Watch the Watch Watcher

This week’s topic is “Time…are you a clock-watcher?” and yes, it was my idea.
I’ve been attracted to the concept of time since I was young. As soon as I knew how to tell time, I wanted a bed-time…and I would not be happy if I missed it, unless there was a good reason. I wasn’t OC about it, I mean, sure, holidays! Guests! Drive-in movies! There were plenty of good reasons to be late for bedtime, but if there was nothing much going on, I was in bed at 8:15.

Once I got to school, I was certainly a clock watcher there. I was adamant about not being late and I watched the clock over the blackboard for our first break, lunch, recess, last bell. Later on, I watched to see when the next class was, and if I had time for a break, (locker or girls’ room).


Once I got to school, I was certainly a clock watcher there. I was adamant about not being late and I watched the clock over the blackboard for our first break, lunch, recess, last bell. Later on, I watched to see when the next class was, and if I had time for a break, (locker or girls’ room).

I made sure early in life that  I was never late for any appointment: doctor, business, personal. I’d leave early and kill time if I needed to, to arrive as close to the time of the appointment as humanly possible.

I set my watch and all the clocks in the house to perfect time. I found that I could call the Naval Observatory and get the correct time from the Atomic Clock and I did it all the time. It was a local call from my home until I was 27; then I ran up the long-distance bill when I moved away. I was never late and on-time for everything until I was twenty-eight.

Then I got married.

I married a man I had known for 6 ½ years. An intelligent, well-groomed, personable man with a great sense of humor…and a lousy sense of time.
Yes, he was late picking me up over the years. I excused those times because he was wrapped-up in his schooling, his family’s matters and his many siblings. We spent most of our (actual) 6 ½ month engagement 1800, then 450, miles apart, so I may have missed some clues. I did not know that being late was habitual with him. The day before our wedding his father said to me, “Joe is going to be late for his own funeral.” Our friends wanted to take us separately to the church but I said no; I had no intention of literally waiting at the altar.

And it began. Over the years there were only a handful of times we made it to church on time. He often made it to work later than he should have. Most of the time he would get in just under the wire…and sometimes someone would move the wire for him. Unless I worked terribly hard, we were late for social engagements, but whatever I tried didn’t always work. He/we were seldom very late, just not on-time.

His bosses would talk to me; our friends would talk to me, our priests would talk to me. With all his care and his attention to detail in everything else, it seemed out of character for him to be late, so they thought that I had control. “Please talk to him!” I would beg. “I try. I try every angle. I got nuts over being late. I have thought of having him hypnotized to find the root of it all!” But he was too likable for them to complain directly to him, to lose an otherwise good employee or want to hurt his feelings. (My feelings never seemed to count.)

My husband would also check the time and set his watch and the bedside clock ahead. I put my foot down over the clocks in the other rooms. Yet, he knew he had that ‘extra time’… and used it anyway.

After many years, I tried to not let it get to me. We’d be late, I’d seethe inside, but we never fought over it. Then I stopped seething. And I knew that it was never my fault; I would not let anyone get to me over it. I realized that it was not the end of the world if I were to be late, not so late as to inconvenience anyone, but I did not have to be 20 minutes early and wait in the parking lot or wander the corridors of buildings until it was just time for an appointment. Two minutes late really isn’t ‘late’ to most appointments, I found.

And then, my husband got a job where he absolutely could not be late.
I found that he was perfectly capable of getting to a certain place at a certain time. We stopped being late for appointments and church, (most of the time, anyway).

And I had to stop myself from returning to seething-mode.

We have clocks all over the house, as I always have. My husband even bought one that picks up radio signals from the Atomic Clock! His watch, his alarm clock are still set a few minutes fast, and he knows exactly how many minutes fast he has set them. I still reset any other clocks he tries to tamper with. I still leave a little early for appointments, but not as early as I once did. He will still leave later than he should have, but not as late as he WOULD have.

We are mellowing.

I still have to watch the clock. I have a family member who is going through a rough time and usually calls twice at least day, around the same times. My grandson has not been here, so all of his timetables are no longer my schedules, but I know when he gets home and I may get a SKYPE call. I have the granddaughters far less, but I have to watch for school pick-up times, Girl Scout times, etc., some days. The hardest part is when they stay over on school nights. The one who runs late has to be at school a half an hour later than the one who wants to be early, so you can imagine the hustle that I have to handle on those few mornings, with my “We’re leaving in five minutes with or without you” threats, (which, for that granddaughter-of-my-husband, are pronounced at least nine minutes before I will actually get in the car with her sister).

I have a watch. I keep it in my purse and it is only on my wrist when I am out and about…fumbling with a phone simply is not fast enough for we clock-watchers!

If you are a clock-watcher, or someone who hates to be late, have you dealt with someone who is habitually late?

About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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10 Responses to Watch the Watch Watcher

  1. jeff7salter says:

    love the quote, “a great sense of humor…and a lousy sense of time.” It almost seems like a book title.
    Yeah, the eternal struggle between spouses for dominance over the clock.
    In our household, it is reverses: I’m almost always ready to leave for church (and other engagements) well ahead of time… and the other party is just beginning to pull herself together.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Hubby and I are never late, but that’s because he would rather be a half hour early! I’d want to run an errand on the way to another destination but he’d always refuse because he’d want to get there and sit in the parking lot. Now with our children, our older daughter is always late, and the younger one is on time or slightly early. This caused a problem when they were in high school and they rode together, because #1 had the car and driver’s license. #2 would often just take the bus to be sure she was on time. We’ve often told #1 that the starting time for an event was a half hour before the actual time.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Sounds like time is a struggle at your house. I always hated clocks being set ahead. My older sister is one who like it set ahead. It never made sense to me since she always knew it was ahead and by how much. I would rate set my alarm to go off eight minutes earlier than to have the time wrong. Luckily, by the time I was eight she moved to her own room.


    • I know, right? What’s the sense of setting clocks ahead if you remember and use the minutes anyway???
      The struggle has gotten better; he’s gotten better and I am not as frantic.


  4. Joselyn says:

    I have family members that I give times thirty minutes before the actual event. Most likely they will be leaving from their home at the time of the event and arrive 45 minutes to an hour late. I would rather be on ten minutes early than that late.


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