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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Sure, I Hate Being Late… But I Don’t Hate It That Much

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I live my life in a state of perpetual tardiness. I’m always late for something. Meetings, work, parties, bedtime — you name it. If it’s an event, and has a scheduled start time, you can pretty much guarantee that I won’t manage to show up until ten minutes to a couple of hours after the thing gets under way.

And frankly, I’m not sure that’s ever going to change. My chronic lateness seems to be hard-wired into my brain. I was born late — just ask my mother, after thirty-odd hours of labor; she’ll tell you. I’ve been late to classes, late to final exams, even late to job interviews. At this rate, I’ll likely die late, too. I’ll hang on to a ripe, three-digit age, outlasting everyone I care about and tended to by bitter old hags thinking, ‘Christ, old man, just die already, so we can spend the twelve fricking dollars you have left!‘ Hell, they might even say it out loud, or send it to me every so often in a Hallmark card. Lousy bitches.

Moving back to the present day, suffice to say that I simply cannot seem to find a way to be on time. It’s a curse, or a character flaw, or a recurring brain fart. Call it what you will; the important thing to know is that if you want me somewhere at seven, then you’d damned well better tell me to be there at six-thirty, or earlier.

(And if it’s seven in the morning you’re talking about, then just give the hell up. I’m not coming at all. And believe me, I’ve been making creative excuses for enough years now to get out of whatever damned fool thing you’re foolish enough to schedule for the ass-crack of dawn. I don’t even start breathing for the day until eight. Not interested.)

Anyway, given my propensity for piss-poor punctuality — okay, I’m kind of proud of that one, folks; alliteration is our friend! — I’m always on the lookout for ways to get from point A to point B just a little bit faster. Especially when ‘point A’ is the bed, and the method for hurrying my ass up doesn’t involve losing any beauty sleep.

(Or ‘handsome sleep’, I suppose, but that just doesn’t sound right. ‘Studly snoozing’? Mmmmmm… no. ‘Dashing, debonair dozing’? Ugh.

Bah. Screw it. I’ll just call it ‘forty winks for lazy dinks’, and stick with that. It’s not how good you look, people; it’s how many hours in a row you can remain unconscious and completely unproductive. And drooling, preferably. There’s nothing ‘pretty’ about sleeping, dammit.)

So, over my many years and thousands of hours of research, I’ve come up with a few time-saving devices for getting up and out the door in the morning. And, since you might find yourself in the same sorts of dilemmas, I thought I’d pass some of my vast store of wisdom on to you. Maybe it’ll save you a tardy slip some day. Ready? Here we go.

The real secret to reducing your ‘prep time’ in the morning is to multitask. You simply need to find combinations of things that you can perform simultaneously. Two five-minute preparations become one five-minute (or possibly six or seven, if you’re not used to such trickery) combination. And voila! Instead of ten minutes late, you’re only down five! (Or, in my case, only down twenty instead of twenty-five. Still, every little bit helps.)

And you non-tardy tadpoles (you know who you are) can benefit, too. Now you can set the alarm forward another five minutes or so, and still be on time. Extra sleep means… um, well, actually, I’m not sure. I’ve never gotten any, myself, frankly. But I’m sure it improves memory, or promotes a sunny outlook, or makes your breasts grow bigger. Something good like that, probably.

Anyway, let me give you a few examples from my personal experience. In my insatiable quest for insight into the world of sleeping more and being late less, I’ve tried just about every imaginable time-saving combination. Some of them work quite well. Others… well, maybe I’d just better get to the examples. You can see for yourself.

So, here’s a list of the things that I need to accomplish every morning before hitting the door. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with this list — maybe make one of your own, so you can play along, too. It’ll be fun.

  • Shower
  • Wash hair
  • Dry off
  • Brush teeth
  • Brush hair
  • Put in contact lenses
  • Shave
  • Apply deodorant
  • Take vitamin
  • Dress
  • Clean ears with Q-Tip (optional)
  • Use toilet (optional)

Wow, that’s a lot of crap to get done every morning. I need a nap, just thinking about all of that. But let’s look at a few of the combinations — viable and otherwise — that I’ve discovered when trying to manage all of these tasks:

#1: A Sprinkle Under the Sprinkler — Certainly, we all know what a timesaver taking a ‘number one’ in the shower can be. Not… not that any of us would actually do such a thing, of course! Even in an emergency, right? Still… theoretically, one could pee in the shower while washing one’s hair, if one were so inclined. I mean, it’s physically possible, is all I’m saying. One would just have to be careful where one’s pee-er was pointed, so as to not have to ‘tiptoe through the tinkle’ for the rest of bathtime.

Time Savings: Approximately one minute, perhaps two after a night of hard drinking (purely hypothetically, of course)

Recommendation: Hey, it’s your shower stall; I can’t tell you what to do. But a word to the wise — if you’ve been eating asparagus recently, you might want to find another way to save time. Again, purely hypothetically.

#2: A ‘Dry Shave’ Is Never Good — There was a time when, in my eagerness to get out the door, I would attempt to shave myself with my right hand while still drying off from my shower with my left. This time — as well as various patches of body hair — is no more. You see, it’s far too easy — for me, at least, early in the morning — for the two hands to get confused about which is doing what, and which one has the soft fluffy thing, and which one has the sharp dangerous slicy thing. I luckily never bled myself anywhere sensitive, but I did have some rather, er, ‘close shaves‘. So to speak. Ahem.

Time Savings: Five to ten minutes, if you can keep each hand working full-time on its task without getting confused.

Recommendation: Don’t try it, unless you’re far less distractable than I. Or unless you don’t mind accidentally giving your genitals a reverse mohawk. Hey, I hear it looks good on some people.

#3: I’m Really Not Sure That’s How Vitamin C Is Meant to Be Taken — I’ve also gotten a bit ahead of myself in gulping down a vitamin, sometimes grabbing the bottle while I’m still putting in my contacts. With a clear head and a little bit of dexterity, this is no problem. Of course, with my brain, and my fumble-fingered mitts, it often means a little piece of plastic in my mouth and a One-a-Day in my eye. And while I can easily fish the contact off my tongue, getting the vitamin out is usually far more painful. Not cool.

Time Savings: Thirty seconds, tops.

Recommendation: I wouldn’t do it, frankly. The risk-to-reward ratio is way too high, and those pills fricking hurt if they get stuck under your eyelid. On the good side, though, the lenses taste like chicken. So there is an upside, I guess.

#4: I’ll Never Hear Again, But My Cowlick Is Gone! — I once tried to Q-Tip my ears while brushing my hair. You know that little game where you try to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time? Yeah, I could never fricking do that, either, so you can imagine how this went. The brushing part was fine, but I think I rammed the Q-Tip through my eardrum and all the way into my brain. Somewhere along the way, it broke in half, and I haven’t been able to taste salt or multiply fractions ever since. Freaky.

Time Savings: A couple of minutes, if you’re truly ambidextrous.

Recommendation: ‘Huh? Reco-what, now? Whad’ya say? Speak up? Huh?!

#5: The ‘Number Two’ Two-Step — There are actually a lot of things that you can get accomplished, should you feel the need to ‘take a seat’ during your morning routine. It’s perfectly reasonable to brush your hair, put on deodorant, and possibly even finish drying off while pot-sitting. Personally, I’d avoid putting a toothbrush or a vitamin — or anything else, frankly — in my mouth while so occupied, but still, a poo-poo pit stop doesn’t have to slow you down, if you don’t mind holding your nose and being creative.

Time Savings: Five minutes or more, depending on how long you take (and how far you can reach from your seated position to grab a Q-tip, brush, towel, etc.).

Recommendation: Sure, why the hell not? What else are you gonna do on the toilet? Read?

#6: Mmmmm… Just Like an Irish Spring! — I know people who brush their teeth in the shower. These are innovative, ambitious people for having thought of such a time-saver… but more than that, they’re completely fricking crazy. I tried it once, hopping into the tub with half my wits, still-sleepy eyes, and a brushful of Crest. It was a complete nightmare — I scrubbed my teeth with a bar of Dial, rubbed the brush under my armpits, and I think I still have toothpaste in my hair. And I’m not talking about the hair up there, either, people. Remind me never to do anything that requires conscious thought ever again, okay?

Time Savings: I don’t have any fricking idea. And everything I eat still tastes like Dial.

Recommendation: Don’t. Just don’t.

So, there you go. Some real time savers, and a few cautionary tales. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little public service message, and that it helps you get to whereever you’re going just a little bit faster. As for me, I think I’m just going to resign myself to being late for the rest of my life. It’s just safer that way, and I can keep the early-morning thinking to a bare minumum. Otherwise, I’m gonna find myself shaving my eyeballs, or pooping in the damned shower. And those are not combinations I wanna think about, no matter how late I’m running.

Permalink  |  6 Comments

6 Responses to “Sure, I Hate Being Late… But I Don’t Hate It That Much”

  1. I am one of those people who can brush their teeth and pee in the shower. (Yep, call me disgusting, it works for me and so far I’ve managed not to piss on my toothbrush!)

    But some people just take the whole going potty in the shower thing *too* far. I knew a woman once who had trained her dog to shit in the bathtub because she didn’t want to clean it up off of the floor if Sparky happened to have any ‘accidents’. Her reasoning was that she could just wash it down the drain.

    Now I don’t know about you…but I’d prefer not to actually sit my fat ass where my dog shits to clean it. Pee down the shower drain? OK. Dog poop in my tub? NOT ok.

    ‘Eh, to each their own I say. But thanks for the tips!

  2. tj says:

    yeah, pooping in the bathtub is NOT a good idea … er, so i’ve heard.

  3. Agreed. Mmhmm. And by the way Charlie, stick a pin on my guestmap would ya? It’s there so I can stroke my own ego, but then I realized that it would look silly if I were the only one posting to it, therefore I need a little help!

  4. Disregard, I’m an idiot! :D

  5. nefarious says:

    I’m not sure where to start. You put entirely too much time and thought into trying to save a few minutes in the morning.

    I wasn’t ever late for anything until I got married. Yes, babe, I’m blaming it on you.

    Now, you are welcome to piss in the shower, but the savings vs cost really isn’t worth it to me. If you take colder showers it’s not that big of a deal, but have you ever pissed in a hot shower (not golden… don’t go THERE)… pee-ewe so to speak.

    The shaving thing… best thing you could ever do is get an electric. Bam… less than a minute and you’re done.

    I’m sorry… I’m running late… that’s all you get

  6. #Debi says:

    I have a guy friend who keeps an electric shaver in his glove box and shaves while driving to work. As you might guess, he’s a piss-poor driver. (Nice alliteration earlier, btw.)

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