Time, and the passage of time, are relative concepts. For some people, being on time is an important part of their identity. I am one of these people; I am punctual (often arriving a little early for appointments), I know what time it is, I know how long it takes to perform every task I must perform, I know how long it takes to drive from point A to point B, etc. For other people, including my husband/business partner, time is far less precise and arriving a few (or more) minutes late is of little concern. When a punctual person is in a long term personal and/or business relationship with a person who tends toward tardiness, conflicts, sometimes serious, will often arise. The punctual person often takes others’ lateness as a personal affront, while the person who is habitually late sees the time orientation of those who are always on time as a somewhat odd personality quirk. In order for a war to be averted, the punctual person must learn to wait, if not patiently, but quietly, while the time challenged person does “just one more thing before we go.” Reading, listening to soothing music, or playing a game can ease the waiting pain and make the passage of time seem less endless than pacing the floor. The key point to remember is that one’s time orientation is a fundamental part of one’s personality; wishing a tardy person would suddenly become punctual isn’t going to make it happen.
I don’t like feeling like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland who exclaimed, “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date.” And, I usually don’t. My interpretation of time is more customized to the situation. When meeting clients or others, I am almost always punctual. My problem is that the amount of work to be done never seems to end, and often even small details take longer than anticipated. Thus, I cut it close to the wire and am occasionally late getting home, etc. It is not to slight anyone by any means. As a photographer, waiting for the right combination of light and subject is not something that happens on a schedule; the many years I’ve waited for the decisive moment to arrive has caused me to be attuned to finishing a shoot, or project, without regard to time. Of course, in south Florida, time is sometimes controlled by uncontrollable forces – like I-95. There is also the issue of cultural differences in time which are very noticeable in south Florida. For someone like Melissa who gets anxious and impatient, her iPad and iPhone have been helpful as she waits. For those of us more prone to delays, iPhones and their clocks and timers help when there is an appointment to keep. For employers and employees, communicating about time expectations is important, and again, technology allows us to communicate unforeseen delays. Time to go home now.