I am generally getting ready to sleep at this time of the evening. It’s 9:14 and it’s Monday. In two hours and forty six minutes it will be tomorrow. I’m known to do my best work in the 11th hour of any project. Remembering back to fourth grade, Mrs. Rosenstock, was a rather no nonsense woman, albeit a good teacher. She held us to high standards and pushed the students to be excellent. Being stubborn in a quiet way, translated into doing things on my timetable. Deadlines were challenges. At about nine p.m. sometime in the spring of that grade, my mother and I were doing battle, because my project on Holland was due in the morning. Guess who hadn’t started it? Yes, that would be me. The assignment had been given about two months earlier. That would be a reasonable amount of time to create something good it would seem. My mother, who really was living vicariously through my educational experience, I would like to think, had sent away to the Netherlands tourism board and asked for pamphlets about the country. She was uber efficient. My mother was also someone who could not walk past a pamphlet without taking at least one copy, if not two, home with her. The subject matter, seemed often irrelevant. In actuality, when I was about fifteen, she brought home some pamphlets about a Speech and Hearing Institute in Manhattan, and I actually perused them, at great length, which led to my researching what the field was about and eventually, I went to college to study Speech Pathology and Audiology. Props for mom.
But, back to Holland. I think I chose it because I liked windmills and tulips. I also read Hans or the Silver Skates repeatedly. That was about all I knew about the subject. That fateful night it was a battle of wills. “I will not do it, I’m tired “said I, and “yes you will!” said my mother. Through lots of tears, mine and lots of whining, mine as well, I sat with a pair of scissors and cut apart pictures from the array of brochures that had arrived probably about a month earlier. My mother, organized the pictures and came up with subject headings involving the people, the food, the windmills, you get the idea. With that disgusting rubber cement, I glued all the pictures in the proper place, under the supervision of Mrs. Project Manager. I also was directed to write something underneath each picture and by the stroke of midnight, I had, what I might, in retrospect acknowledge, a fine project that netted me an ‘A’ and some comments about being well organized and charming. Let’s face it, the ‘A’ was not for me, or even really mine. Lesson learned….if you leave things till the last minute, things work out. That was probably not the lesson my mother had in mind.
That pattern of putting off, what should be done in a timely fashion, remains my signature behavior. That rush of adrenaline, knowing that if I can pack for a trip, last minute might make more sense, because the weather forecast will be more accurate, correct? Taxes, well, let’s say going on extension, was made for folks like me. It’s not that I couldn’t get it together, but actually research has shown that often, working under pressure and a deadline, can produce a better product. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Margin of error, is another statistical option, available to me and to others who might just have the same motivation, to hurry up and wait.
The funny part in life is that I am always on time or a little early in getting to where I need to go when it involves others. I don’t like to wait. I don’t enjoy going to restaurants which don’t take reservations. It makes me anxious and when I see people pull into the parking lot of a restaurant at the same time as my FHB and me, I make a mad dash to get there first, even if it is an elderly couple. I block and run. I don’t like keeping others waiting. In my practice, I will always run on time because I recognize others time is valuable. I appreciate that. Translating that dictum into getting things in on time without rushing, is still a work in progress. Mondays and Friday writings have become something that when I complete a post, I am proud of myself. I don’t write until it’s almost last minute but I do get it done. My mother would be rolling her eyes, but she would also know the stubborn was from her genetic matter, so she would smile and just shake her head.