I find myself indignant at clocks in the morning, or rather at the time when I arrive somewhere. I tend to run behind at set times when it’s routine; I tend to be early when it’s a non-routine event. Have I lost you yet?
I’ve tended to be a few minutes late to work most days since I started my adult career. Nothing outlandish; five minutes or less usually, sometimes ten if you include limping from the parking garage (granting I survive it another day), nursing my burn wounds from another wrong-way driver. I flip flop between berating myself over it and giving myself grace. I get excellent reviews at work and excel in my field professionally. I do make up time, but through the honor system and when projects call for overtime. Why then does punctuality seem to be my hang-up? I pondered this and here’s what I came up with…
The industrial revolution has, in my opinion, chained part of a human being’s worth to a clock. You arrive at this time, work from this to this time, and we pay you. Nevermind most clocks are inaccurate, nevermind we add an extra day every four years to even out the calendar and disregard the evil in America that is Daylight Savings Time. Just look away; it’s better that way.
Other countries handle or understand time and punctuality differently than what I grew up with in America; this understanding is often connected to their culture. I’ve heard African time (probably regional dependent) is very loose when it comes to event dates and arrival times. Southern America, as in the Southern United States? I waited, and then waited some more, to be handed my change once at a fast food restaurant in Mississippi. I watched as the worker held my dimes and quarters loosely in his hand and chatted along with a co-worker, quite at his leisure. La de dah, the french fries marched on. I wanted to scream into the void of space and time right there and then. It was a point of self reflection, particularly as I was on a mission trip at the time…
Another thought: I’ve found people who are on time tend to be held in higher regard than people who are late. Person A (on time) is thus a better worker than Person B (tardy), just because of a few relative minutes. That’s quite a jump in logic and judgment to me. What does the on-time person do the rest of their time is what, I think, matters the most. Are they professional, are they dressed well, what is their attitude, are they being productive? Or do they arrive at work every day, albeit on time, and do absolutely nothing except whine, groan and count dust particles?
We don’t get much time to live in the grand scope of things. People who attempt to tie a person’s worth to social constructs, clocks with dying batteries and other such nonsense is abysmal to me. We cannot control time; we shouldn’t let it control us either.
What do you think? Or do you simply not have the time to reply?