...which brings me to another of my little quirks that annoys the hell out of the kids. I am always early. It comes from having to get three kids and a husband ready each and every time we went anywhere. I needed time to deal with that last minute spill or disaster so I learned to leave plenty of leeway. I usually played the old half hour time difference game. A fun game where you tell everyone you have to leave by six when you actually need to leave by six-thirty. Then you get to the place and of course you’re early.
When I first moved to Florida and the kids were beginning elementary school, I was determined to get involved. I was room mother and agreed to be in charge of refreshments for the PTSA meeting. (As a side note, I grew up where we had PTA so I didn’t understand the S thing from the beginning until another parent explained that in this state they liked to have the students involved. Aren’t they already involved? This is where they go to school, right? But I digress.) I had the refreshments lined up and everyone agreed to drop off the cookies a half hour early so we could get set up for the seven o’clock meeting. I got to the school and it was locked up tight. Did I mix up the night? Could I have the wrong time? I walked the perimeter looking for a janitor or anyone who might have an answer. At ten till seven there was still no sign of any of the other goodies and no one for the meeting. Back then no one had cell phones and I finally noticed the pay phone...behind the locked gate. At seven o’clock, the janitor opened the gateway. Just as I stepped through, here came the other women with the goodies. I started to chastise, because by now I was a little pissed, when one woman spoke up. “Honey, you’re in the South. Nothing starts on time; in fact I bet the principle won’t even be here until seven thirty.” For a crazy early bird, this threw off my whole sense of being. I could move from being early, I could even get used to the being on time. But it would take an act of God to get me used to things starting late.
This malady has stayed with me throughout the years. I’m still the first one at a restaurant waiting for my friends to show. It seems I’ve surrounded myself with latecomers, but over the years we’ve started to laugh at the differences. Many a time I will be sitting in the booth waiting, wondering. “Is this the right restaurant? “Is this the right day?” Some things never change.