I am a stickler for deadlines. Generally. If I have to meet you at 5, I am there at your doorstep at 5, generally. When things have spun out of my control and someone is talking and I am having a hard time inserting a word in and finally just give up and let them run out of steam, I end up being late. That happens. Or, due to my foolhardiness several years ago in entering into a lifelong commitment with a man who blows puffs of smoke at time itself (outside of work, especially if the TV is on), I might be late to a party. Always, as we are stepping out to some place where I think its important to be on time (which is nearly every place I go to), the child has to go potty. I might be late then. But if I lived alone on an island with no one to hold me back, believe me, I would row over to the mainland exactly on time. Or, as mostly happens, early.
Yesterday was a day when my ability to be on time was sorely tested. Plus the sun was furious.
I went to pick the monster up. She had not even packed up her backpack, despite the bell having run several minutes ago. I saw her making faces at me at the window as I walked up. Monster! I dragged her out bodily. Her best friend 'Friend' insisted that they had to bring sweets (or something) the next day. So we had to go back to the teacher and ask her what on earth that was all about (nothing, just some childish randomness). Back out again. Down the stairs. The long walk to the gate, and then the longer walk to the main road.
Police everywhere. Car nowhere in sight!
Considering I had just gotten dropped off by the driver like seven minutes earlier, I was really flummoxed.
Chief Minister, an irate looking cop said.
Which explained it. They just cleared out the whole road in anticipation of that. I wondered for a second what the name of the guy was (being a particularly aware citizen of the country, who diligently reads the newspaper everyday). Then I tried to quiz them about my car. They insisted that they had sent away all the drivers because the CM was coming. Oh. That made sense. At 3 pm, when kids have gotten out of a long day of school, and the sun is beating down furiously, it makes sense to hold them all to ransom and make them hang out on the street for that. Yes. That makes sense.
All the ladies were whipping out cell phones to call their drivers.
My phone chose that point of time to fully run out of battery. Bip. Bip. Bip.
I do not know the driver's number in my head, so I would have had to borrow a phone from someone, call my husband on his chennai number, hope that he would pick up the phone, ask him to call the driver, and so on. The very thought of doing all that was making my head spin.
The monster was hot and gearing up for a mini-tantrum, which I squashed into the ground with a nice yell, at t=0 .
I was walking around aimlessly when I finally found the car lurking somewhere at a distance.
We got in and settled down amidst our countless bags (I swear that we do not have enough space in the car because of the bags), and headed homeward. The plan was to stop at home for just enough time for her to change (and use the bathroom) and then rush off, she to one of her random classes at the neighbourhood place, and me to my non-random class which I had to teach.
The traffic was blocked up near home. I tried to tell the driver to take another route, this would take us past the monster's after-school class. Dense as he is, the driver pulled up at the class. I was like, doooddee, she needs to change her uniform. Oh well, we went home, and da-da-dah, changed (without too much argument on the dress, thankfully), out again, and dropped her a few minutes early to her class. Thankfully again they did not complain about it. All the smiling and gentle soaping has been helpful I guess!
I was drumming my fingers all over and going chmah, chmah with my mouth as we headed over to my office. Finally managed to reach my class only five minutes late. My colleague, whom I would have called in the middle of all this to say that I am slightly delayed and can he please hold the fort, if only my cell was in working order, was there. The students were late. One sauntered in half an hour (or more) into the class.
No, that does not justify my being late. I still hate being late! Even if the other party is routinely late, I would prefer to stick to my time, thank you very much, Mr. CM and Police Commissioner, and everything else notwithstanding...