Punctual absolutists need to relax

  • By Carolyn Hax
  • Monday, August 25, 2014 8:47am
  • Life

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

On the chronically punctual:

Chronic lateness is a personality characteristic just as much as smiling or shyness or empathy or mothering or wool-gathering to name a few of the more benign.

None, but none, of these characteristics is changed lightly or, usually, at all in a lifetime. I know, I have struggled with lateness the same way others have struggled with more blatantly damaging qualities. I know when I am hungry and when I am full. I know what drink must be the final one. I have a terrific sense of direction. With all of these, of course, over a lifetime I have wondered why others do not — gee, it’s so easy.

It is not at all straightforward. I have been tyrannized by the absolutists just the same as they think they are inconvenienced by the late-arriving. How often I have arrived — punctually — at a meeting only to think, “I rushed for this? I could have driven more cautiously, not been so rude to that old guy, not have indigestion, edited my email more thoroughly, read that article.”

I often find people are more concerned about the schedule than the occasion, somehow desperately fixated on that aspect of the event. And, I often wonder why we have created a society that values punctuality among frenzy.

Now that I am retired I try, oh try hard, to set an engagement between 11 and 11:15 a.m., to make appointments for later in the day, to announce clearly that I wish others would start the meeting without me if they are not “on a retirement schedule.”

In fact, whatever direction these “beliefs” move, they are ONLY beliefs. I suggest some tolerance both ways. I will try to tolerate your absolutism, if you will recognize my right to believe differently. I will try to accommodate your beliefs — even though I do not share them. I will not ridicule your “god” if you do not denounce my apostasy.

— Albuquerque

On falling out of love with a life partner:

A piece of advice from the other side: Please, please, please tell him in the safety and confidence of a counselor’s office that you feel like you have fallen out of love. I am sure he would much rather hear it than not hear it.

My wife decided she couldn’t confide something like this in me and just assumed the marriage was broken and done for. To ensure it, she went off and started a new relationship with someone else.

In the end, at least give someone you’re married to the benefit of hearing something they would not like to hear before you judge whether the indifference toward him is something you can overcome. You may be surprised what a degree of openness may unfold for the both of you.

— Accepting the Unacceptable

On dealing with a messy child:

When we were young and irresponsible and would discard items willy-nilly around the house, my mother would pick them up and put them in a box. (She never picked up stuff from our bedrooms.) Then, once a week or so, she would haul out the box and “allow” us to purchase the items back as-is. Unredeemed items got dumped or donated and we lost them.

— Sacramento

(c) 2014, Washington Post Writers Group

More in Life

‘Young Sheldon’ was born out of ‘The Big Bang Theory’

The hit TV show about Sheldon Cooper now has a spinoff series about him when he was a kid genius.

Beer of the Week: 5 Rights Brewing’s Fresh hop imperial IPA

The Marysville brewery named its beer Wobbly the Laborer after the Industrial Workers of the World.

Get schooled on Texas BBQ at this Monroe restaurant in a bus

Brisket, pulled pork, sausage, chicken and the fixin’s all await you near the Reptile Zoo on U.S. 2.

Spy comedy ’Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ is laugh-out-loud funny

It’s a superficial but energetic sequel to the 2014 film about a clandestine British secret service.

Ben Stiller was born to play title character in ‘Brad’s Status’

Writer-director Mike White’s script has plenty of Brad’s voiceover, so this movie feels like a novel.

‘Friend Request’ a horror flick about the dangers of Facebook

Though it’s a little behind the times, Simon Verhoeven’s film about social media is effectively done.

39th annual Arts of the Terrace attracts regional artists

The Mountlake Terrace juried show features paintings, drawings, photography, miniatures and more.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

End of Summer Beer Garden Hog Roast: Seattle’s Ravenna Brewing is hosting… Continue reading

See both versions of ‘The Odd Couple’ on Historic Everett stage

The Outcast Players perform Neil Simon’s classic comedy with alternating male and female casts.

Most Read