Monday, November 07, 2005

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow.

If punctuality can be said to be pathology, I’m nearly there.

I carry a book with me wherever I go, for reading while I wait for everyone else to arrive. I have seen more caterers set up than a hotel manager. So of course I fell madly, helplessly in love with a man whose relationship with time is…elastic. His brain is like a casino; there are no clocks or windows in there.

This actually affects us less than you might imagine, as we have a small child who takes 648 classes a week, so we rarely spend time together. But last month, we had to be at his nephews’ Bar Mitzvah, across town from us, at exactly 3:30. Miss Punctuality likes words like exactly. This meant that we had to leave no later than 2:30.

1:00 pm - Found Consort at computer, informed him that we were leaving in ninety minutes. He nodded, and continued writing email. I put child in bathtub, watched synchronized swimming as performed by fifteen My Little Ponies, washed her hair, removed her from tub, dried and styled her hair, dressed her in anklets, party shoes, and hair bow. Stuck her in front of video that lasts exactly forty-five minutes, giving me plenty of time to put on the party dress and do final touch-ups on us, gave her a non-stain inducing snack, and told her to not touch her hair. Took refreshing seven-minute shower.

1:30 - Found Consort at computer, apparently writing the same email. Informed him that we were leaving in an hour and that he needed to get into the shower. He nodded. I went out to walk the dog.

1:45 - Returned from walking dog. Consort was writing the same email. I hissed something under my breath that made my daughter yell from across the house “What did you just call Daddy?” Hovered over him and whined until, with a great sigh, he glided into the bathroom. Glanced at daughter, who had removed her bow and was twisting her hair with the same fingers that had been holding cheese slices. Ran for brush. Took four minutes to put on my outfit.

1:45-2:15 - Stupid woman! Stupid woman who forgets that Consort must find out how long the water heater can manufacture hot water! I bounced in twice, reminding him with increasing volume that time actually moves forward. I was informed that he was on his way out, as soon as I left him alone in the bathroom. Being as I am stupid, I went to get the child dressed, and to remove cheese from her hair.

2:20 - Child and I exited her bedroom. She looked exquisite; the cheese had only added to the general shininess of her hair. But where was Consort? At the computer, wearing a robe, putting the final touches on The Lord of the Rings of emails. I stood at the door of the office making guinea-pig sounds until he inched reluctantly towards the bedroom. Having, perhaps, learned my lesson now, I maintained a vigil over him until he was in his pants, his shirt, and was tying his shoes.

2:25 - Looked for child in her bedroom to do final touch-up, but she was missing. Turned out that she was in her closet, covertly eating some candy off of the candy necklace that she had secreted from the last birthday party that she attended. I quickly removed her to the bathroom without allowing her to touch me or herself. Washed her. Checked in on Consort-HE WAS NOT WEARING PANTS!!! We’d lost ground! He was holding up two ties, both of which he liked with this shirt, and neither of which went with the pants that he was wearing, and what did I think? Experience has taught me that anything less than total attention paid to the Tie Issue will lead to him wondering whether it wouldn’t just be better to go to the dry cleaners and get his other suit. Showing my emotions with only the tiniest burst blood vessel in my eye, we calmly debated the merits of the red tie with the yellow blobs over the other red tie with the yellow blobs.

2:35 - We’re all dressed. I was racing for the back door, hustling my family like a deranged Border Collie, when the phone rang. Consort grabbed phone before I could howl, and looked immediately happy. His email colleague wanted to talk about the email. Consort held up the index finger that means “This will just be a minute, two tops”, and then said into the phone “But, this goes back to the original problem we discussed six months ago”. When he and the child were looking away, I covertly held up another finger. Daughter indicated that she was hungry, which makes sense, being as it had been twenty minutes since she ate. She wanted yogurt. Nothing else would do. I wrapped her in a tablecloth and spoon-fed her yogurt. Somehow, we still got some in her hair. I would have wept, except that it would have screwed up my make-up. Make-up!

2:45 - Ran to bathroom to grab make-up. Will apply in car.

2:50 - Daughter was pestering for more television, Consort was wrapping up phone call, I was sitting on the ground in a daze. He hung up, smiled winningly and said “So, let’s get going!”

3:00 - We’re in the car. The key was in the ignition. He turned it, stopped and frowned.“Is it sunny out?”

“Gee, I don’t know." I snarled. "It was when we started leaving the house. But it was also November when we started leaving the house.”

3:02 - He went back into the house to get his prescription sunglasses. Daughter indicated that Daddy should get her a book while he was inside. Only one particular book will do. This shouldn’t take any time at all, considering that my daughter’s room looks like the Library of Congress, if it were staffed by princess-fetishists.

3:10 - We’d gotten the glasses. We had the book. The garage door opened, the car was put in reverse. He stopped. Is his phone in the car? This will be quick, being as it is small and matte black, exactly like everything else he owns. A thorough search of the car produced four more books on princesses and an invitation to a lecture on time-management, but no phone. He ambled inside.

3:20 - It’s so quiet in the car when the ignition isn’t on. You could really hear my teeth grinding.

3:25 - We’re on the road. He took an extra few minutes while hunting for his phone to grab a Motown CD. Consort and daughter were now singing happily in two separate keys, neither of which matched the music. He reached over and took my hand, smiling wistfully.

“I love going places with the two of you. I wish we did this more often”.

(First published Feb 3, 2005)


Blogger houseband00 said...

My dad has the same pitiful but hilarious problem with my mom. My mom, every time before leaving, would do a run-through of the whole house.

10:21 PM  
Blogger torontopearl said...

I love this post, Quinn.

I grew up in a household where my mother would be ready to go to whatever was on the general agenda: family party/wedding/bar mitzvah/airport to catch a plane, etc. My father would be more or less ready, but sitting in front of the TV, watching news shows and casually saying, "We still have time..."

You'd think I'd have learned something. In my marriage household, hubby is the punctual one, while I'm the one who's more laissez-faire about doing things. My hubby's theory is "Work backwards", ie. think what the time of the event/appt. is and how much time you need to get ready. Let me tell you this, whether I rush or am lax...there's never enough time!!!

10:17 AM  
Blogger Jan said...

I think I might actually be married to consort. Tell me, does he claim to work nights when he is actually slipping over to our house to make US crazy???

2:52 PM  

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