It's Time to Talk about Time

"Its Time to Talk about Time"

This sounds crazy, but...   the clock in my parent's kitchen was always 15 minutes fast.  It didn't get that way because it was possessed or anything.  It was meticulously kept 15 minutes fast by the entire Wistrom family.  I think that one of the first math equations I mastered was:  "Calculate what the real time is if the Wistrom Clock says ______."  I'm an absolute champ at taking any time on a clock and subtracting fifteen minutes.  What a skill! 

I have no idea how the tradition started, but knowing my mother, it was probably her idea.  My father was the "Swede" who like to have everything in order, but my mother was an absolute stickler about being on time.  I don't know as there was a worse sin that could be committed than that of being late.  It was certainly a Mortal Sin in my Irish Catholic mother's eyes.

Dinner was on the table at 6:00pm at my parent's house.  6:00.  Period.  My mom also had a rule about food:  "Hot foods - HOT".  Meaning - she wouldn't dream of service any food that was supposed to be hot at anything below 500 degrees farenheight when it hit the table.    You would burn the roof of your mouth if you ate anything at my mom's kitchen table before it had cooled a while.  

There's an old saying that was true at my house:  "Early is on time.  On time is LATE.  And Late???  Just stay home."  This left such an imprint on me that even today, I'm very upset if I show up late for anything.  

My wife is the same way.  She has always left the house and headed out to work between 15 to 30 minutes than is necessary for her start time.  She just loved being early.  She would take her time getting everything squared away, and if possible, sit and have a coffee and read the paper before she "clocked in" for the day.  She couldn't understand why anyone would be late to work, let alone consistently late for work.

Why am I mentioning this today?  In the past week, I was impressed and astonished - TWICE.  Now that I do all of my meetings via ZOOM, I've gotten used to people straggling in a few minutes late.  OK, truth be told, I've been getting used to it for about 64 years now.  But.  This week there was hope!  This week, not one, but TWO people showed up ahead of time for a Zoom call.  I hosted both of these calls, and I'm quite used to starting the meeting three minutes early.  It gives me time to adjust my virtual background and make sure I look somewhat presentable.  

The two people that showed up on time were very different in demographics.  A woman in her sixties who I've known for years, but hadn't spoken to in years was in the "waiting room" as I opened up the meeting.  I smiled knowing that we had shared our common values.  I shouldn't have been surprised at all.  The younger gentleman that was early did surprise me.  Here was a guy, probably in his thirties, showing up early.  I shared how impressed I was that he was early.  Since we hadn't met before, he only smiled in acknowledgement. 

Being early is a sign of respect.  It's a bit sad that the simple act of a couple people being a few minutes early caught my attention this week.  And yet - in these days of virtual meetings and months since I've actually enjoyed the in person company of friends, it was a bright light for me.  

Seek and ye shall find!  I didn't know that I had been seeking respect and humanity, but....  it found me anyway.

What about you?  Have you been looking for and finding the good in people lately?  Are you seeing it or noticing it?  If not - go looking for it and let me know what you find.

Till Next Week!