My hubs has no sense of time. He never has had one. When he estimates how long it will take us to go somewhere we’ve never been before, he’ll underestimate most of the time. Now sometimes this truly pisses me off, as when his tendency to screw up times makes us late. But after being married to him for a good many years, I’ve gotten to the point where I can usually just let it go with an eyeroll and an occasional grind of the teeth.
Because, you see, I’m the exact opposite. Where my hubs underestimates how long it will take us to get anywhere, I inevitably overestimate. And I’m a stickler about being on time for things, which means I’m frequently early. Which means that, since I don’t want to show up at your door before you’re ready for me, I’ll probably drive around the block a few times before I arrive at your party. And if I get struck in traffic, I’ll be increasingly frantic as the minutes tick away.
Punctuality is usually regarded as a good thing, and I believe that it is. But it’s really tough sometimes for a habitually (one might almost say obsessively) punctual type like me to chill out when it comes to lateness. And it’s even harder for punctual me to understand people who aren’t.
When I was teaching, I had students who used to show up for class five or ten minutes late on a regular basis. If they did it often enough, I’d call them on it after class. And their excuse was always something like “The traffic is really bad near my apartment.” The logical rejoinder here—“Then why don’t you leave earlier”—never seemed to occur to them. Lateness just didn’t strike them as a problem. But for those of us who are big on punctuality, lateness a deal breaker.
Some of our relatives always assume if we’re late it’s because of me because, you know, women just can’t be on time. I don’t bother to correct them because 1) they’re related to my hubs and they ought to know by now that he’s time challenged, and 2) they’re pretty much dodoes to believe that in the first place. But just to make my point clear—punctuality has nothing to do with gender.
The only good thing about this situation is that the hubs and I tend to cancel one another out. As I grow increasingly hysterical about making sure we leave on time, I can nudge my hubs into leaving a bit earlier than he’d originally intended. And by dragging his feet in his usual fashion, he can keep me from getting us there with half an hour to kill.
I presume there are couples out there who don’t have this problem—who are either both fanatically punctual or both habitually late. I envy you, but hey, at my age I can almost promise I’m not going to change.
Besides, why should I? I know I’m absolutely right. Just ask my hubs.
So what about you—punctual, late, or somewhere in between?