gail schimmel

The blog of writer Gail Schimmel: A bit of writing, a bit of parenting, a bit of thinking and some book reviews

Early bird

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There’s a Facebook “game” going around – where you plug in your name and gender and it gives you a little poem about yourself. I’m not really mad about this type of thing but I thought “what the hell” and tried.

First, it gave me a poem about my close relationship with my nephew. I have three nephews and I do love them dearly and I do wish I spent hours playing with them – but I have to confess, I do not see them as my life-defining relationships. (Sorry little guys.) So I thought, “ha ha, stupid Facebook, and then just for fun pushed “try again”. And this is what I got:

This is Gail.

Gail has a date at 5pm.

Gail is there at 4.55pm.

Gail doesn’t want her friends to wait.

Gail is smart.

Be like Gail.

This one is hilariously accurate!

I’m That Person. I arrive early at dinners – if it is one of those big group things at a restaurant, I am always first. I arrive early at parties – my kids consider it absolutely ordinary to take little drives around neighbourhoods while we wait for it to be time. I arrive early at the doctor – even the ones who routinely run 2 hours late. The really tragic part is that I arrive early even if I try to be late. If I try to be late, chances are it’s because it’s an event where that is appropriate, so everyone else arrives even later than I do. And it must be said, trying to be late makes me very, very tense.

I get it from my parents, who were exactly the same. Once, my dad was late to fetch me from school. I knew he’d had an accident; wasn’t even a question (he had). My best friend was routinely fetched several hours late. I couldn’t imagine such a wild existence!

Part of me hates it. I wish that I was that person who could arrive half an hour late and not even apologise. Such sang-froid! But on the other hand, I kind of agree with what Facebook says about me. I don’t want my friends to wait. My time is valuable and their time is valuable. I respect them enough not to waste their time, and on the very few occasions that I am late, I send a message. Out of respect.

Some of my most lovely friends are routinely late. I’m not going to end the friendships because of it. But there is a wonderful feeling when I have an arrangement with a person like me, and I know that we’ll both be on time, and that I won’t sit like a fool all alone at a table for 20 minutes, smiling inanely at the waiters. And to those friends, I say thank you.



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