My wife touched briefly on this topic in her excellent blog post from earlier today, but I wanted to take the opportunity to expand on it. We hate being late for anything. It’s ridiculous how much it bothers us. Some people can pull off the “fashionably late” entrance. That’s totally not us. We’re the people that get to observe the fashionably late entrances of others because we were the first ones to the party after sitting in the parking lot for 45 minutes waiting for the doors to open.
It’s almost pathological at this point. I will legitimately break into a cold sweat if I am less than 15 minutes early for something. During my 8 years as a Naval officer, I have never once been late to work, a meeting, or a watch rotation (that I can recall). I don’t have any real phobias that I know of, but I think fear of being late is the closest thing. It’s not quite debilitating, but it can certainly ruin my day. My wife has the same issues, and we tend to feed off each other so much that it quickly spins out of control. Here’s a quick (and possibly terrifying) look into our minds.
Last weekend, we made a trip up to the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park. I don’t remember exactly how we planned that particular trip, but here’s how it normally goes. Let’s say the show starts at 3:30.
CinC HOUSE (CH): “Well, the website says that we can arrive up to 90 minutes early, so let’s plan to get there by 2:00.”
Me: “Good idea. Google Maps says the trip should take us about an hour and ten minutes. Just to be safe, we’ll round that up to an hour and a half.”
CH: “Cool. Don’t forget that we have to drive up to the L.A. area, so we better add a half hour for traffic.”
Me: “Do you think a half hour will be enough.”
CH: “You’re right, let’s go 45 minutes.”
CH: “You’re right, we’ll plan for a full hour in traffic.”
Me: “Sounds good. Don’t forget that we need to stop by the ATM (5 minutes from our house) first.”
CH: “Good point. Let’s add a half hour for that as well.”
Me. “Cool, and don’t forget it’ll probably take us about 30 minutes to get the kids ready to go.”
If you did the math there, you probably figured out that we would start getting ready for a 3:30 show a little over an hour away at 10:30. I would love to say that’s an exaggeration, but I would be lying. We would legitimately start getting ready 5 hours early. Then, we would end up getting the kids ready by 10:10, and there would be so much nervous energy in the house that we would be on the road 10:15.
Inevitably, we end up getting angry at the kids because they are trying to keep themselves entertained in the back of the car for an hour while we sit outside the building waiting for it to open. As an added bonus, we’ll all have to pee because we didn’t know if there would be enough time to stop on the way. Welcome to our world.
We may never be fashionably late, but I can almost guarantee that we’ll have the best parking spot in the lot.