I just wanted a ham and cheese croissant with tomato. In the end, I did get that sandwich, but what also came with it was a load of food so epic that we actually gave the checkout clerk new material for his Saturday night stand up gig. Seriously, he was a comedian by night and a grocery clerk by day. A new kind of superhero that Marvel has yet to make into a movie, however rumor has it Hugh Jackman will be starring when the script is approved for release. Everyone knows, telling a good joke is all about having good material that people can relate with while delivering the joke with astute timing. But is timing something we can truly control?
Day over day, we try to schedule our lives, from the simple errands to the market or the time we must arrive at work where meetings throughout the day are plotted and planned. Then they we find ourselves being late to scheduled gatherings, or there is that one person that just can’t help having the last word when their words extend the meeting another thirty minutes. We call this time management, and our new computing technology tries to organize our lives for us into nice colorful boxes on the screen. When we stare at this calendar of events as we begin the day we try not to think of the other five things that would be infinitely more enjoyable and perhaps truly memorable when we’re laying on our death bed wondering where all the time went. I highly doubt anyone wants their last thoughts to be remembering the departmental meeting had on March 2nd, 2005.
Not that long ago, when you hosted a party, you just sent an invitation with RSVP. Now, it seems we send out notifications to “Save the Date”, and then later we receive the formal invitation. We are asking people to reserve their time, but that time is just some time within a twenty-four hour window.
So what is good timing all about or bad timing. It was bad timing for Julie to be dating Brad as Brad just left Sally for Ken who just divorced June. It was a good time for us to plan a vacation to Mexico, but it was a really bad time for us to eat the burritos on our anniversary. These are examples of time being transformed from blocks on a calendar into events of memory. Time that is remembered and tied to emotions, people, and places.
For us, this week was a good time for there to be a power surge. When we bought this house about a year ago, I hated the refrigerator. I even tried to make them take it with them as part of the deal. They wouldn’t. So I went out and purchased a new one, then this happened, and that happened, and I didn’t feel so rich any more and cancelled the order. In the end everything was fine, and we lived with the ugly white refrigerator for the last year. It kept our food cool, and that was all that we needed. Then with one powerful force of electricity, our refrigerator came to life, trying to dispense ice cubes on its own will, untouched by either my wife or myself. It was now THE time to make a change. Purchase made, the delivery time was scheduled for Saturday morning. What time in the morning, well, maybe between nine and noon.
However, it was also THE time for me to renew my car registration before it expires on Tuesday. So time was of the essence. Much preparation had to be made. Floor needed to be adjusted to make room for the larger appliance. The registration branch opened at eight in the morning. Water to the drink dispenser needed to be shut off. Old fridge needed to be emptied. But how soon do you do that and not have the ice cream melt awaiting the delivery arrival?
For us, not early enough. I stood outside the motor vehicle branch five before eight in the morning, and was fourth in line. Not a second after getting to the counter, my wife text me and advises that the new refrigerator has arrived. I throw money across the table, sign the papers, and rush home. The new unit is coming through the front door. My wife is standing in the the kitchen, pinching the water line with her fingers. I also learn that at the moment of delivery, she had just come out of the shower, was stark naked, as the delivery men stood on the front stoop ringing the bell.
So, was that good timing or bad timing? Who knows, but I won’t ever forget it, and probably be laughing about it for years to come.