Writer’s Block: Got Time?

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By Corinne Wnek

Warning! Warning! This is a rant alert.

Anyone who knows me can testify that I am a punctual person. I was born a month early and I’m forty-five minutes early for work every day. I got this way because of my father who owned a business. Every morning he was the first one up at 5 a.m. I’d hear him in the kitchen so I guess I felt guilty lying in bed when he was up all by himself. I would get up to have a cup of coffee with him before he left for work so he didn’t have start the day alone. To this day, I can’t shake that 5 a.m. wake up habit.

But not everyone pays attention to a clock. For instance, millennial parents tend to savor each and every moment of parenting like it’s going out of style. It’s all about letting their kids direct morning life in the home to feel a sense of accomplishment. What are a few minutes late for school compared to the empowerment of their child? Ah, new age parenting. Here’s a secret: the schools aren’t buying it. If you want Margo or Hunter to feel self-directed and responsible, teach them how to use an alarm clock.

Time is a funny thing, though. To know if you, or someone else, are either late or early for something, you must know what ‘clock’ is being used. Wait. You thought there was only one, big, clock of the world that everyone used? Consider this.

I really do know someone who was late for their own funeral. Relatives of the ‘dearly departed’ miscalculated how long it would take to get to the final viewing of their loved one early the following morning. With traffic and road construction being what it was, their late arrival resulted in the church service starting an hour later than planned.

Let’s take the teenage ‘clock’, for instance. Yes, there is one, but it’s just not calibrated to synch with the rest of the planet. No matter what time one of these kids is expected somewhere, it goes without saying that they will be at least half an hour late. They don’t even know there is such a thing as being late. To them, you’re the problem and there is something wrong with your sense of time. Chill. Don’t argue. Take a deep breath and slowly count to ten.

A colleague of mine, a man from Spain, is dedicated to helping non-English speaking students and their families assimilate into the American educational system. He often asks me to present important guidance and counseling information at many of the special programs he does for this group. I talk a little and he translates a little.

These programs are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. By 8 p.m., we are just getting ready to start because that’s when the audience begins to arrive and they keep arriving until, seriously, 9 p.m. We keep repeating what we have already said about six times for the benefit of those who have now joined us. Something about “Spanish time”, and “Philippine time”, my friend jokingly tells me. “Relax, they’ll get here”, he says. “I know, but when, Arturo? When? I swear I think it’s getting lighter outside.” He just smiles at me knowingly.

Aside from these populations, however, I’m convinced that being on time today is a lost art. When my own sister says, “I’ll be over in 10 minutes”, I understand that to mean about 20 minutes and she lives three blocks away. Is being ‘on time’ an outdated concept today?

Wow, I feel better now and can put this rant to bed, which is exactly where I should be. It’s really late and I seem to have lost all track of time.


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