For me, being on time for an appointment is principle number one because I respect your time.
A 3 day program of an offsite meeting at a resort which was just 40 minutes drive from my home was to begin at 9 a.m. Started from the house around 7, with an idea to spend an hour looking around to see how beautiful the resort is.
15 minutes drive, I reach a railway crossing just in TIME to see the gate closing in front of me. It should be 5 minutes before it opens, turns off the ignition and wait for the train. I enjoy watching a train pass by, it’s sound, the rhythmic beat, speed, the faces looking out of the window with people standing near the door waving. I love to count the number of bogies the engine hauls. Ah, there is the train, its horn speeding up to high pitch as it closes in and taktak, taktak it passes by. I could see some of the vehicles at the other side, starting, ready to move. Since, I am the first one to arrive before the gate closed, I had the privilege to lead the traffic from my side, when it opens. Well the gate remained closed with the STOP board staring at us. There is one more train. l switched off the engine and waited. It took another 10 minutes for the next one to appear from the opposite direction. The train passed and the gate remained closed. I rolled the glass down and heard somebody saying, two more to pass.
I thought of backing my car out of that place and take a longer route, over a bridge. I realised I was engulfed by heavily loaded trucks, more than a dozen of them, and I can’t move an inch back. Here was a situation, which had gone out of my control and kept telling myself, well, patience, what you will miss is the site seeing, still will be in time or on time.
There is a difference in being in TIME and on TIME, just in case you have not noticed. In TIME is being there within the schedule and on TIME is being exactly on TIME, here it’s 9 a.m.
Finally, to make the story of long wait short, the gate opened around 8.30 am, with another good reason, besides the train traffic, gate would not open due to some mechanical problem.
Finally, I was on the move, managed to wriggle out of the choked traffic near the gate and got onto the highway. Even on the highway, there were two level crossings, they were open, did not stop me, thanks to the train TIMING on that route. I kept driving, the watch showed 9 a.m. and I did not see the board that would indicate the right turn to the venue. It took me a few kilometres of driving before I could find somebody for guidance and he told me, I have overshot the turn, travel back around 5 km and take the left turn another 4 km, you will be there. I said thank you, cursed and kicked myself and reached the venue, 20 minutes late. Not only did I lose my way, lost my mind. This reaction may be a bit incomprehensible for many, then we all have our own rules.
I walked into the hall, the meeting had begun, the Chairman was talking and an embarrassed me walked in, muttering an inaudible sorry.
Nobody bothered, the show just went on. During lunch, somebody asked whether I had overshot the turning. I said “yes”.
That evening, I took a decision, I will continue to make my best efforts to be on TIME, however, no more stress for that, never mind the consequence.
Anxiety to be on time is there, no more heart breaking reactions in case of delay. theory I have accepted is nobody reaches anywhere before their TIME. I have stopped saying sorry for being late, I have learnt a new thing to say, thank you for waiting or thank you for your patience or thank you for your tolerance.