Finding Time

quarterto8My wife insists it was raining on the day she was born. When I ask how she knows this, she just smiles.

So I put the question to her mother.

“How does she know it was raining on the day she was born?”

“Because it was May,” came the answer.

“I don’t understand.”

“Of course you don’t,” she said, “you are from the city.”

So I took the question to my father-in-law.

“We plant in May,” he told me, “on the farm everything revolves around that – including childbirth. It was raining that day, so…”

“Gosh, don’t you have to schedule such things?”

“They found time.”

Finding time.

The concept always amused me. I once thought that time was an immutable thing, a constant that could neither be lost nor found, until I got married and discovered a reservoir of time which was previously inaccessible to me.

First let me say, I hate being late.

If someone says that a party starts at 7:00 pm. I believe them and show up at seven. It often gets me into trouble because people resent being summoned out of the shower by the doorbell. I guess I never had the social grace to understand that 7:00 pm comes a half-hour later in everyone else’s world.

The first time we went to church after moving to Almost Iowa, I was anxious to arrive on time, worrying about what people might think if we had to sneak in late.

“Don’t fret” my wife told me, “Father drags out all seven verses of the first hymn.”

Sure enough, we arrived during the third verse, late but not later than most

But some deadlines are not known for Christian forgiveness, like those set by airlines.

Recently we booked a 8:22 am flight to Florida.

Airlines suggest passengers be at the airport an hour and a half before departure – and we live a 100 miles from the Twin Cities which is another hour and a half away.

At 6:00 am, my wife stepped into the shower.

By 6:30 am, she was still doing her hair.

At 7:00 am, two barn cats rushed into our garage as we opened the door, costing me 10 minutes and a pork chop to coax them out.

At 7:15 am, our gas gauge insisted that us to stop at the Quickie-Mart.

At 7:20 am, a big rig doing 54 mph on I-35 decided to pass another big rig going 53.99 mph.

At 7:30 am, I lost it.

“You always think you can find time,” I shrieked, “well, what are we going to do now?”

“Make time,” she said.

And she did.

It is too bad that Albert Einstein died in 1955 because he could have learned a thing or two from the love of my life. She not only shattered his General Theory of Relativity, but she blew away everything he struggled to understand about Quantum Mechanics as she pin-balled her way through rush-hour traffic.

We found a place to park, checked our bags and hopped through TSA with minutes to spare.

Just as we reached our gate, the airline agent announced that our seating section could board the plane and a long, long line of weary travelers slowly queued up to shuffle toward the gate.

“Hey,” I told her, “I’m going to slip over to Caribou for a cup of coffee.”

“Are you crazy?” she exclaimed, “you think we have that kind of time to waste?”

Author: Almost Iowa

53 thoughts on “Finding Time”

  1. I know I am of the older generation as I too have the silly habit of turning up on time, the young never arrive on time and the reason for that is, mobile phones. When I was young and we arranged to meet friends and if you were late they would have departed. This would allow them to arrive wherever, (the pictures for example) on time. Quaintly old fashioned, I know but that way you got to see the beginning of the film. Not only do the young have mobile phones to inform everyone of their late arrival but they also have the excuse for not being there, “I’m going to be late, it’s not my fault, it’s the traffic.” The concept of leaving with plenty of time to spare seems to have escaped them. Well I’ve got to dash now tempus fugit.

  2. You were making me nervous, or I should say your wife was making me nervous. That kind of schedule would never work around here. No matter the time of day, traffic plays a big role on getting to the airpots. I’m glad you made it or I’m guessing this blog would have had a very different tone..:)
    Enjoy Disney?

  3. Ha! Time is indeed relative. And clearly, your wife knows how to make it when she needs it. (But I do sympathize, as my husband insists we get to the airport almost three hours before our flight, and almost has a heart attack when I insist on heading the the ladies room just minutes before they start boarding. What can I say? I hate using airplane bathrooms!)

  4. Peggy and I have very different concepts of time, which, I assume, just goes to prove that time is relative, Greg. Go, Einstein! And I will also note that Peggy’s sense of Airport time (arrive at least two hours early regardless of the circumstances) with everything-else time (where late is normally the rule of thumb). –Curt

    1. I am definitely with her on airport time, however I never seem to find the time to do all the chores that someone around here thinks I should. 🙂

  5. Now I’ve spent a half hour trying to find a song that’s nagging at the back of my mind. It has a couplet that goes something like “Killin’ (or wasting) time…and then something-something ease my mind.” I think it’s Jackson Browne, but I can’t surface it. Any idea? If not, I’ll just set aside going to work, doing the dishes, and keeping the dentist’s appointment to keep searching. After all, there’s plenty of time. Right?

      1. How about Otis Redding’s “sitting on the dock of the bay?” He wrote the song on a Sausalito houseboat if my memory serves me correctly. Several groups including the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane frequented the area in the 70s. As did I. I just didn’t realize that the music groups were there as well. 🙂 I suspect that you would have, Linda.

        1. Funny how the tumblers will suddenly fall into place. I was trying to remember “Stealin’ Time” by Gerry Rafferty, off his City To City album (1978). And, yes: that album still brings back those days in the Bay area. There’s not a bad song on it.

    1. I never learned to find or make time but I managed to learn how to make it go away. When I first started work in the foundry, time dragged on endlessly. Over time, I learned to achieve a zen-like focus on the task at hand and as a result time vanished. A friend of mine coined the phenomena, ‘factory Buddhism.”

      1. That sounds a bit like the process I went through when I started learning how to sand interminable board feet of teak. If you’ve got 120 feet of rail in front of you, thinking about how far you have to go will only drive you crazy, and reduce the quality of your work.

  6. My husband thinks being ‘on time’ is arriving 15 minutes early and that has caused more than one moment of tension between us through the years. I like to arrive exactly on time, which means if something unexpected happens (like coaxing two barn cats out of the garage with a pork chop) I’m going to be late. On the other hand, when going to the airport, I allow at least two hours to lounge in the airport before the flight leaves. I got chest pain reading about your trip to catch your 8:22 flight. It was a miracle that you made it. The bad news is with this positive reinforcement for your wife’s time management, next time you go on a trip, you’ve got nothin’ to back you up when you push to leave earlier. Good luck, my friend!

    1. I got chest pain reading about your trip to catch your 8:22 flight.

      Oh my goodness, whenever my writing stresses you, keep in mind that it is all fiction and exaggeration. 🙂

  7. Einstein figured out space/time bends like a rubber sheet next to a big enough gravity sink. Your wife simply channels Einstein and creates a little black hole to stretch time, but knows the rubber sheet will rebound when the gravity of the situation is reduced.

    Or something like that.

    My wife likes to be at the gate before the gate attendant has even finished her morning coffee.

    Welcome back, Greg.

    1. Einstein figured out space/time bends like a rubber sheet next to a big enough gravity sink.

      Now you did it. Mentioning the gravity effect triggered my inner-geek and sent me off on a wild tangent.

      Here is a thought experiment. If all of the ice in Greenland melted, what effect would that have on sea level in Boston Harbor? At first impulse, a rational reaction would be that it would rise by several meters…but counter-intuitively, the science says just the opposite. All of that ice creates a gravitational tide that raises sea level for a thousand miles around Greenland. Remove that force and the seas recede

      See Gravitational Attraction of Ice Sheets on the Sea

  8. Next time, YOU book the flight and tell her it leaves a half hour earlier than the true departure time. When you get to the airport, you just look stupid and tell her innocently “ oops, I must have mixed up the time.”

  9. I’m not late. I may sit in my car at the curb waiting for the right time, but I can’t stand the stress of being late. Your wife needs to write a book about making time because we all have days when we need some extra. 🙂 Good thing you aren’t trying to go through TSA right now. 🙂

    1. Actually, I am the one who has found a wormhole through traffic. It is called a 1962 International Harvester pickup truck constructed mostly out of rust and bondo with a bed full of rebar and a bumper sticker that reads, “This country was built by God, Guns and Guts.”

      Only you have to do it think of changing lanes, and a spot opens up for you. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. It is good to be back.

      Pin-balling is a great way to ricochet through rush hour metro traffic but I would not advise doing it in a new car. It is why I always drove junkers.

  10. I think I’ve followed those big rigs on the road to the airport too. But the knack of finding time still eludes me. Luckily time occasionally finds me, stressed, panicking, frantically checking my fitbit which, whenever I’m late, refuses to show the time – perhaps my fitbit is hiding time.

  11. “a big rig doing 54 mph on I-35 decided to pass another big rig going 53.99 mph.” Ha ha. I can so relate, Greg, but I would have missed the plane. I think your wife has magical powers. 🙂

  12. Einstein would love to explore the concept of making time. I think he was OK with finding time, but making it, that’s a rare gift.

    I am always early for flights. Early-early. I can’t drive like that. While my wife is finding time, I pace. Like you, I hate being late.

    1. Flying used to be fun. Now you show up at the airport two hours ahead of time and lose three hours shuffling back and forth in the TSA lines. It is worse than DisneyWorld.

  13. I feel your pain. I’m not authorized to drive to the airport since I am unwilling to take on the mantle of an Indy 500 racer. I would leave in enough time to proceed with dignity at a lawful speed and arrive on time. Of course, hair would not be dry and bags not yet packed so I have surrendered to increased heart rate.

    1. I would leave in enough time to proceed with dignity at a lawful speed and arrive on time.

      “What in the world are you doing?” she asks.
      “You know how old farmers drive down the middle of the road at 15 mph?”
      “It takes patience to do that.”
      “You don’t have that kind of patience.”
      “I will with practice.”

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