"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late."Shakespeare
Being raised by a man who was an army veteran meant being on time was always fifteen minutes early. I have never needed an alarm clock to wake me and always wear a watch that tells time that is five minutes ahead. I think it could be said that I am pathologically punctual. I do feel body reactions akin to anxiety and nervousness if I think I'm going to be late. My father is exactly the same; he has always been so punctual the one time he was late, everyone panicked thinking he'd had an accident.
My mother tells the story of having to wake me only once during all of my school years. That particular morning I was terrified I was late for school, and try as she might, I would not calm down. She kept telling me I was just late getting up, not late for school. I still remember the song that was playing on the radio as I flew out of the house that day; it was Marty Robbins singing El Paso.
It is fitting that during my younger years hurrying to get somewhere and worry about being late figured often in my bad dreams. Other people dreamt of failing tests, I always dreamed about the panic of getting to them.
It's a little ironic that much later in my life I lived in the far north where the people had a very different view of time and timeliness. Time took on a whole new meaning in a place where there was no where to go- no bus, taxi,or train to meet; no rush hour traffic to beat. Counting time would have been a waste of time. Meetings could start and end without the pressure of how long they were taking. At once freeing, it could also feel annoying sometimes. Tardiness could never be taken personally in a setting like that. It was good for me to live there and learn to adapt to life lived without the sense of the clock perpetually ticking. It was just one of the many, many things I learned there.