Nonetheless, I would stand with my nose pressed against the back door's window, gripping my school books to my chest.
Early on, I suffered from a deep fear of being late. Heaven forbid should anyone have to wait on me! Even before the bus rolled to stop on our graveled driveway, I'd be out the door and clamoring up the steps of the bus before the twin doors flew open.
To this day, I cannot bear to be late for something. I will intentionally leave an hour early if I have to, just in case I may encounter some unforeseen delay. Which is fine with me because I am always prepared to wait; I bring plenty of distractions; my latest yarn craft project, a book--if nothing else, my trusty iPhone provides endless forms of entertainment. I do this whenever I have a breakfast or lunch date, for example.
So it should come to you as no surprise that it is a challenge to my neurosis when my husband leaves a mere 15 minutes before an appointment is due.
"We have plenty of time," he'll say casually, arriving ON THE DOT of the appointed time.
Of course, during the drive, I have bitten every nail down to the quick, certain they are wondering where we are. If it's a doctor's appointment, for example, I'm sure they have called our name and when we didn't show, they have moved on to the next patient.
Years ago I did in-home care for the elderly. One client lived in a relatively rural area North of town. My shift started at 6pm. A la Peni, I left about an hour early. On the way was a detour (this was in the winter in the evening so it was already getting dark). The detour forced me to take a left, which I did.
I followed this road for quite some time until I realized there was no turn-off point back to the main road. Holsteins regarded me from their pasture, wondering where this crazy lady was going. Fighting the anxiety building in my chest, I called my client (how did we get along without cell phones?!) and told her, "I'm going to be a few minutes late."
Finally I found a lane in which to turn around, and I headed back to the detour where several people in reflective vests were doing whatever they were doing. I asked one of them where I was supposed to turn to get back onto the main road. Lo and behold, there was a right turn less than half a mile away from the detour! I thanked them, took that turn, got back on the main road and arrived at my client's house at 6:01pm.
See how my neurotic grasp of time works for me? It would have eaten at my conscience if I'd been--gasp!--half an hour late. But one minute late? I was able to live with that.
Over time, I have gotten better with this chronic need to be early. But I'm afraid I will always suffer from it to some degree.
Now when a friend meets me for a lunch date and I have already commandeered a booth for us 45 minutes before the appointed time, I just smile when she asks, "Have you been waiting long?"
Of course not.