so today . . . i was on time for work. again. it is starting to freak me out just a little bit...
i have to punch a time clock at work. real teachers are on salary and don't have to punch a time clock. but i teach in a private school, and the rules are different here. we punch a time clock.
i understand the reasons why this is a necessary evil--the truth is, if there were no time clock, some people would take advantage and always be either arriving late or leaving early. i admit, i would probably be one of the former. there must be something in the nether-reaches of my family tree that predisposes me to lateness (at least that is my story!) i am not one of those people who are so late that everything has to wait for me. oh no, i am always just slightly late--you know, five minutes, seven minutes, never more than 10 minutes, but still late.
i usually don't plan to be late--i plan to be on time. and yet it never happens. as i have talked to other chronically slightly late people, two things emerge... we are all oddly married to people who think being on time means arriving 15 minutes early, and we are almost always late for the same reason--on our way 'out the door' we stop to do 'just one more thing.' but we do that several times before actually making it out the door.
i would love to blame my lateness on rollie. i think i can make a pretty good case for that. i don't like to be the first to arrive at an event--too much pressure for socialization--and his time frame always makes us the first to arrive. so when he says to me, "are you ready to go?" at the time we have agreed to leave, my response is always, "yes, as soon as i get my shoes on." or "yes, just let me grab my (fill in the blank.)"
one day, after hearing that response from me for the gazillionth time, he said, "why do you always say yes you are ready to go when you aren't?" i just looked at him blankly. "i don't," i said. "why do you think that?" "because," he said, "you say you are ready. i get my keys out. i walk to the door, ready to leave, but you are nowhere to be found. and when i ask where you are, you are always doing something. you are nowhere near the door!"
i guess we have a difference of opinion about what being 'ready to go' means. to me, it means i need to put my shoes on (which means a trip upstairs,) turn off whatever electronics i am using, find a jacket or sweater (which means another trip upstairs, since i didn't think of it the first time,) retrieve my phone from wherever i laid it down (which isn't easy, since it could be ANYWHERE! and don't say call it, because i usually have the ringer muted,) check to make sure i haven't left anything out that the dogs might enjoy chewing up, decide if i should use the bathroom before leaving, look for my chapstick, and finally grab my purse.
to rollie it means walking out the door.
you can see we have a problem. and it is compounded by the fact that rollie has finally made an attempt at compromise by generally agreeing that being 'on time' means arriving at the stated start time for any event. this means we have no margin for error. or phone retrieval.
my response is to send him to the car.
now when he says, "are you ready to go?" i still say yes, but then i add, "go to the car. i'll be right behind you." he fell for this the first time. he even went for it the second and third times. the next few times, i think he had his doubts, but he still went along with it. finally he came to the conclusion that it was a lie--i was not going to be right behind him--i was going to be at least another two or three minutes... maybe five.
BUT i can't really blame rollie's need to be early for my lateness, because i tend to be a little bit late even when i am not going anywhere with him. and this is most evident every weekday when i head to school...
in my defense, the time clock and i have been at odds for quite some time. the last couple of years it has been five minutes fast. we have whined and complained to the powers that be, but they are convinced that the clock is set by some atomic device and cannot be wrong. i am of the opinion that all of our cell phones (which, btw, all show the same time) cannot be wrong. and yet, i am not the one in charge here. so every morning i rush around, think i am leaving on time, only to find that when i punch the time clock, i am late.
this causes me much stress. i've tried setting my alarm earlier. i've tried tricking myself into thinking all our clocks are slow. i've even occasionally left the house with a naked face! and yet, every time i stick my time card into the hated time clock, i find i am late.
this year, at our first staff meeting, we were informed that the time clock had somehow gained three more minutes. so we were going to be given a few minutes of grace to compensate. this was a nice idea, but i still felt late--only now i felt really late!
and then, a few days ago after my usual mad dash to school, praying my way through mostly green and yellow lights, i punched the time clock only to see that i was...NOT LATE!! the time stamp actually said 8:01 instead of 8:08 or 8:10! i was stunned. it had to be a mistake. i must have left earlier than i had thought. but on the third day of not being late, i finally asked someone about it and learned that somehow, miraculously the time clock had been reset.
i like not being late anymore. although i'm not quite used to it yet. i still look at the clock in the kitchen as i am grabbing my breakfast and think, "i'm late! i'm late!!" and then i go rushing out the door...
which is probably a good thing. because as you may have noticed, i am still not exactly what you could call early...