SLOAN: The time is right for a little rant

on Tuesday, 18 January 2022. Posted in Local News

Bob Sloan. Editor

     My stepdad Hal once offered me this very sound advice:

“Ten minutes early is right on time.”

       For once, I chose to listen and ever since I have tried my best to heed his wisdom. It has been to my benefit more often than naught.

         What Hal was inferring with this nugget of wisdom was to always be on time. Don’t be late. When you are expected to be at a certain place at a certain time, do your best to ensure that it happens. The best way to do this is to leave early and give yourself a grace period in case things go wrong. Being early is rarely a problem. Being late almost always is. 

    I’ve made it my practice to be punctual. If I arrive early, I’m not rushing at the last minute. My nerves are calmer. More importantly, it shows respect for the person with whom I am supposed to meet. If, for whatever reason I am going to be late, I call or text ahead of time to make them aware of my impending tardiness. It shows that I understand the importance of their time. Common sense says I should expect them to show the same respect for mine.  

            Now it may be that I have turned into a grumpy old curmudgeon, but it seems to me that the majority of our world was not given the same advice Hal offered me – or they simply just didn’t listen. Most people today think their time is more important than the time of others. If someone else has to wait, well then so be it. They live in the “It’s All About Me” time zone and it’s slogan is, “Welcome to my world, buddy. Now take a seat.”

     Think I’m just impatient? Well, I’m not. In fact, I’m pretty sure I register higher than most on the patience scale. I can be extremely patient in most situations, but if someone shows blatant, in-your-face disregard for my time, that’s an entirely different matter.

       During my stint in the Marine Corps, a certain phrase was pounded into my still wet behind the ears noggin. Anyone who’s ever served in the military will be familiar with it and has probably had it said to them a couple of thousand times: Hurry up and wait.

Get your gear and get going. Double time. And then, after you get there in such a hurry, you wait.

And wait.

And wait.

      This hurry up and wait mentality seems to have taken control of our society and it’s about to drive me crazy. I get to my appointments on time, quite often early, and then have to wait. Ten or 15 minutes without an explanation I can stomach – barely – but if it’s more than that you will see the steam start to rise. It’s downright disrespectful.

        The worst culprits, as most of you know, are doctors and lawyers. They charge far more for their time than the ordinary Joe or Joanna, so their time obviously must be more important than ours, right? Not.

     I have waited hours in the doctor’s office for a regular visit that was scheduled weeks in advance. My diagnosis is a critical case of icouldcarelessedness.

    I have sat patiently, and impatiently, in a lawyer’s waiting room for a consultation that had been paid for in advance. That’s not right and I object.

    I once had an appointment to meet with a state legislator about doing a story. He called me to set up a time. I agreed and showed up early. I informed the receptionist that I had arrived, but that I had only a short time because of another appointment. The designated time for our meeting passed by. Five minutes later, I reminded the receptionist of my schedule. She called and spoke briefly with the senator.

   “He’ll be right with you.” Another five minutes passed and then another five. I had allotted 30 minutes for the meeting, so I had 15 remaining.

   Once again I appealed to the receptionist. Another phone call was followed by, “It will just be a few more minutes.”

    Ten minutes later I informed the receptionist that I was leaving. She called the senator and then relayed the message that I could now go up to his office. I told her to tell him I was sorry, which I really wasn’t, but that I had another appointment.

        Later that afternoon he called and was rather put out that I had not seceded my appointment calendar to his. As politely as I could, I told him that he had his chance.

        Punctuality and respect for the time of others is important, people. Remember, 10 minutes early is right on time and hurry up and wait will no longer cut it.

 Let’s make it happen – time’s a wastin’.

  Contact Editor Bob Sloan at editor@florence newsjournal.com.