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The Stages Of Realizing You Are Late
Minute Zero: I am perfectly on time. I am at one with all things created and eternal. I am a stern and beautiful man of my word. Every morning I take Queen Victoria’s train to the Crystal Palace, where I am a model of efficiency and, like the angels in heaven, am neither married nor given in marriage. Soon – very soon – I will behold the cherished faces of my friends and colleagues alike, at the appointed hour and not a jot sooner, not a tittle later. We will clasp one another by the hand and by the waist, and we will be as good as our word and our bond.
Minute One: I will be in the car in three minutes exactly. It will take me fifteen minutes (“door-to-door”) to arrive at any location within the city. Should I need to be anywhere else in the entire Bay Area, whether that be San Francisco or San Jose, the journey will take forty-three minutes, due to Optimization. There are many bridges to choose from. I will drive over them all, and be met with welcome on the other side.
Minute Four: I am even more on time than I was four minutes ago! Had I left then, I would have been so organized, so ruthlessly effective, I would have somehow multiplied those four minutes into sixteen, and been sixteen minutes early, and had to sit alone with my thoughts. It would have been a grave error to have left then. Now is the time to leave.
Minute Six: None of the clocks in my home agree with the clock on my phone. I have attempted to sync them countless times, always in vain. There is no such thing as time. I am beset upon on all sides by perfidious, insurgent agents.
Minute Seven: It is a small, petty, cruel mind that dwells on details. What is five minutes one way or another between lovers? And what is ten minutes, if not five?
Minute Nine: Time to shower. How can I be on time if I am not clean? Showering will take forty-five seconds. I have never showered for longer than a minute.
Minute Twelve: Well now, what's it to be, Lord? Another widow? How many has it been? Six? Twelve? I disremember. You say the word, Lord, I'm on my way. You always send me money to go forth and preach your Word. The widow with a little wad of bills hid away in a sugar bowl. Lord, I am tired. Sometimes I wonder if you really understand. Not that You mind the killin's. Your book is full of killin's. But there are things you do hate, Lord: perfume-smellin' things, lacy things, things with curly hair.
Minute Thirteen: I want to be there. I long to be there. In my heart I am already on my way – have been on my way all my life. How then can it be a lie to text “On my way” when I have been in the condition of on-the-wayness ever since I was a small and forlorn child? How can it be a lie, when I mean it more than anything I have ever meant in my life? Oh, I want to see you. I want to be with you. I see your smiling faces across a bright and gladsome river, but my heart does not know how to cross. A water-demon has stolen my car keys.
Minute Fifteen: Ah, little lad, you're starin' at my fingers. Would you like me to tell you the little story of Right Hand-Left Hand? The story of good and evil? H-A-T-E! It was with this left hand that old brother Cain struck the blow that laid his brother low. L-O-V-E. You see these fingers, dear hearts? These fingers has veins that run straight to the soul of man. The right hand, friends! The hand of love! Now watch and I'll show you the story of life. These fingers, dear hearts, is always a-warrin' and a-tuggin', one agin the other. Now, watch 'em. Ol' brother Left Hand – Left hand, he's a-fightin'. And it looks like LOVE's a goner. But wait a minute, wait a minute! Hot dog! LOVE's a-winnin'? Yes, siree. It's LOVE that won, and ol' Left Hand HATE is down for the count!
Minute Sixteen: If I leave right now and also the Rapture has happened, there will be no cars on the road, and I will only be three minutes late, which no one will notice.
Minute Eighteen: The estimated time of arrival on my Maps function is a vicious lie perpetuated by my enemies, who have no faith in me. I have every confidence in myself. It would be an act of self-erasure to text and say “My ETA is now 7:17” when I have blessed, eternal assurance that I will be raised up in victory over the forces of entropy and darkness. I will arrive in a chariot of fire and exactly on time. Blessed am I, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to me, but a spirit in Heaven. I am Peter, the rock upon which the sweet-good Lord will build the church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against me.
I am on my way.