Giving Punctuality the Time of Day

There are two types of people in the world: those who are punctual, and those who are like me.

When it comes to being on time, despite all efforts at avoiding the ‘snooze’ button, it just doesn’t happen for me. My internal gauge that determines how long something will take is permanently defective.

So it’s lucky that, growing up, my dad taught me some of the best excuses for every occasion.

The all-purpose: “There was a terrible accident down the block! I think it was a three-car pile-up. I hope no one got hurt.” The moderately urgent: “I’m one exit away” (as I pull out of my driveway). And, the gutsiest of all: “I locked my keys in the trunk of my car and I don’t have a spare.  The AAA guy is breaking into my car as we speak … be there as soon as I can.”

Despite the bad karma that’s accumulated over these years I’ve been driving, I’ve learned two things about myself.

First, I hate people who are early, even if it’s just by a few minutes. They’re either way too eager to see me, or they just don’t have a life — either way, it’s unnatural.

But on the flipside, I’ve become envious of the punctual.

They don’t have to constantly apologize for circumstances “beyond their control.” And since they’re not late, they’re not inclined to speed, which means the wonderful California Highway Patrol won’t  be inclined to write them $400 tickets. (Not that I’m speaking from personal experience or bitterness.)

So, after Googling how to “not be late,” WikiHow gifted me with, of all things, a 12-step plan. It just seems excessive — it’s not like I’m an alcoholic, and this really shouldn’t require that many steps — so I only read the first four.

The first step is self-actualization: “Acknowledge you have a problem.” (Done.)

Be conscious of the time. (Well, no shit. I know what time it is, I just can’t control how long it’ll take me to get somewhere.)

Don’t hit the snooze button. (Ha. We’ll see how that goes.)

Commit yourself to be 15 minutes early. (Finally, something I can work with.)

The day after this extensive academic research, I had a job interview at 1 p.m. Following this plan, I figured I should try to be there at 12:45 p.m. Driving down Miramar Road, it was just my luck: Every single light I hit turned red. Of course.

This must be all that bad karma finally catching up to me. As I pulled into the Panera Bread parking lot, I checked my phone: 1:03 p.m. Not bad.

Later that day, I had a 4 p.m. class. Usually, it takes me 30 minutes from walking to the Arriba stop to pulling into the Mandeville bus loop. That day, I left 45 minutes early. Stepping off the bus, I had an extra 15 minutes to kill — and that could only mean one thing: Mandeville Coffee Cart and hottie grad-student patrol. Maybe there’s something to this whole ‘punctuality’ thing after all.