The inevitability of being late

                Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a hurry, the world slows down and intentionally gets in your way? How about when you are late for work and the car in front of you is driving ten miles BELOW the speed limit and you cannot pass him/her? Or maybe your normal ten minute commute turns into an hour or more because, on that particular morning, a semi truck loaded with five thousand bottles of real maple syrup spilled its entire contents onto the highway and the cops won’t let anybody through. Or, how about this real life scenario:

                I had a 7:30 AM meeting on the other side of town (albeit, I do live in a smallish town). I leave the house at 7:10 with the intention of stopping off at the donut shop and getting a cup of coffee to go. Plenty of time, I thought to myself. When I got to the coffee shop, there were two people in front of me and one of them wanted just a cup of coffee. Piece of cake, I thought to myself. In and out with plenty of time. That’s when the older gentleman in front of me placed his order:

                “Ummm…Let’s see. I would like a dozen donuts and a cup of coffee. Can I have a mixed dozen?” The server indicated that he could.

                “Great. Let me see. Hmmm (he ponders here for at least a full minute). I would like one buttermilk cake, one glazed, one plain cake and, hmmm, let me see.”(another full minute spent pondering the vast donut selection.). “Oh gosh. I don’t know. How about a chocolate glazed and a chocolate cake donut. Make that two chocolate cake donuts but leave the chocolate icing off one. How many is that?  Six? Maybe I should call my wife and see what she wants.” (He does – and spent at least forty-five minutes on the phone (or so it seemed) while he recited the entire donut menu to her).

                 “OK, she wants one original, one apple crumb, one Boston crème, one pumpkin donut, a French cruller, a cinnamon cake, and one vanilla cream filled.” The server politely informs him that he now has thirteen donuts. “Oh, I only want twelve. So I have to take one out, don’t I?” (He agonizes for another  two minutes). “Ok, take out the second chocolate cake donut. The one without the frosting.”

                The server, who has visibly aged by now, boxes everything up and hands it to the gentleman along with the bill (I think it was nine dollars and change).  In keeping with his character, he counts out the money in one dollar bills and pocket change to the server who is now considering retirement. I was glad that he stayed long enough to give me my coffee.

                I wound up fifteen minutes late to my own meeting. I am glad that he got a French cruller though.


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