When it comes to punctuality, I have long subscribed to the old adage of “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.”
This is often a difficult trait to have, especially in my family. My daughter is always on time for school or work, but apparently uses all of that on-timeness there, as she is constantly the last one ready for any family social event. This is something we should have known would be commonplace when my wife was pregnant some 18 years ago and she went in to be induced in late July. Hey, you know how when women get induced they have a baby shortly thereafter? Yeah, not in this case. Our daughter arrived 11 days later, foreshadowing a lifetime of getting to family events on her time schedule.
Our son is not so much late as indifferent to time. Early. Late. On time. Whatever. As long as there is some time for fishing prior.
My wife is rarely late for anything, but has that knack for getting places just in time, which for someone like me is sooooo much fun. There is a reason the most frequent phrase my wife says to me is “Relax. We’re fine.”
That said, I do understand that there are times when you are late for reasons beyond your control. I’ve had a flat tire on my way to work. I’ve been stopped by a train that, by my estimate, was 800 billion cars long and moving at one foot per hour. And, like everyone, I’ve been derailed by having to rescue a possum.
What, you haven’t?
It happened a few years ago, when I was taking my son to camp. I don’t remember how old he was, but I know he was still young enough to have been in the backseat. I know this because I remember having room in the front for a possum.
We were pulling out of our neighborhood when I saw a guy on the side of the road. He was standing next to a live mammal trap, which held an incredibly unhappy possum. Granted, that adjective is probably unnecessary, as I have met quite a few possums in my day, and I have yet to meet a happy one.
I pulled off on the side of the road, and engaged the gentleman. He and the possum were having a disagreement of sorts, and he did not want the possum to have the ability to return to his place. After a brief discussion, I convinced the man to give me custody of the possum, and I agreed to take it and release it far away so the two would never cross paths again.
I went back home and got a pet carrier and in short order had the possum secured and in the front seat. I am fairly certain the man who had trapped the possum has questions about me to this day.
My son and I drove to some remote woods and released the possum. It scampered off into the woods, and, most likely, used its possum-honing skills and made it way back to the nearest highway, as is the possum way.
We were about 30 minutes late to summer camp that day, and my son did get to share a great reason for his late entrance by bouncing in shouting, “WE RESCUED A POSSUM!!!” Granted, several folks did ask what in the world possessed me to pull over and haggle with a stranger over a possum.
And, yes, one of those people was my wife. Granted, she’d have done the same thing. But somehow, she’d have done it, released the possum, and still made it to camp on time.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at www.mikeslife.us.