I like lineups, kind of, and waiting rooms too.
It’s a bit of a coping mechanism I’ve developed, I guess. I just simply tell myself that it can’t be helped, and I now have an excuse for being late.
Then I settle in to enjoy myself, often conversing with other people in my same situation.
I think I got that from my mother.
But that’s not all I got …
From my mother, whether through nature or nurture, I acquired a sense of responsibility towards others.
If I am trying to do something for someone else that is supposed to make their life easier I feel responsible for succeeding in doing that.
It’s on me
It’s on my shoulders, so I feel I need to do what I offered to do. And I take on the responsibility for all of it, even things that aren’t my fault.
Today, for example, it was my turn to drive to the town where we spend our Wednesdays.
This isn’t our day off …
One of us works in an office in a small town to the east of our home, and the other one of us can work anywhere so they opt to work in a cafĂ© in that same small town.
I’m the one who can work anywhere. Or to put it another way, no one cares where I work, so long as I get it done.
Today, after getting everything ready to go, I kind of wandered off to answer a question I had about the new wipers I’m going to put on my truck. So when it was time to go, I wasn’t visible.
This meant that some time was wasted trying to find me.
And because …
… the one who does have to be in that small town to the east on Wednesdays also has to be there at a certain time, I made us a couple of minutes late.
But the truth is, we’re often a couple of minutes late. It’s not unexpected, but that doesn’t mean it is appreciated. And in fairness, it isn’t always my fault.
So everything’s good, right?
Well, good until we got to the part of the trip where we discovered that the road was under construction. Down to one lane. Backed up hundreds of yards.
Line ’em up
If we’re going to the beach, the cottage, out to dinner, off on an adventure, and we come across construction like this where we have to wait in line with other vehicles, I normally take this as an opportunity to converse.
With one eye on the road, I engage in conversation that would normally be considered possibly frivolous. but this is different. We’re late.
What the hell??!?
And I’m driving, so I feel responsible. And I wandered off earlier, so even though i didn’t make us that late then, it still feels like it’s my fault.
And now we’re in line, and while my coping might help in this situation, it won’t do anything to dissipate my guilt and anxiety.
So what might help?
I couldn’t sit still and be calm, and I hate to fidget and be “un-calm” when others are having to experience me that way.
So … I grabbed the phone, found the map app, started looking for alternate routes.
Well that’s just fidgeting
Okay, true, but it didn’t last long. The other person in the car took my phone from me.
And then they gave me directions on where to turn off. And how to get where we needed to be without the construction zone being part of our itinerary.
Well, sort of. I think it would have been as fast to stay in the line of traffic. But it would have been excruciating for me.
Driving around and through the countryside gave me the feeling of doing something.
We were still late, but I wasn’t so stressed about it. And maybe that helped both of us. No one wants to start work after sitting in a car for twenty minutes with a fidgeting, anxious, hyper, trapped Man of DistrAction.