There is a small percentage of my associates who would tell you that I’m always on time. A very small percentage. The fact that there are any is a small miracle and a testament to how much I’ve improved on punctuality. Still even when I’m on time it’s usually the result of a lead foot, a few ran yellows and a sprint from my car.
PERSON I’M MEETING: You’re all sweaty.
ME: Yeah, it’s hot out there huh?
PERSON I’M MEETING: It’s 60 degrees.*
ME: I know. It’s a real scorcher. The important thing is we’re both here…on time.
Living in LA where 5 minutes late is considered on time really helps. I find that if I leave with just enough time and try to make it up en route, some nonsense will happen to make me a little late. Similarly, if I leave hella early with a lifetime to spare, just enough nonsense will happen to make me arrive just on time. It’s usually smooth sailing if I leave with a reasonable amount of time to spare. I think it’s God’s way of telling me to “cut it out.” Don’t be an ass and leave with no time to spare but also don’t be the other kind of ass who leaves an hour before they need to when they’re going 15 minutes away.
So the other day I found myself trying to turn a 25 minute drive into a 20 minute drive. Not impossible but not easy in the City of Angels and gridlock. It was midday and I caught a nice low traffic patch. I was coasting my way to being on time and I didn’t even have to cut off a suburban family of 6 in a white suburban. Then came the oddest case of the aforementioned “nonsense”. A cop car passed me and put on his lights. Was he really going to sweat me for going 5 miles per hour over the limit? (well 5 mph over the limit when he passed me.) Then the cop car began to drive in an upside down “S” pattern going across all three lanes. I thought this odd but I kept close waiting for my chance to make a lowercase ‘l‘ pass his S. It wasn’t to be. He waved me off and signaled for me to slow down. A line of cars soon formed behind him on the highway. It looked like a bunch Nascar drivers, who had all lost their sponsorships, following the pace car.
We held a good quarter mile behind the cop car. This was completely wrecking my dreams of being on time even though I left late. Then I could see the cop had slowed traffic to help a lost cat. I think it was a cat. Hard to tell from where I was. It could’ve been a large ferret or an adolescent aardvark. Touché God. I clearly didn’t deserve to be on time but a ferret on the highway, God? Oh it wasn’t a ferret?
The cop gingerly drove next to the nondescript animal trying to guide it off the road. I guess he didn’t have his anti-rabies kit so picking it up wasn’t an option. Is there no aardvark setting on a taser? Sorry animal lovers but a random animal on the highway is usually roadkill. I’m sure tasing it would be acceptable to keep a city of 6 million running smoothly. Plus, How do we know the ferret wasn’t trying to commit suicide. Maybe the cat had nothing to live for and thought what better place to blow through all nine lives than a highway.
The feline suicide intervention caused me to be what I already was, late. Add depressed cat to the list of reasons to leave on time.
*60 degrees is of course in Fahrenheit. For my metric readers that’s about 15.5 degrees Celsius. (The joke was that it actually wasn’t hot. 🙂