Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Late Syndrome

Every morning I arrive at my école de français between 8:40 & 8:50 a.m. School starts at 8:30 sharp, but I have fallen into the pattern of arriving at around 8:45. In my world, I have come to believe that if I arrive at 8:40, I am early, and if I arrive at 8:50, then I am a tad late. To me 8:45 is on time.

My classmates have come to expect this behaviour from me. They have now started timing themselves according to me. If a fellow student shows up after me they think 'I must be really late, Sara is here!'

The truth of the matter is that is that every morning I have the choice to be on time, but I choose not to. I arrive in the parking garage about 8:25, and it's less than a 5 minute walk to my school, so if I walked straight to school I would be on time, but instead, I choose to make a stop at Tim Horton's (and who can really blame me), as coffee has become a morning ritual since joining the public service. By the time I get through the coffee line at the local Timmy Ho Ho's (and its quite a line, there are atleast 25 people with the same look on their faces 'gimme my coffee and no one gets hurt'), I then proceed to walk to school, which makes me 10 to 15 minutes late by the teacher's watch.

I enter the classroom each morning with a smile on my face, I take my seat knowing that I will be able to survive the morning schedule of French activities because I have my large coffee in hand to support me (similar to a sponsor in an AA program). I am sure that the teachers, along with a few of my fellow students (not to mention the director of school) are largely perturbed at me for the late entrance, but in my world, if the stop at Tim's makes me a better student, then it makes the class a better place to be for everyone involved!

I know, most of you are thinking: if you are always 20 minutes late, then why don't you leave 20 minutes earlier? - I too have entertained this idea of getting up earlier and leaving earlier, but no one likes to break routine. There are many studies out there that say having a routine in life is good for the spirit, as is spontaneity -- but I only like to be spontaneous once or twice a month, which is the only two days a month that I actually show up on time for school, at 8:30 (and this calculates as being early in my world).

My mother will read this post and I am sure she will begin to feel the guilt for the reason I have this habit of being late. She tried to be proactive and put me in the morning class in kindergarden. I guess she was trying and instill those earlybird habits in me, but personally I think her choice backfired. The only thing the morning class did for me was allow me to meet my good friend Jamie King (Ozerkovich)...other then that I was wasting precious years of sleeping in (also a waste of energy on the part of my Mom having to drag me out of bed every morning).

The late patterns have been present my entire life. I was always late for school, late for the bus, at work I am usually late for meetings, and for curling games I usually show up later than my other teammates, the Bellerose side of my family also has a reputation for being late to family functions, and now P has contracted the syndrome as well, he is showing up late for things more so than I (...and he always has to explain to everyone how it's MY fault when WE arrive late to an event - yeah right!).

Being late really is a syndrome. I believe the one and only thing I actually did show up on time for was my wedding! Those who know me well were surely amazed, but I think that's the point. When things are very important to you, you make sure you're on time, but when they're not so important, such as French, you don't give a damn about whether your 10 minutes late or an hour late. A shame one might say, but for me, the syndrome kicks in and no matter what I do I just can't break the lateness. I believe I should have been named Sara Late Bellerose, or something to that effect.

I think there are stages to the syndrome, and surely French has put me in the worse stage of it which I like to refer to as consistently late -- you know what they say, the first step to recovery is admitting the problem: so - hello my name is Sara, and I am late to school everyday. (Now you say: Hi Sara and welcome - or something to that effect).

Everyone knows a problem like this doesn't go away over night, so for today I will take the next step on the 12 step program and I will consciously make an effort to be less late for class starting tomorrow- that's a start, right?

Any suggestions for curing the late syndrome?