About Me

I mean…SERIOUSLY about punctuality!

There are a lot of things that happen in the world that have never happened to me, necessarily, but I can totally relate. I feel like I actually empathize quite a bit with people which often helps me see and understand the “other side” of many situations. Donnie and I discuss this a lot because he feels he isn’t quite able to do it as much as I can. He’ll say, “I just don’t get it…” many more times than I do in life, where I spend hours trying to explain to him where someone is coming from.

When I hear about tragedies that involve a mental breakdown of some sort, no matter what horrible action followed, I can usually empathize on some level. Not that I’ve ever had a breakdown that’s led me to irrational behavior, but I’ve teetered on the edge – or close to the edge – enough to understand how easy it would be to fall over. I bring this up – the ability to truly empathize with crazy behavior – because I want to now bring up the very mundane things I just don’t understand AT ALL.

People Who Are Late All The Time

I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. But I just don’t get it. There is no part of me that can understand how a person lives always being late. Punctuality is a physical urge in my life. If I’m going to be late…HELL – if I’m going to be ON TIME…I get anxiety that has physical manifestations. My heartbeat races, my blood pressure rises, I get headaches and anxious. I lose my appetite. We aim for early everywhere we go and if we’re on time? We feel VERY late. And – god forbid – if we’re late? We feel AWFUL. We rearrange our schedules, we plan ahead, we schedule every step 5 minutes early so that when the end result happens we’re often 15 minutes early to everything. People who are late all the time, and then who JOKE about it? “Oh, yeah…I’m always late…I don’t know what’s wrong with me…” I sit back and just stare at them like they’re alien. How does that work? I don’t understand? How are you perpetually late but not curled up in a corner in the fetal position losing your mind about it? I once called a friend at book club to apologize that I was going to be a few minutes late. Five TOPS. I had some complications and I feared they were going to push my schedule into the “LATE” window. I got there one minute early still…which cracked my friend up because she had kinda guessed that’s what would happen.

People Who Don’t Put Buggies/Shopping Carts Back

Our Target has PLENTY of shopping cart bins. They’re never more than 30 second walk from your car. Yet still…there are always buggies around that aren’t in the bins. I DON’T GET IT. What is the situation in your life that is so urgent that you couldn’t take that 30 seconds to put your cart back? I’ve had small kids, I’ve had two kids at once, I put them in the carseats and THEN put the cart back. Do other parents not feel comfortable leaving their kids buckled in the car for 30 seconds without them? Or are they all just lazy and just don’t care? How is there not a HUGE pang of guilt that rushes through your system when you drive away leaving that buggy there to cause damage in some way to someone’s vehicle. They don’t stay still! You know that, right? The slightest gust of wind and they’re hitting someone’s car! PUT THEM BACK.

People Who Litter

Seriously. How is there ANY part of a human with a functioning brain that does not feel guilty when they leave trash on the ground. I never even consider littering, much less actually do it. I just don’t see how you have trash in your hand and think it better on the ground than in your hand or car a little longer. I’ve never EVER been in a position where I needed to throw something away THAT BAD and there wasn’t a garbage can close. ESPECIALLY in nature. SERIOUSLY? PUT IT IN YOUR POCKET. OR YOUR SOCK. I just don’t understand how I see trash everywhere in a civilized society.

People Who Smoke In The Paths Of Other People

I used to smoke. Until I was recommended to look into a companies such as Gourmet eLiquid to try vaping using something similar to what you can find from BuyV2Cigs instead of lighting cigarettes everyday, I was constantly worried about pissing people off with my habit. I’m so happy that I decided to make this change. Now I can see how people get annoyed with smokers. I tried my best to stay out of the way, to hide behind buildings or stay in my car. I never wanted to be anywhere where people might be pissed of to have no choice but to walk through my smoke. I always felt HORRID about that. Of course, I felt guilty about smoking anyway because I knew it was the stupidest thing ever, but I did it the best way I could. Saying this though, a friend of mine did recommend I quit and one of the best ways for me to have done this would have been to look for alternative ways of doing this. From trying out nicotine patches and herbal cigarettes, to looking into specialist vaping companies like Hamilton Devices, I know I have options out there that will help me quit smoking. But when I do smoke, if there were outdoor areas that said “no smoking” I found another place to smoke. I would try to find the actual “smoking area” if I could – because most hospitals and parks have those designated. At Vanderbilt the smoking area was the back corner of the parking garage. I went there and smoked, passing dozens of people along the way smoking in “No Smoking” areas. It drove me crazy.

NOW! Having said all of that, I also know there are things I do that people just don’t get.

Things I Do That Many Can’t Empathize With

  • I don’t volunteer at my kid’s elementary school. It scares me too much. I’ve been showing up at the periodic even this year, trying to do something, but I will never be room Mom or on the PTA. TERRIFYING.
  • I don’t tend to my eyebrows. I’m constantly seeing women complain about the state of another woman’s eyebrows and I know mine must irritate so many people. But I just don’t know how, and I just don’t care enough to learn.
  • I wear loungewear out of the house. Yoga pants, workout clothes, tons of outfits my husband wouldn’t be caught DEAD in, in public, but I go around in them every day. It drives him crazy.
  • I don’t get pedicures yet I still wear flip-flops. I see a lot of women on Twitter/FB complain every summer about seeing people with gnarly feet in flip-flops. That’s me! Sometimes I paint my toenails myself, which I hope helps, but my feet are gross and often I don’t paint my toenails so you see how bruised and battered my feet really are.

What are the things you don’t understand at all? What do you understand that you know other people don’t?

19 thoughts on “I mean…SERIOUSLY about punctuality!”

  1. I am with you on the being late deal! I have a friend that is late to EVERYTHING!!! I have joked she is going to be late to her own funeral. One time we were going out to eat and she was an hour and a half late! Let’s just say I was a bit miffed at her and it took a while to get that evening going on track.

  2. I could have written this. I consider being chronically late to be terribly inconsiderate! Being late because of traffic or something unexpected is one thing, but if you haven’t learned time management and how to get some place on time then you should be ashamed of yourself. I MUST be early. To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late.

    Littering- along with that one add people who toss cigarette butts out the window! DO NOT pollute my world with your skankey (aside- spell check suggested Sea Monkey for skankey) disgusting butts! That is why your car has an ash tray! Keep your filthy habit to yourself. I work on a college campus and there are butts around every door, even though there are ashtrays near the door. LAZINESS!

    Shopping carts- OMG! For the first few years when our Target opened you would NEVER see a stray cart. NEVER. And I always thought Target shoppers were just more considerate. Now the Wal-mart shoppers have migrated over to Target (oh yes you pajama wearing, screaming kid toting rude people who push and shove and scream at each other from one side of the store to another…anyway…once they started coming to Target, the carts ended up all over the parking lot. And i don’t get it because there are cart corrals every few feet!

    I wear yoga pants, they are exercise clothes, it’s not like I’m wearing my pajamas and slippers. Sleepwear no to outside the house. Exercise wear is fine. I don’t get pedicures because a friend got the worst staf infection ever from a pedicure and had all kinds of ugly scaring and blood issues from it. Nope never. Eyebrows…if I see one really out of place I’ll pluck it but otherwise My eyebrows aren’t Brooke Shields bushy so I don’t pay much attention to them.

    I never started volunteering at my sons school until high school. I don’t really like other peoples children but I relate much better to teenagers. I never wanted to be homeroom mom and deal with 30 8 year olds. Now I am President of the high school Parent Club. Would still love to know how that happened. And you did so much volunteering with E’s theater group so you are involved!

  3. I used to be early to everything and then I had my daughter, during that first year her reflux was so bad that I couldn’t feed her more than an ounce and a half at a time, but ever 1 1/2 hours, holding her upright for 30 minutes after a feeding. She struggled so hard to gain weight that very little stopped me from giving her her need bottle, including the dreaded being late. Things got better for a bit when the reflux started to subside around a year old but around 3 we started having issues again. She is fiercely independent, but slow as molasses. No amount of planning or yelling, or screaming or begging typically help, and then you read this widely spread blog post circulated this summer about how we should never tell our kids to hurry up because they are stopping to smell the roses (yeah I am paraphrasing) and because that’s your life 457 times a day you feel like a total jerk. We have always made it on time to school, but it often involves tears (she is now 5), we 90% time make it on time to events, but generally its the open ended stuff where I WANTED to be somewhere or doing something at 5 that doesn’t happen because I’ve lost the will to argue…. my 8 year old however is more like me, hurries when he needs to hurry, never wants to be late etc etc.

    As for the others, yep I am on your side, I also used to put my babies in their car seats and walk the cart back, 90% I chose my parking SPECIFICALLY so I was never more than a few steps away from them, lest I be seen as a horrible parent for doing so, not because I ever believed them to be unsafe. I hate to shop so my clothing will never be on trend and I will likely never have that many options in my wardrobe, I don’t do my eyebrows either and I missed a “how to be a girl” class somewhere along the line because I rarely wear makeup save for a little foundation with SPF in it. I just don’t care that much.

  4. Swistle – Thistleville – Swistle lives with her husband Paul and children Robert (born 1999), William (born 2001), twins Elizabeth and Edward (born 2005), and Henry (born 2007). Email: Swistle at Gmail dot com. "Swistle" rhymes with "thistle."
    Swistle says:

    We match on almost ALL of these. And I love this whole post, and also the concept of this post, and also the balance of this post.

    I have SCREAMED in the car (when by myself) out of sheer lateness-based panic. I hate it so much. I was at the doctor’s office the other day and someone came in at 1:20 (my appointment was at 1:30) and said, “Hi, I’m so-and-so, I have a 12:45 appointment?”—all CASUAL. And then she just…SAT DOWN. And READ A MAGAZINE. Just exactly as if THE EARTH HAD NOT LEFT ITS AXIS. When I was expecting the twins, another twin mom was late to something we were both attending and she said to me, “Just wait—when the twins are born, you’ll be late all the time too!” And I didn’t want to argue (because she could have been right) but I would have bet MY HOUSE on that not being true.

  5. I am right there with you on the late thing. My kids are 10 years apart, so the day after my son was born my daughter had to go to Girl Guide camp. I got her there right on time and apologized for being late, and the leader told me we were the first ones there. Really? I had a baby the day before and was able to get there on time, what’s the matter with other people!

  6. OMG…have you read my mind?? I agree with all of these except wearing lounge wear out of the house–never going to happen. The being late part drives me the craziest!! My best friend is always late–ALWAYS. Now I don’t let her pick me up, I meet her places because I don’t want to be late. The anxiety drove me crazy. People just take it for granted that she is going to be late. They never expect her on time. She has missed so many things at her kids schools because she was late. The kids always know I’m there and will get a picture or cheer for them. I can always see the sadness in their face when they are looking for their Mom and they don’t see her 🙁 Wow, I got way off topic there….

  7. I tend to be late — usually 5-10 minutes — or just barely on time, and I’m actively working on it, because I don’t like it. This is in spite of the fact that I give myself more time than I think I need to get somewhere. I’ve figured out a few reasons why this happens.

    One is that I tend to suddenly remember things I need to bring or do before I leave, and for some reason I just cannot remember these things until I am actually walking out the door. I TRY to remember them — I walk through my departure in my head and think about where I’m going but I invariably miss something. I make lists of all the stuff I need (extra cash, tokens, etc.) but somehow there’s always some item I didn’t think of and then I have to tear the house apart looking for it when I have one foot out the door.

    The other thing I do is that even if I have allowed extra time and have my to-do list, I start feeling like “oh, I have plenty of time” and get sidetracked into doing little side projects (emptying the dishwasher, paying the bills, whatever) that suck up the time. To counteract that, I try to get 100% ready to go FIRST, hours ahead of the time I actually have to be ready. Hair, makeup, clothes, packing my handbag, etc. Sometimes it’s hard because I have a waiting period (waiting for hair to dry before styling it) and that’s when I get sucked into other stuff that takes longer than I think it will.

    I don’t joke about it, though. It’s weird, I don’t mind when people are up to 15 minutes late or so, but I’m embarrassed when I’m late meeting someone.

    BTW, I never noticed how your eyebrows were groomed (even though I do groom my own) and and I am SO WITH YOU on the littering and smoking. GAH! Littering especially. I can’t see straight when I see somebody throw something on the ground. Someday I am going to start yelling at people about this.

  8. I’m with you on the buggies. I put mine back every dang time, even with two kids. Though, I admit, I did it almost having a panic attack the first few times after my youngest child was born. I kept imagining these scenarios where other cars would run me over and leave that poor helpless infant locked in a car. Who cares if I’m dead in the Target parking lot, my baby is in the car! Save it! Yeah, thanks for those freakouts, postpartum hormones! LOL. With my first, I was worried the ceiling fan would detach from the ceiling and land on my baby. These are the memories I need to write in their baby books. Hee hee.

    My personal bugaboo not on your list is with other drivers whose cars I allow to merge into traffic. If those drivers don’t give me a thank you wave, well, I see red. The thank you wave is a must. I usually give two waves, one before I merge AND one after AND I say “thank you” too, in case the other driver can read my lips. It’s just courtesy. And, don’t get me started on drivers who don’t stop to let me walk across a parking lot into a store in a CLEARLY MARKED crosswalk. What’s up with that?!

  9. Time – ehh big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff – measured in terms of “ish” around here. If I can’t control it, I’m not letting it control me.

    Carts – some blog post you wrote on this when N was little has been shaming into taking my cart back for years. Thanks.

    People Who Don’t Leave Messages on Voice Mail – Drives me freaking nuts to watch someone dial a phone, listen to it ring 4-5 times and then hang up on voice mail rather than leave a message. What is that? Important enough to call, important enough to listen to it ring for 20 seconds, but not important enough to take another 10 seconds to leave a message?

    Also related – People Who Don’t “Do Texts” – It’s 2013 get over it.

  10. I’m with you on most of these! When I was in the Coast Guard, they taught us (and I am not kidding or over-exaggerating here) “When you’re early, you’re on time. When you’re on time, you’re late. And when you’re late, PEOPLE DIE.” Caps lock necessary. Just like that. So after 13 years of active duty I was (and still am) paranoid about being on time for things. I have a very good friend who is habitually late and it drives me bonkers. Now I just bring a book if I’m doing something with her and don’t plan things that have set start times, because I know she won’t make it on time. So we do a lot of coffee or lunch instead of event-type things.

    Littering, ugh. You know what drives me even crazier though? When people litter things like apple cores and banana peels, with the excuse that “It’s biodegradable.” It’s still litter! And it still stinks! And there are still receptacles in which you can put those things! What if every person that walked by or every car that drove by dropped a peel or core? Can you imagine? I think it’s laziness combined with a misguided sense of entitlement and failure to think through the consequences.

    Whew, strong feelings.

    Gnarly feet don’t bother me at all, nor do ungroomed eyebrows or loungewear outside the house. I am hit-or-miss with all three of those. And I always try to park close to a buggy bin so I can put them away, too. Confession: if the bin isn’t close or if there aren’t any? Sometimes I prop up the buggy’s front two wheels on the closest curb so it doesn’t go anywhere…um…yeah. That’s me. It’s part laziness and part “sticking it to the man” for not making it easy to put them back where they belong.

    Another pet peeve: rubber necking. I understand slowing down for safety, but just to stare at an accident? Makes me twitchy and angry.

  11. Based on this entry, I have a friendship bracelet for you and want you to be my long distance BFF…kay?

    Seriously, all of my pet peeves. In terms of buggy return (yep, I say it too!), I get a little mad at some of our Publix stores who have TWO returns in an entire parking lot. But even in my anger, I talk to my kids about why returning the buggy is important and considerate and safe. And then follow thru. Three extra minutes–max!

    I do worry that I am raising two Judgy Judgersons down here in South Florida, because we comment on the people who do the above annoying things. Not in their presence, of course, but stuff like “whoever threw that trash there must not care about the earth at all” and “don’t those people know how bad smoking is?” Ah well.

    As for the things I do–I do work on my brows and my toes (no impact on my long-term health) but am not so good about over-consumption of diet soda and not exercising (very bad for long-term health). I reprimand people who use the word “retarded” with a vengeance like none other. I have friends who start to use the word in my presence and get wide eyed and stop at “ret”, apologize profusely, and move on. I reprimand my students too, encouraging them to expand their vocabulary. Just pisses me off to no end.

    Let’s see, my wardrobe (outside of work) is so casual that sometimes my daughter will ask me why I am wearing pajamas to the store (for the record, I’m not, but they sure do look similar).

    I talk to myself. I’m sure people wonder who that crazily underdressed diet coke fiend walking around Target talking to herself is, but I am oblivious to it. I laugh out loud at things that strike me funny, sometimes I sing the songs that play in the store, etc. Whatever. That stuff doesn’t embarrass me.

    I am full of righteous indignation, a trait I see manifest in my son, which bothers me a little. That kind of righteous indignation can also be perceived as holier than thou, so we are trying to work on picking our battles.

    I love this post and am totally serious about being friends.

  12. Being late gives me a rash. I will get so panicked at being late that I actually break out in hives. And if I’m late and I run into traffic? Forget it. You may as well have some ativan waiting at the other end of my drive because I’m a disaster.

    People who are proud of being late? WHY? HOW IS THAT A GOOD THING? Ugh.

  13. Here’s the thing with not leaving messages. We don’t want people to leave messages because then it eats up more minutes and time (we are VERY frugal), calling voice mail. Sometimes I can’t get to the phone in time, see who called, try to call them and can’t get through because they’re leaving a message. Argh! It’s much quicker (and cheaper) if people would leave no message. Then I see the missed call, and can call them back without having to mess with voice mail (and entering a password or ID, and listening to all the intro stuff before you finally get to a message that probably says “call me”).

    If it’s for business, or it’s pre-arranged that you’ll leave a message for some reason, fine. But most of the tiime, I’d prefer that people not leave a message and simply let me call back.

  14. I don’t like being late, but not to the point of being as paranoid about it as you are. When you aren’t totally in control (like when your spouse insists on finishing his beer first, or some other item that is not a priority TO ME), you just have to put up with it. And most of the time it doesn’t matter that much because he’s simply making us late for going to someone’s house to watch a football game (he insists that it’s the 4th quarter that matters, but I’d still like to see the kick-off, and not be listening to it on the radio).

    I put carts back probably about 50% of the time. Two of my kids worked in grocery stores, so I know they have people tasked to go out and gather carts — and a lot of the time, one of those people is practically in my face grabbing it before I can even head to the cart return. If I don’t return it, I’m diligent about propping it on a curb (lots of landscaping in the parking lots, so plenty of those), so it doesn’t roll around.

    While I’m not devoid of social anxiety, I always volunteered a lot at my kids’ schools, was a scout leader, PTO officer, etc., even though I always worked full time (which was many people’s excuse) I enjoyed it, and kinda miss it now that my kids are all grown. But subsequently I’m volunteering as an officer with a professional organization, something I didn’t have time for when the kids were little.

    The only time I wear loungewear outside the house is a) when I’m still in the yard, like taking the dogs out, or b) when I’ve just had surgery and my regular clothes don’t fit, due to swelling. I figure I have a pass for that. OK, maybe if it’s part of my Halloween costume. 😉

  15. I’m laughing my butt off about commenting late on a post about being late but HI. I’m always late! Usually for the same reasons as Evelynne up there–I get distracted, or I forget something, but it’s never more than a couple of minutes so I don’t sweat it.

    But I have to fight back against the “early is on time” thing because no. Early is early. If I tell you to be at my house at 6 for dinner and you show up at 5:45, guess what? Things won’t be ready, I possibly won’t be dressed, and it will be awkward for everyone. I know this because my husband is of the early-is-on-time school and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten in a big fight about me making us late only to find a hostess still in her bathrobe. So! I’ll work on not being late if you early people calm your jets. On time is on time. Period.

  16. I would never actually knock on someone’s door early. I just sit in my car until it’s time. I don’t know anyone like me who would ever actually knock on a door more than 5 minutes early. If you know people who are Early is On Time people who actually hold a hostess to that, that is weird. I just hold MYSELF to that so that I don’t show up late because I would consider it rude, but I would never knock on a door to a house early. Never. That would be worse than showing up late.

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