Posted tagged ‘punctuality’

“Strict punctuality is perhaps the cheapest virtue which can give force to an otherwise utterly insignificant character.”

March 16, 2015

Yesterday Boston broke the record for most snow ever in a winter. There were no celebrations, no sparklers or fireworks, just groaning and complaining. Snow stopped being pretty about 13 or 14 inches ago. It snowed here as well, and the night was cold with a howling wind. I was lying in bed listening and thinking in black and white about Dracula or the Wolfman.

The morning was busy starting with the dentist at ten. It was an interesting experience. First I had a different hygienist then came the coup de foudre. The new hygienist’s chair was heated and had three different massage settings. It was wonderful. My back felt better and my teeth were whiter.

I also stopped in a couple of other places for St. Patrick’s Day stuff, and I wanted to check to see if the store had cut up turnip. They did not but did cut it for me. Now I just have to skin it. Tomorrow will be the rest of the shopping.

I went to St. Patrick’s Grammar School so we always had March 17th as a holiday. The public schools in my town didn’t have the day off, but those in Suffolk County which included Boston did. It was for Evacuation Day which celebrates the date when the British troops evacuated Boston during the American Revolutionary War. Nobody really calls it that. They all call it St. Patrick’s Day.

When I was a kid, I walked everywhere and was never late. In winter I got to school in the morning with enough time to freeze while waiting in the school yard for the bell. At the movies I ended up eating half my candy before the cartoon even started. In high school I’d wait for the bus, and if it was raining, my hair and shoes always got soaked. I used to tell my students that punctuality is the sign of a civilized society. They were never impressed.

I don’t like waiting for people who are late. It seems as if they don’t care about keeping me waiting. They always have an excuse.

If I’m alone and not expected anywhere, time doesn’t matter. I move at my own pace. The day is broken into activities, not hours. I don’t even wear a watch.

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

October 18, 2011

My doctor is semi-retired and only kept some patients, and I was happy to be one of them, but not yesterday. When I got to Cambridge (where my doctor’s office actually is), the door was locked. I knocked, no answer. I waited, but she didn’t come. I rang the bell to her residence which is above her office, no answer. I called, no answer. Finally I gave up and left. Luckily the day wasn’t a total loss as my sister and I had made a date for lunch, and we tried out a Thai restaurant in her town. The food was delicious. I took the leftovers, another plus, and drove home. When I got here, I called my doctor. She answered. I said I had driven there but the office was closed. “I was in Florida,” she said. She looked in her book-nope, not there. She had forgotten to write down the appointment. Just imagine how happy I was!

I am always on time, most times I’m early as I give myself extra time when going off Cape in case of something like a flat tire (it did happen but only once) or heavy traffic (a common occurrence). Doctors are never on time. Neither are dentists. They just keep you waiting in one room or another until they get there. I laugh at the Infinity commercial which says they’ll give you a $20.00 credit if they’re not on time. Well, of  course, they’ll be on time when the arrival window is sometime between 10 and 4. How can you be late when you have all day to get here? Meanwhile, we sit and wait. Okay, I admit I am griping a bit today because of yesterday, but I figure I deserve a bit of griping, but I’m done now and feel a lot better for it.

I am not the most patient person in the world, but when I was in Ghana, I had no choice. I learned to be patient as Ghanaians live by their own clocks. Busses leave when they’re full; people arrive for dinner when they get there; clothes are finished being sewn days after being promised and internal plane flights sometimes leave early or sometimes don’t leave at all. I understood it was cultural so I accepted it and didn’t waste my time or energy on expectations. I just learned to carry a book.

When I went to Ghana, I fell right back into African time as opposed to European time, better defined as punctuality. Here, where we move through our days prompted by the hands of clocks, it is easy to be on time. It just takes a little planning. I always think of punctuality as a sign of respect.