“Come on, let’s go,” I was yelling from the running car in the driveway, trying to get Mary to move her late-for-everything ass, “we’re going to be late as usual.”
“Sorry. I was on hold with Medicare, trying to find out why I owe $490.00 for meds that they said they gave me in the ER,” she explained in her most irate taking-care-of-business voice.
“Did you bother to look at the clock during that frivolous waste of time? You know how I hate to be late for anything, especially doctors’ appointments.” I was whining I know, but what else could I do? I know for sure that after letting her get away with tormenting me with her lack of timeliness for the past 46 years, I wasn’t about to change her behavior.
“Whenever we have to be somewhere, you start to operate on Mary Time, which bears no resemblance to real time,” I chided her. I was just in a bad mood and looking to pick a fight so we would have something to do during the 40 minute drive to the doctor’s office.
“You’ve never been on time for anything in your life,” I poked at the hornet’s nest sitting on top of her shoulders. ”And you passed that time-altering gene on to Carrie, whose sense of time is otherworldly,” I reminded her with a little twist of the stiletto.
( Carrie Time is either the most advanced time telling method or the least developed. Either way, she takes after her mother, who has raised time telling and management to an art, or a handicap for which there is no therapy.)
“”I always get where I have to be, and that’s all that matters,” she responded calmly, not taking the bait.
“Sure you do,” I agreed, “but you’re either a day early or a day late. Half the time you don’t know what day of the week it is, let alone the date.” I was feeling it now. Unfortunately, her mind was still on that $490.00 that she would never pay if she could help it, so the argument I was hoping for disappeared into the fog between us.
While she fumed and steamed silently over the injustice of that bill, I tried to engage her in a discussion of the etiquette of timeliness. I tried to explain that it was a show of respect to arrive on time for appointments.
“Yeah, and when was the last time a doctor respected your time by taking you at the time of your appointment?” She effectively ended that discussion.
She then shifted gears and reminded me that she had, more important to her, a coupon for “buy one entree get one entree free” on any Wednesday in August at one of our favorite restaurants. She had been all excited about that freakin’ coupon ever since it arrived in the mail a few days ago. Mary takes great delight in getting something for nothing, so a coupon that promised a freebie was like manna from heaven. She had it all figured out. We would be finished at the doctor’s office by about 4:30 which would give us just the right amount of time to get to the restaurant, take advantage of that coupon, and still get home in time to watch AGT. I had to admit that the timing seemed like it would work, even if it was arranged in Mary Time.
Amazingly enough we stuck to the schedule and we were seated in the restaurant right on time. I had the temerity to believe that this just might be a huge breakthrough in Mary’s grasp of real time. For a moment I entertained the notion that my life would be different from now on, always being on time with no more shouting from me to “move it!”
Then the waitress appeared. Before she had a chance to ask if we wanted something to drink, Mary was waving that precious coupon at her like a victory flag, announcing that we intended to take advantage of the coupon’s promised offer.
The waitress looked at her with an expression that could only be described as pity, and quashed any possibility of a victory dance to go along with the flag waving by kindly pointing out, as if to a child being told the truth about the Easter Bunny, that today was Tuesday.
Mary Time lives on.