How often have I heard that phrase. Or the promise -forlorn, & never to be taken seriously- "I won't be late".
In our family it is known as 'the Family Disease'. It seems to be an inbuilt, congenital inability to be on time for anything.
To those of us in the family, who are always either early, or at least 'on time,' it seems an absolute mystery of a condition- inexplicable!
Our Mother was the first one we noticed with this terrible disease. It didn't seem to matter how early, or how hard she tried, she was always running late.
We did feel, when we were children, that some of this seemed to be a self-inflicted 'disease'.
As we lived with our Grandmother, who didnt drive motor cars, (but family legend has it she drove a mean Buggy or Gig.) and so, any family outings of any distance always involved our mother taking us in her car.
Grandmother & kids would be all ready, having organized food & and or other gifts to be taken to relations in other towns. We would get into the car, & sit waiting. And waiting.... and waiting.
In the end one of use would leap from the car to see where our Mother was. Very often she would be vaccuuming the floor! Or somesuch other unneccessary task, that staggered us! It is a family joke, as we depart, to laughingly say, "Shall I just vaccuum this floor?"
Our Grandmother had sisters who lived in various other towns about the Island. She would love to get to visit them whenever the opportunity came up. We would imagine THIS time we were going to have a full day's outing. But no matter how hard we tried to think of, & do, everything prior to departure, that our Mother might deem vital to our leaving , it never happened as we planned.
My Beloved Brother suffers from this awful disease. I think it gets worse with age. And my Beloved Sister suffers really as badly as our Mother. I have seen her husband almost weeping in frustration, at having to wait, & wait, & wait....
Once when GOM snapped at me to hurry up, I snapped back, that if he was married to my sister, he would have some thing to snap about. And he promptly said if he had married my sister he wouldnt be!
My Niece is like me, nearly always early for everything, & like me she just can't understand the 'disease'. My other Niece is more like her mother, only not quite so bad. One of my sons has the disease in a weak form. My DJ doesnt have it at all, & my eldest son doesnt have it either. And GOM is like me, he likes to be prompt & on time.
Once when my BB was to take our Mother to the airport for a flight, he fell asleep, & our Mother couldnt wake him. So his little son offered to cut his beard, to see if he would wake up- our Mother let him!! She was so enraged at BB. I dont know how he took it, but our Mother had to get another flight!
Another side effect of our Mother's lateness, was that she drove like a veritable demon once she got behind the wheel of the car! Our hair would be standing on end & my foot would be on the brakes the whole way. I would arrive stiff & sore, from so much bracing for impact!
The thing that staggered us the most was our Grandmother's reaction to the speeding! She would sit sedately in the front seat, calmly watching the scenery whizz by, & never utter a murmur about the speed or some sudden brakings, which would inevitably occur, from time to time, as we whizzed round hairpin bends on steep winding roads on the Kaimai Ranges.
We nicknamed our Mother, Toad of Toad Hall.
And when she would shriek "Did you see that, -that driver had the cheek of Old Nick"? And we would quakingly inform her that we felt she was in fact "Mrs Nick".
Right up until the end of her driving days I was a fearful passenger. My BB was not too keen on her taking his sons driving. She actually had very few little 'bingles', & they were mostly not her fault. But she still struck terror in my heart when I rode with her. She would tell me I was a "coward, just like your Aunt."
And the last 'new' car she got, was a little 2nd hand Japanese Corolla, & it was a manual. We tried to convince her it would be easier to drive an automatic, but she insisted "that was the reason people have accidents- they are not concentrating on changing gear!"
She had once had a Brand New Fiat Bambina. It was a swine of a little car, a lemon, & when a huge truck almost backed over it, with our mother in the driving seat, she decided it had to go!
But even with her cars, she still had the lateness disease. A very puzzling affliction, to one who doesnt have it.
And now I am off to try to sew some more blocks, though it is to be 33 deg here today, & is so humid it is like being underwater!