Better Late Than Never? – Not Always


As I was driving home from Houston yesterday, my mind was filled with a myriad of thoughts. I was tired. Dog tired might be an overstatement, but I sensed that the privilege to sleep until I was good and late for work would almost be worth the effort.


On the other hand, I was almost late for work Monday morning. The very thought put me in a semi-panic attack. Okay, you caught me on that one. There was no “semi” associated to my panic attack. It was real and it was a full-blown panic attack. It wasn’t that I overslept. I actually had gotten up at 4:00 a.m.


On mornings when I’ve not devoted any time to my blog before bedtime the evening before, I am always up at 4:00. For me and the two people that read my blog daily, I have some sense of obligation to keep the nonsense flowing and timely. For one thing, almost everywhere you look people are too serious. My mantra is anything but serious. After all, I figure I’m good for a laugh and that certainly is preferable to being good for nothing. Say what you want, but at least I’ve got that going for me.


A statewide professional group of child-care administrators were meeting at the Capitol on Monday morning. We each would have opportunity to register for attendance at a public hearing before the House Health and Human Services Committee and indicate our support or disapproval of one of the bills filed in our behalf. Hopefully everyone in our membership opted to support the bill. Otherwise, the side of my brain contaminated with Jeff Foxworthy might break out into: “Here’s Your Sign”. In addition to an opportunity to register as supporting the legislation, five of us were providing verbal testimony. As luck would have it, I was one of the five.


I guess you could say I took my sweet time leaving the house on Monday morning. After all, I only had about a 30 to 33 mile commute. Why leave at the crack of dawn? After all, if I got there early I’d probably just opt to sit in the State parking garage and go through my testimony over and over and over one more time just to ensure I had it right. It is always awkward when people see you talking to yourself.  Why take the chance?


Last night when I got home from Houston, the General asked, “Did you forget you name?” “I beg your pardon I responded”. She repeated, “Did you forget you name?” Apparently the blank confused stare on my face said all that needed to be said. She articulated the question once more and added on Monday morning. “Did you forget your name on Monday morning? You certainly repeated: ‘For the record, my name is Don Forrester’ enough times Sunday night that I thought surely you had it down”.


Getting back to being late for work, members of our organization had been requested by our two lobbyists to meet in the rotunda of the State Capitol at 8:00 a.m. We’d then go together to the room where the hearing was scheduled to take place. At 7:20 a.m., the one thing I knew for certain is that I was not going to make it to the State Capitol in time to get parked and make it through security to the rotunda by 8:00 a.m. The realization that I was going to be late was the impetus for the panic attack. I’d rather not arrive than be late in arriving. In addition one of our lobbyist comes across as a strict constructionist. He is really a bright and personable guy, but if he said: “8:00 a.m.”, he didn’t mean 8:05. You know the type? Trust me, the two people that read my blog daily know the type. I live with  someone who has that same persona. For the record, there is nothing wrong with always being right, just because I haven’t gotten there doesn’t mean it isn’t still on my bucket list.


At 7:30 a.m. a colleague from Waco telephoned to ask: “Where are you? The only two people in the rotunda are your boss and me along with a janitor.” So my boss was already there. Why not step-up the panic attack another notch? I didn’t need to know that. No only was I going to be late, but my boss was going to know that I was late. It was absolutely unacceptable, but there wasn’t anything I could do to alter it.


In the course of the next ten minutes, two other people sent me text messages asking, “Where are you? We thought you’d be here.” Truthfully, I could have left the house at 6:00 a.m. or even 6:15 and saved myself a little stress. Why I didn’t, I can’t tell you, but on Monday morning I was wishing I had.


As it turned out, I wasn’t late. I actually parked my car and as I hurriedly walked/sprinted in the direction of the Capitol, I had the thought: “Did I leave my car running?” I hoped to God that I remembered to turn the engine off. I don’t have any experience of leaving it running, but folks dealing with a stress overdose do crazy things. Surely I did. Okay, so hopefully I did. I didn’t have time to go back and check. It wasn’t until I cleared security that I calmed down.


I had the thought as I walked the next fifteen seconds down the hall into the rotunda, “Why do people think they are late if they are not thirty minutes early?” I wasn’t late. I actually arrived in the rotunda at the Capitol and 7:50 a.m. That gave me a full ten minutes before I’d have been considered late.


I guess you could say that my DNA couldn’t handle the thought of risking the possibility of showing up on time on a regular basis. I have a friend who on more than one occasion has been the last person to board a flight. From his perspective, the only thing that really matters is that he gets on the plane. Not me, I want to get there early enough to join the flight attendant in greeting the other passengers.


Of course, the closet thing to greeting strangers boarding a flight is that I’ll occasionally nod and smile in someone’s direction if I think they are a suitable candid to sit next to me. Forgive for saying this, but size matters on an airplane. It is never a good sign when some asks, “Is this seat taken” and before you have time to answer they are raising up the armrest to negate it serving as a barrier to confine their space to their side of the armrest. With the armrest gone, Guess what? You’re right. “That is never, never a good sign”.


By the time the two people who regularly read my morning blog are reading this, I will be on a plane bound for the Nation’s Capitol. Consequently, I didn’t sleep in this morning. If you’re reading this, it was posted very early.  As a second thought, I may not be on a plane at all.  “One Story Night” by the Mystic Moods Orchestra was either playing on the sound system all night for the past several hours and we had a whale of a storm.  Rumor has it that whales like water and I am very concerned about the low water crossing I have to cross to get to the airport.  Consequently, depending on depth and flow, I may or may not be on a plane.  If not, you can bet I am going to be very late.


All My Best!



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