to be finishing off the typing deadlines) and waited until it was convenient for her.

I have worked for physicians who program "lateness" into their routine (Dr. G is not one of them, fortunately-and if he's late, he always calls to apologize). One physician would look at his schedule and if his first patient was scheduled for 9 a.m., that meant he had to leave his house no later than 9:15.

Maybe schedules don't matter any more. I don't know.

The Lamplighters is one of the few theatres I know which actually starts on time. Not so much now, but in the 60s the man who ran things (who had been a Naval officer) insisted on the curtain going up on the dot of 8 p.m. If there was a traffic jam which was delaying the patrons, he would hold the curtain, but he would get up and explain to the audience why the curtain was being held.

Now 8 p.m. shows start anywhere from 8:05 until 8:15. (Steve recently told me that Jimmy, his partner, who worked on Broadway, says that no 8 p.m. show starts before 8:15 -- so maybe it's The Lamplighters who are off. Who knows?)

My promptness may be one of my major character flaws. I have never learned the knack of being fashionably late.  To me, if you are invited to someone's house for a social occasion and the invitation says 8 p.m., you arrive at 8 p.m. Brasilians used to laugh at me. 8 p.m. "Brasilian time" would be closer to 10. But I generally try to arrive about the time for which I have been invited. Frequently that means that I'm the only one there for some time.

The worst example of that was a Christmas party my boss gave the first year I was working for the UC Physics Department, back in the early '60s. I don't know what time the invitation said, but I showed up on the dot, like I always did. Not only weren't they ready, but the host was still in the shower. I was mortified.

After that I tried to force myself to be fashionably late to social gatherings. It goes against my grain, but I try not to arrive too early (more because it's less embarrassing for ME to wait until someone else is there before arriving).

But that's a social occasion. I still believe that in the business world, even a casual business like this one, if you say you're going to be somewhere at a certain time, you have a responsibility to be there at that time--especially if someone has made special accommodations for you.

I've never known her to be on time. And when she arrives, she never has enough time to discuss anything because she's already late for her next appointment. She's a very nice person, but her tardiness drives me to distraction.

Oh yeah-and the "10 minutes away" she was when I called her? She arrived 20 minutes later.


wpe23C.jpg (3339 bytes)Thanks for your nomination of Funny the World for a Diarist.net Legacy award, of all things. You can find all the nominees here.

Congratulations to all the other nominees--especially my buddies Haggie and Marn. If you have a journal, support the community and be sure to vote.

Quote of the Day

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date.

~ The White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland

Today's Photo

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More blossoms

One Year Ago
Stick-to-it-ivism
I've also been having a difficult time eating enough on this diet. The point ranges are based on what you weigh. As you lose more weight, your point range drops, but whoever designed this diet has calculated that if you weigh more, you need more energy to keep going.

Two Years Ago
The Right to Know
As I heard what had to be the dumbest question asked of a young girl by a reporter desperate for a story ("how did it feel to watch people being shot?") I marveled at how news reporting has evolved in my lifetime.


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Pounds Lost:  70.8
(this figure is updated on Tuesdays)

On the Odometer

URL Total 741.6
Blue Angel Total 730.5
2003 YTD Cumulative:  248.1

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