Walsh's Wonderings - Getting ready

The world is pretty evenly split between people who seem to take forever to get ready for things and the people who have to wait for them. If you’re not sure which side of that split you’re on, you’re definitely taking too long to get ready.

Of course, even the term “getting ready” is itself a misnomer. What does primping and powdering one’s face get one “ready” for, anyway? It’s not as if we’re putting on armor before battle.

On the other hand, people who constantly have to wait for others are forced to find ways to maintain their sanity. My father-in-law regularly pads arrival times by fifteen minutes to compensate for his daughter’s questionable relationship with the clock. My mom used to wake her children for services every Sunday at 7:15 by stating, “It’s going on eight o’clock!” This blatant exaggeration (I can only assume she somehow forgot she was going to God’s house within the hour) was meant to instill an artificial time pressure that would increase the chances of successfully getting her seven kids into the station wagon before my dad came downstairs.

I grew up assuming everyone experienced Time as something that was either ignored or twisted to one’s own ends. Sure enough, I’ve seemed to surround myself with people who view the concept of Time as malleable, something they can bend to their will like an old spoon. My wife falls into this category.

Her watch is more decorative than informative, something to glance at after she already realizes she’s late. She lives in that alternate universe where there’s never a sense of urgency. When I remind her we need to leave in an hour, she’ll calmly reply, “Plenty of time.” An hour later, she’s fallen down the internet rabbit hole watching flash mobs singing “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” Daylight savings time throws in a new wrinkle because most times my wife seems to track time using a sundial.

Even when we drive to work, she only begins to gather all her things once we pull into the driveway. I wait outside the car while she unplugs the electric blanket, gathers up her papers, and aimlessly looks around for the things she already knows she’s about to leave behind. I’m left to wonder, “What’s the weather like in her world? Is there Wi-Fi?”

The world would experience unprecedented harmony if we simply agreed that getting ready should never take longer than the event one gets ready for. If going on a quick errand, a quick comb through the hair and maybe a precautionary dose of deodorant should be the limit. A second (or third) brushing of the teeth should be reserved for excursions where social interaction is expected. A second shower should only be necessary after a workout or when meeting the Queen.

As in most things, we’d all do better to act more like dogs when it comes to getting ready. At the first hint we’re going anywhere, our dogs are all over us until the moment they’re in the back seat with the wind in their ears. We never hear anyone say the dogs don’t look “put together.”

We have three holidays and a birthday party on the docket in the next 40 days. Noah managed to ride out the end of the world in that time, but I’ll probably still be waiting for my wife to find the right earrings before we get to leave the house.

You can read more at RobertFWalsh.com, contact him at RobertFWalshMail@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @RobertFWalsh.