I have become a person who shows up early.
All my life I have been chronically ten minutes late. Every school, every job, every curfew. You'd think it would drive Gary crazy. Happily, all Gary's life he has been chronically ten minutes later than I.
This was my daily schedule:
- Into bed at 11 pm over Gary's protests ("It's only ELEVEN! Stay up with me!")
- Pulled awake by Gary's first alarm at 5:30. (Gary always claimed he needed sleep in multiples of three, so six hours was better than nine.)
- Zoned out again until Gary's second alarm at 7:00
- In bed half-asleep until it was really too late to get anywhere on time
So that explains why I was late to work, but not my inability to get to any meeting on time. I think subconsciously I spent every minute of the day reclaim those minutes that had been taken away by the alarm.
This is my schedule now that Gary's retired:
- Into bed at 9:30 pm over Gary's protests ("It's only NINE THIRTY! Stay up with me!")
- Sleep until I am awake. No alarms.
- Lie in bed a while, fully awake.
- Decide on my own to get out of bed
- While fully awake, determine how much time it will take to get somewhere and leave ahead of schedule
Now that I don't start my day with a deficit of a stolen hour, I'm happy to show up early. Sadly, that has revealed to me the downside of Early.
No one else is early. No one else is even on time. I never knew, because I was always ten minutes late, but almost everyone is two - five minutes late.
I can't tell you how many times I've arrived fifteen minutes early for a noon meeting, and then at 12:00pm when NO ONE IS THERE WHY WHY I lose faith and start making phone calls. "WHERE ARE YOU? AM I IN THE WRONG ROOM?" And no, I'm never in the wrong room, it's just everyone is Late.
And then, the hypocrisy of all the five-minutes-laters tutting at those who show up ten minutes late. "YOU are LATE," they accuse. Hah. So were you. I know. I was on time, nay, I was Early.
The other downside of Early is that on the weekends, when you could sleep in, you wake up early and then have nowhere to go. Instead, I find myself waiting around for Gary to get up, and as the hours tick by I get madder and madder. Eventually at one p.m. I march in and demand to know when he went to bed (usually four a.m.)
That won't happen today. Today I'm running errands. I had to wait till eight a.m. for Trader Joe's to open and I was a little mad about that. Hey, Trader Joe, why can't you be Early like me? I need my Dulche De Leche for my Pecan Pie Cheesecake.
That is the one I made last week. So pretty I had to take a photo. So fool-proof I made a mistake on every other step and it still turned out great. I brought it to a work pot-luck and I could hear people murmuring "cheesecake ... mumble ... cheesecake ... inarticulate ... cheesecake." It could have been "that cheesecake is awful ... no, the pecan pie cheesecake ... yeah, it was such a pretty cheesecake, too bad it sucked." I need to recreate my Cheesecake Glory for Thanksgiving.
And if I don't leave now for Trader Joe's, I'll be late for the movie we;re headed for at 11:40.