Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Delayed Pleasure

"Late" or its usual variant of "delayed" must be the most hated word in the language of travel.

Some might take issue with that position and think cancellation is the worst. But I maintain that at least with cancellation one knows one must make alternative arrangements. The certainty of the situation mitigates its problematic and inconveniencing aspects.

Tardiness, instead, simply prolongs a misery that is born from expectation, and the frustration born of the sense of "wasted time," and the fear that yes, if you step outside to smoke that cigarette, or sit down at the only airport restaurant that offers waitstaff service, you may miss your flight.

We hardly welcome tardiness in many areas of our lives, which makes me wonder how I ended up with Viet who, well, put diplomatically, enjoys the elasticity of time. I have come to realize over the last 3-weeks-short-of-13-years learned his behavior from his family. Dinner at 8 p.m. means one begins eating oh, perhaps 9:15. In my upbringing, dinner at 8 means you show up, unless otherwise directed to attend a preceding cocktail hour or have hors d'oeuvres, to arrive by 7:50, for dinner will be served at precisely 8. After many years of living in quiet--and sometimes not so quiet--frustration, I've learned to accommodate myself, which, in the realm of dinner, translates as "eat a little something beforehand, because you may be waiting several hours."

Dear Reader must be exasperated, but let me tell you: for someone who eats breakfast before the roosters crow, and who eats a very light lunch if at all (I usually skip lunch), waiting to eat for 15 or 16 hours is quite the ordeal.

Yeah, yeah, I know exactly what dear reader is saying... so let's move on with the story.

Some late arrivals we celebrate:

like this spring blooming Kerria japonica which reared this single astonishing blossom this past weekend,

or this Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus floridus), also spring blooming, which decided to engage in a bit of late summer impishness after my return from Europe in late August.

Both remind (read: mock) me that being obstinately wed to inflexible schedules makes one a frustrated soul, especially since the vast majority of the world seems to be, well, differently scheduled.

But sometimes, as Viet has demonstrated countless times over the years, for the sake of sanity time itself must be arrested and disposed of, for, in Viet's street-savvy wisdom, "if you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute."

I haven't gotten to that point, nor will I ever, but I am learning to appreciate the unexpected pleasures that sometimes come with delays.

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