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Punctual (1) Fri, Aug 11, 2006
Punctuality is something I value very highly.  I think it has something to do with how I was raised.  My mom was always on time when she drove us places, so it just became the norm.  I developed this idea in my head that said there's basically no other option than to be on time.  Why use a time-keeping device if you don't intend to abide by it?  This has definitely followed through to today, where I make a big point of being on time to things.  If I say I'll be at a certain place by a certain time, I intend to do exactly that, and I'll treat it as a major shortcoming if I don't succeed.  It's not that my whole entire life is scheduled into very specific time intervals, and one can't run over into another.  It's just that I place a high value on reliability, and reliability often shows itself as punctuality. 

This was very evident when I mentioned my coworker who almost made us late to a meeting.  When I agree to meet a person at a certain time (not "around 7 or 7:30", but "at 7"), I uphold my end of the bargain.  Even in the event of a major catastrophe or the apocalypse, I would still show up on time.  And if I was gonna be late, I'd call to let them know.  So when people don't uphold their end of the bargain, it gets me really mad.  I realize this is partially my fault for having unrealistic hopes for a person's reliability, but is it really so much to ask?  Is it that difficult to show up on time?  And if you can't be on time, is it that difficult to call and tell me?  And what gets me even madder is when the "offender" doesn't even acknowledge their offense.  My coworker who was 10 or 15 minutes late didn't even mention it.  Sure 10-15 minutes is a small amount of time.  But would you be mad if McDonald's took 10-15 longer than usual?  Would you be ok with a 10-15 minute longer commute?  Probably not.  Another more recent offender was a friend who was supposed to meet me at my house before going on a hiking trip.  He was supposed to be there at 8am.  At 8:05, I stopped watching the window.  At 8:10, I turned on the TV.  At 8:15, I told myself I'd give him a few more minutes before I called.  At 8:20, I called him and he said he just left his house (25 minutes away).  When he arrived, he didn't even mention the fact that he was 45 minutes late.  He didn't even acknowledge that anything was wrong.  I felt compelled to slit his throat. 

Wendy went to Kenya a few years ago for a missions trip.  She said the people there have an interesting method of dealing with time:  They completely ignore it.  They go to school and work like most of the rest of the world does, and they even have social events that start and end at certain times.  But when they say they'll meet you at 3pm, they may choose to show up 2 hours late.  Why?  Who knows?  And when they finally show up, they treat it as if nothing happened.  There's no "Sorry I'm late, I was killing a zebra" or "Sorry I'm late, I got attacked by the Maasai".  They're just 2 hours late.  I wouldn't be able to survive in that country.  My blood pressure would get so high, my head would pop. #psychology

Comments:
Wendy Tue, Aug 15, 2006
They used to say "polepole" which means slowly. Basically, they were always telling me to calm down when I tried to get somewhere on time or rushed around to complete a task. They were definitely of the mindset "Hakuna Matata" = no worries. They didn't worry about time.
For translation from English to Swahili: http://www.yale.edu/swahili/


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