120302_Aus-koozie-and-mugWe’ve been here nearly four months, and Daphne and I absolutely love Austin. There are so many opportunities to do interesting things, and everything is so close by, and we felt at home within the first couple of weeks. It’s been amazing.

The one thing I am having to learn, and re-learn, and am really trying to re-calibrate for myself, is expectations for start times.

Having visited and really enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere of the Caribbean, where time signatures are merely a suggestion, I am finding that culture in real life less charming than when on vacation, especially in a month that is full of activity.

There have been a couple of times Daphne and I have volunteered for various service projects, been given a window of time during which the work would happen, have shown up, and fifteen minutes after the posted start time, people have just started showing up, with their own breakfast or lunch, and sit down to eat and socialize. That sounds lovely and if we’d had that expectation, that’d be one thing. But when I show up, fully fed and ready to work, when a thing is supposed to begin, but work doesn’t really start until an hour after that, then I’m ready to leave at the posted end-time, but things aren’t finished, I feel like I jerk when I take off. But, seriously, if we say “9-12,” why not work 9-12? Or say “Bring breakfast and hang out 9-10, then we’ll work from 11-1.” I can’t be the only person who has about three things a day in December.

When we went to Pedaling for Safer Roads, the event was supposed to start at 6:00 PM. Because of my personality, we were in town at 5:15ish. I parked way off site so I wouldn’t have to pay. Then we rode our bikes downtown, got some sushi for dinner, and were at the site by 5:40 so we’d be ready to take off with the masses at 6. At 6:05, someone got on a PA and thanked us all for coming out, then announced that we’d be leaving around 7:00. Daphne and I rode around, hung out, and wished we hadn’t gotten there so stinking early.  At 7:15, they asked us to give them just a “few more minutes.” We ended up taking off at 7:20, and the ride took less than 15 minutes, because it was only a mile. Even going really slow with about a thousand people and a police escort, it just wasn’t very lengthy. If they’d said, “The event lasts from 6-8; we’ll be doing interviews and hanging out until 7,” I’d have not been annoyed at all by waiting twenty minutes to take off. An hour and twenty minutes was somewhat frustrating.

But that’s just me. If you tell me that something starts at 10:00, I’m going to be out front at 9:58, because I do not like to be late. We’ve showed up at small group late before, when the time had been changed on us without our knowing, and I felt like we were a little late but found out later we were an hour late. It didn’t seem like we were *that* tardy. The next week, when I showed up on time, we were the only people there for twenty minutes.

We got a little taste of this with the homeschool community in Sherman. When we’d have a birthday party for Daphne, we’d be a full fifteen minutes into it before people would start showing up. Daphne’s dad stopped asking, after about the third time, “Did you tell people the right time?” because he’d figured it out.

I don’t know. I understand being laid back and not legalistic, and having grace about other people’s lateness, but does it show any disrespect for someone else’s time, especially when they’re volunteering to do something, that you ask them to be there at a given time but, like a doctor, you make them wait until you’re ready to deal with them?

Maybe I should drink more?

Because I’ve considered showing up later, but I’d really rather be part of the solution to what I view as a problem than just dealing with it. Is it just me? Is timeliness not important to anyone else?