My problem is twofold.
Although I am a pessimist at heart, on occasion I suddenly believe with an optimist’s confidence that I can do just one more thing before I leave the house. For this reason, I chronically leave the house ten minutes after I meant to because I think, “Oh, I need to call the orthodontist,” or I decide to fold a load of laundry or type out one more email before grabbing my keys and heading for the driveway.
I also believe the lie that I will encounter no obstacles while driving. No stoplights, no traffic, no slow drivers. I assume it will be smooth sailing while I’m piloting my minivan around the county. If my GPS says I will arrive in 11 minutes, I think maybe I can make it in ten. I am completely out of touch with reality.
I don’t know why I switch from Eeyore to Tigger, but I do.
Yesterday perfectly illustrates this character flaw.
First thing in the morning, I had to drive my son and his friend to school. I noticed that I had less than a quarter of a tank of gas. I’ll fill it up later, I thought. Then I came home and delivered a second son to school.
I began working and before I knew it, it was 2:11 PM. I meant to leave at 2:00 PM but somehow time slipped away and by the time I was at the end of my street, it was close to 2:20 PM. I had a fifteen minute drive to pick up my son and his friend and thought, maybe I can make it in ten minutes. (Fifteen minutes under absolutely perfect circumstances, mind you. Twenty-five minutes if you are an ordinary human being on a Thursday afternoon.)
I was destined to fail because . . . traffic. Traffic at 2:20 PM! What’s up with that? Do people now leave their jobs at 2 PM? I don’t know, but I arrived ten minutes late for the pick-up which landed me squarely in the nightmare of the after-school exodus of high school drivers. Getting out of the school parking lot took ten minutes. Turning the corner at the street took another ten minutes. We crawled along.
I was heading to pick up my other son and managed to arrive thirty minutes late. At that point, my gas tank indicator said we had six miles before we’d run out of gas.
So I had to stop and fill up the tank.
I dropped everyone off at home and headed for my carpool pick-up. I was now running twenty minutes behind and figured maybe I could make up a few minutes. (I am a slow learner.) But, of course, I could not because . . . traffic. And stoplights. And slow drivers. And fate.
I picked up those kids fifteen late and delivered them home twenty minutes late.
By the time I returned to my own driveway, I had been in my car for a solid two hours. Two hours filled with regret that I hadn’t left my house ten minutes earlier. Two hours wondering why I expect the highways and byways to be free of traffic. Two hours of despair as it became clear that no one would get out of my way so I could get through traffic lights before they turned red.
As I said, my problem is twofold. So I vow to stamp out the optimism and belief in a life without obstacles soon. But first, I bet I can get a few more things done . . . hold on, I’ll be right there.
(Just one more minute.)