Thursday, 26 July 2012

At the last moment

It is less than a week to our holiday in France and my mental pre-journey activity has begun – the only recurring nightmare I ever had is here. It usually goes like this: I am going to the airport to take a flight but it is uncertain whether or not I will actually make it because, 1) I (may) have forgotten my passport or some other important document you should have with you on this trip; 2) I (may) have forgotten to do the packing or take the suitcase with me; 3) I (may) have forgotten to do something I should absolutely do before the trip; or 4) I am so late I may miss the plane even without any of the above reasons.

This time, however, I had reached the destination but hadn’t done any packing and hadn’t remembered to take the map with me although I had been talking about it the night before. There was a point to this dream. The Michelin road map did prove very handy complementing the navigator during my latest trip to the Riviera three years ago so I must not forget that.

I am not in the habit of missing flights, trains or any other means of transport with a fixed schedule. But I am in the habit of always being late wherever I’m going. Judged from the plot of my repeated nightmare, it is bothering me more than I care to let out.

They say that being late demonstrates the person’s lack of respect to the company he/she is late from. I’m afraid I must disagree. With me, being late or coming at the last moment has nothing to do with that but everything to do with my super-optimistic attitude towards life in general and my unrealistic perception of time in particular. No matter how consciously I try to calculate the time required for any function that needs to be completed before reaching a place or completing a job it seems I will never get it right. Thus you will always imagine there is enough time to do just one more little thing before the final deadline.

Nevertheless, I am inclined to believe this bad habit is not innate, at least not entirely, but much of it is acquired. When I was a child our family was always late. When the neighbours’ kids were already on their way to the school party my mother was still pressing and ironing the brand new dresses she had sewn for us. So things were always completed at the last moment and we were always the last ones to arrive. And we still are, more or less, me and all the three siblings of mine.

I don’t mind myself. I can live with that the few decades I may still have. At this age when you are past 50 you may even start making some improvement as years go by. But I do regret my bad example must have promoted this habit in my children. Life would be so much more harmonious without the stress and potential embarrassment of the last moment. Any partner can confirm that.

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