What’s YOUR Excuse?

late, train, weddingAs I sit in the car in utter fear and mortification, counting, counting, counting, I wonder: what has led me to this humiliating, horrible experience?

Is it because of some deep-seated hatred for my brother?

No. I shake my head vehemently as I whisper 77, 78, 79… I love my brother.

Do I want to sabotage my relationship with my new sister-in-law-to-be?

Again, I shake my head no and continue counting…80, 81, 82.

No, and actually, I hate being late, and yet, I am always delayed, postponed, behind, tardy, unpunctual, behind schedule, overdue; well, you get the picture.

I was late at birth – two days I’m told. I was a late bloomer, and didn’t even enjoy a first kiss until I was 16. At 35 I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Yet I did know I wanted to be a good sister.

83, 84, 85…

“How many more?” my mother screams in my ear, even though we are only sitting a foot away from each other.

“I don’t know,” I respond, gritting my teeth.

I am about to be late for my brother’s wedding, and I can find no excuse for it.

Did anyone warn us about this possibility?

My mom and I are in strange territory. My brother’s fiancée’s family lives in West Virginia. I arrived from San Francisco, my mom from Delaware, my bro from Maryland.

89, 90, 91, 92…

“Don’t be late!” I do remember brother telling me that at breakfast. “It’s a 15-minute ride to the church, and there could be traffic.”

I scoffed at him. “Traffic? In this little town?”

He grimaced and admonished: “I know you.”

So, my mom and I leave 20 minutes early, noting a bit uncomfortably that we are the last family members to leave the hotel.

93, 94, 95…

sheep, flock of sheep, late“Beep your horn!” Mom shouts.

“It’s a train, Mom, not a flock of sheep!” I shout back.

Yes, that is correct. We left 20 minutes early, but our car is stopped at a railroad crossing, and the longest train in the annals of history is chugging in front of us.

98, 99, 100…

One hundred cars I’ve counted, with no end in sight.

“Mom, we’re in the back waters of nowhere, and we are going to miss your son’s wedding.”

Like in a stupid adolescent movie, the kind rated PG13 that only gets two stars, Mom and I scream out loud, to no one in particular, together.

But the train moves no faster.

We are desperately

Pathetically

LATE!

long train, late, train, wedding

What’s a recent excuse YOU’VE had for being late?

145 thoughts on “What’s YOUR Excuse?

  1. Arghhh I could feel the frustration and anxiety building, as the numbers kept coming… I absolutely HATE being late, so it doesn’t happen often. In fact, I always leave EXTRA early (hint hint) because there is always the possibility of “shit happening”, and it often does. Sometimes am at the airport hours before I need to be, but I don’t care, cos that way there ain’t no stress. Best part of this story is your mom’s comment to “beep your horn!”, ahah or maybe your response back, is even better! Love it.

    Peta

    Liked by 4 people

    • You, a world traveler, getting to the airport always early. You’re like my guy, who has traveled a million miles during all of his business trips, yet before each one, he worries about being late. So he insists on arriving at the airport at least two hours early. When I’m with him, I’m never late. 🙂
      But my mom and I are of the same cloth, and thus all those late times — I blame on her. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can´t deal with being late. Hubby is even worse and is always (embarrassingly) early. I do hope your brother waited for you and his mom. There is nothing you can do about traffic, especially train traffic. My heart was pounding as I felt for you. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s taken me a lot of years (and lectures from my always-early guy) to learn that waiting is much less stressful than rushing. I always bring a good book with me (on my Kindle) and a few Ommmm’s in my pocket. 🙂 But. I still have a tendency to be late (if my guy isn’t with me). Something about the “relativity” of time????

      Liked by 2 people

    • We arrived, breathlessly, shamefully, and worriedly. The bride was late (thank the Lord) and we sat in our front-row seat, my brother’s eyes boring into ours, but all forgiven when his fiancée walked down the aisle. Phew! ❤

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  3. I don’t do late. I was 7 weeks premature in 1942 and I still work at being on time. Now, let’s see, when was the last time?……….. Ah! about thirty years ago I got lost on the way to a marathon race with the result that I started long after everyone else. As I struggled to catch up a cry of “Late again” from the watching crowd rang in my ears. I’m sure that wasn’t really the latest, but certainly the most memorable.

    Enjoyable post, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was sat as tense as the narrator counting with you wondering as I read of you were biting your lip so as not to say something you shouldn’t. I became more enthralled as I read to the point I could almost hear the clickerty clack of carriages of the train passing in front of you.
    Well written Pam. I too hate being late!
    Much love sent your way 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • I still get a rash when I think about how close my mom and I were to missing my brother’s wedding. After all, I had traveled across the country to be part of it. In fact, I WAS part of it (a reader). I will never forget how my heart beat harder with each clickety clack of that forever-train. We lucked out, because the bride was late in walking down the aisle, so my mom and I got to our seats and my brother forgave us. Did I learn my lesson? If nothing else, I learned how forgiving my brother can be. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh what rotten luck! I started laughing when I realized just what you were counting. Surely someone should have warned you about the possibility of a train crossing! Hope the wedding waited for you or that the bride was fashionably late herself. 🙂 At least you had a good excuse.

    We have a drawbridge near here we have to take into account when leaving for local appointments. Even so, sometimes we manage to get caught and stuck in the line of cars for 15 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tried to suggest that perhaps guests should have been warned about that train crossing (and the ONLY way to get from one part of town to the other) but found that the best plan of attack was to say “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” many times and wait for my heart to slow down from fear and anxiety of missing the wedding. And thankfully, the bride WAS fashionably late. Phew. Dodged a bullet, or should I say, dodged a train on that one. 🙂
      Your drawbridge would perhaps change my ‘always late’ habit to “always have an excuse why late.’ motto. ;-0

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  6. Single, in a second-story apartment, I started out almost late for work. I ran out the door and missed the first stair – I went air-borne and landed on my coccyx. Pain like that I’ve never felt. I ended up a half-hour late for work.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh no! I hope you didn’t miss much of the wedding, or that they held it till you arrived. We once arrived late to a wedding (but had another couple with us) because we got lost trying to find the church. It didn’t really matter, and we had lots of fun at the reception. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since my mom and I were supposed to sit at the second pew, and I was supposed to be a reader, we would be missed if we weren’t up there, front and center. My brother was prepared to hold up the wedding for us (and to be truthful, besides being mad at us for being late, he was worried about what had happened to us). When we arrived, his face portrayed more relief than anger. Such a fabulous guy. And even better, the bride was late!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have seen a shirt that reads, “Sorry I’m late; I didn’t want to come!” It makes me smile. I have been known for my promptness, but in the last several years that has gone by the wayside. I call it “semi-retired.” Great post, Pam!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a t-shirt! That saying is probably more true than people want to admit. On my brother’s wedding day, I definitely did want to come, but there have been other events I’m late for when truly, I probably didn’t rush myself because I just didn’t. want. to. go. 🙂

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  9. I very much dislike being late. It makes me soooo anxious. That being said, I’m good at planning ahead but my obstacle to on-time-ness is my husband, who flies by the seat of his pants. Love the guy, but on this issue… not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh dear. I’m not going to tell my guy about you and your guy. Because my guy is YOU, and your guy is ME. I slow down my guy, who is prompter than prompt. Can you imagine – he likes to get to places EARLY? Gasp. Why ever would we do that??

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Tardiness…let me count the ways. I strive to be on time (or early) everywhere I go, but there are times I just don’t make it. We were almost late for a flight once–a state police officer on the other side of the median on the Atlantic City Expressway was using a bullhorn to tell us to slow down since he couldn’t get to us. We made the flight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A cop! And a bullhorn!!! Wow, you are impressing me, Amy. And even more so because you made it to your flight. I’m smiling as I’m visualizing the scene. I’ve never been stopped by a police officer because of speeding (well, never is not the correct term, let’s say I never got stopped by a bullhorn) but I DID get stopped (and with great grumbling) by a police officer because I happened to be driving down a (rather busy) street the wrong way. Hey, at least it wasn’t because I was LATE!

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  11. The counting added to my anxiety, Pam. What a storyteller you are: “Like in a stupid adolescent movie, the kind rated PG13 that only gets two stars, Mom and I scream out loud”! You had me in the moment, that’s for sure.

    Your story made my heart pound and I held my breath reading the comments: falling on coccyx, 7-weeks pre-mature, and so it goes. Now what’s with the cell number? Your readers, including me, really embrace the suspense. Wow, Pam!

    I have besetting sins, but lateness is not one of them. But I have confessed to others in my blog, tee hee!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Besetting sins – oh dear. What a great phrase. We bloggers do tend to share our sins, don’t we? But perhaps that’s why we’ve become so close. We know about all of the dirty laundry and still (or perhaps because of) love each other. ❤
      (I got rid of the cell number- I think when some people respond on their cell phones their tagline gets included.)

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  12. This is a great short story full of tension, humor, and life lessons. I hope this isn’t a true story; being late to a brother’s wedding would be a disaster. Most of the time I’m early, but when I’m late, the tension builds just like in your story. Well done Pam.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was scheduled for an ultrasound on Monday. My daughter worked from home that day to take me, Appt at 1:45. We left at 1:00 for an 8 mile drive. I don’t like to be late either. Even brought my e-reader. She sent the car off with valet parking and came in just as I found out my appt was in a different clinic 15 miles up the highway. It was raining hard. By the time we got our car back, hit the highway again and found a clinic I had never been to before we were right on time but check in held us up. I thought as the other clinic said, they might make me reschedule for months later. We were lucky that day. Late but mission accomplished. I had completely forgotten about the change in place even though I had it written down You try your best but… Not everything can be planned for. You write quite the exciting version of it though my heart goes out to you. It’s one for the book though. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh NOOOOOO. What a story. What a lot of stress! I’ve done this same thing once before (if it makes you feel any better) just about five months ago. Like your daughter, I was being helpful and driving my guy to a doctor’s appointment. He had misread (um, I believe NOT read) the instructions, so we went to his doctor’s regular office instead of the clinic where the test would take place. Oh dear. Almost as bad as a long-running train (but not quite). 🙂 Glad you made it in time and hope the ultrasound came out okay.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m amazed at how many bloggers are admitting that they dislike the stress of being late so much, they’re usually early. I’d like to have that problem; instead, I think minutes/time will stretch for me by total will power. Hasn’t worked yet, though. ;-0 My mom and I were late to the wedding, but glory be, so was the bride, so all’s well that ends well. (Even if it doesn’t end on time!) 🙂

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    • You are another “rather-be-early” blogger. Seems I’m the exception instead of the rule. It may be taking me years (and years), but I am learning that if traffic is going to be a problem, it’s most likely going to happen when I least want it to be a problem. Thanks for reminding me that early is better. ❤

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  14. No excuses ever accepted by me though some could be genuine… just the one you are talking about Pam! I hate being late though getting delayed by traffic is often the reason. I wouldn’t call it an excuse, I would tell myself, I did my best, I didn’t intend to be late! 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oooh Pam! I hope you somehow made it in time, or they waited with the ceremony until you and your mom arrived, as you are two important parts of the family. At least up until that point you were! 🙂

    While totally frustrating and stressful, it makes for a good story, especially the way you told it! Hope nobody was too upset.

    I can push it with time as well and then blame everything else but me. Aaargh!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like your expression here, Liesbet – “pushing it with time.” That’s exactly it – I try to push time back, so I can finish that project, take a little longer in the bath, not worry about the commute traffic – until I realize that most times, TIME pushes back. ;-0 🙂
      But to answer your question, my mom and I were late to the wedding, but so was the bride, so we made it to our pew in the front and wiped the sweat off our brows. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, that’s another word for those of us who are late – we are PROCRASTINATORS. That’s so true – but only because I have so many other things to do before I need to leave for the next thing I need to do. No excuse, I know, and you are the smart one to always be early. My guy is like you and your husband, so, um, yes, my lack of timeliness can frustrate the poor man.

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  16. OH NO, Pam. Were you late??? Did they wait for you?
    Those darn trains. I’ve been stopped (and counting cars), on the way to the airport and my anxiety tends to spike. Same thing with logging trucks and school buses on the twisty mountain roads. For those reasons, I tend to get everywhere about 30 minutes early (with a book).
    Congrats to your brother and his new bride. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great hook, Pam! I’ve had to back up and try to turn around to seek alternate route at train crossings more than once. This of course, in local areas that were familiar. Trains can, or seem, to take forever when you’re on a time schedule. 🙂 xo

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  18. Loved reading this since being punctual has hardly ever been my thing. But I have been much better as I have gotten older. I have never been more that 3-5 minutes late for appointments and I have always figured- “why sit and wait while I am kept waiting.” Of course church, weddings, and, funerals are a different thing and I have always tried to be on time for those kind of things.

    My husband was always early and very punctual. We were complete opposites.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I hate being late, so I am always early. But I have waited for those long trains . When I was living in the Central Valley in California there was a freight train that crossed the highway and I often got stuck in front of it.
    Did you and your mother made it to the wedding on time?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I didn’t know you lived in Central Valley for a time, Gerlinde. Yes, those long trains in rural areas can be a stress-inducer. My mom and I were late to the wedding, but so was the bride, so all’s well that ends well (even if not on time). 🙂

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  20. I was born weeks early and have been late for everything since:) Now I just handle it with, “Sorry I was late – I have a certain reputation to uphold,” triumphantly. There are worse legacies to leave;) I like the shared scream in the car, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Applesauce, Pam. I felt every number you counted. LOL. I hate to be late too.
    Okay, my best and most recent excuse…
    I’ve been trying to get help for the agoraphobia that gradually took over my life. I found a therapist who will work via video conference. Well, Christmas morning, Santa brought me the flu. I’m on the Naughty List! It quickly became the “everything flu,” with long lasting intestinal problems… After I week of it, I didn’t cancel my therapy appointment. I’m at home right? My fever had gone down after a week. I should be able to manage, right? I set up the computer on the bedroom desk, logged on. Then one minute before the session started, my tummy went haywire so fast I didn’t even have time to prop a note in front of the screen. (I tried.) Fortunately the bathroom was just a few feet away. I heard the bell signaling the therapist was there — on the computer screen, looking at my empty chair. At least she could hear me when I yelled “I’ll be right there!” o_O LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Applesauce with Cinnamon on top, Teagan. Oh, you’re lateness excuse is — stomach-roiling. I had to chuckle at your ability to shout “I’ll be right there!” Hope you’re totally recovered and are enjoying some sunshine and lots of writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Hey Pam… I can only imagine the anxiety as you waited for the train cars to go by. I would have bitten every one of my nails off. I’m glad it all turned out well.
    I, like you, always seem to be late. I do not allow enough time to get ready, I have gotten caught up on my computer etc. The phone rings and that extra 10 min costs me. Time and time again! And I HATE TO BE LATE! But what I really hate, is when I am on time and someone else makes me late. I have zero patience for that.. double standard because I always expect forgiveness, lol! I was late to my own wedding, but I think I have been to ONE out of many that have started on time and it is the bride’s fault 99% of the time…
    I do have one humorous story from recent months. I had an appt in a town 45 min due East of me. It is the same town where I go to University and where I do most of my shopping etc. This is a standing appt I have every other Thursday so I had been there before. One day, I was so distracted that I realized I had gone 30 miles NORTH toward Dallas before it dawned on me I was headed in the wrong direction. O M G! I was mortified! Fortunately, the person who had the appt after me had canceled and not only did it turn out ok, I could take my time getting to where I was supposed to go without driving like a speed demon (I think I did anyway) so lucky there… since I was on the backroads of East Texas ha ha ha! My guardian angel was probably holding on for dear life! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think distractions are the reasons for most of my (and sounds like, your) lateness. Who can blame us? (Well, many can, but perhaps unfairly). I cringed as I read about your driving the WRONG way to a normal destination. Have I ever done that? You bet your bippy! Which is why I use my (verbal) GPS system all the time. (In fact, maybe she IS the guardian angel….) She makes sure I get to where I need to be. Now, if only she could make me on time, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I hate being late also and almost was late on Saturday to my meditation retreat. It wouldn’t have been so bad but my son is the guiding meditation teacher. I made it on time only because there was no long train to delay me. I hate the beat of my heart when I’m running late like that. Glad all worked out well for you though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to laugh, Cheryl at your haste and stress to make it to your calm MEDIATION class (taught by your son, no less). 🙂 I do the same thing when I race to my yoga class, somehow late and as you describe, heart beating erratically. Well, there’s a reason we practice yoga and mediation. 🙂

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  24. I am generally on time, maybe a little early, but in the time period when I was driving nearly across the entire state of NJ to get to work, there were frequent delays, breakdowns, minor accidents, etc. One was a really bad accident where Rt. 78 was entirely shut down eastbound. I’ll spare the details, but I was three hours late for work, and so shaken, I didn’t care. Everyone at work understood.
    Your tale was far more entertaining – thanks for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As one who was raised in southern NJ, and went to grad school in norther NJ, and drives through NJ every time I visit my mom in DE, I feel your pain. Rt. 78 is a horror show on GOOD days. Three hours late – I’d be hyperventilating like a …. train engine. ;-0

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Lol, I’m sorry but I’m chuckling. If you’re chronically late,. I’d expect no less. I have friends like you. lol. I used to have a friend who I literally had to add 1 hour on our meet time because she was that predictable. 🙂 xx

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  26. Pam, I think I stopped breathing the entire time I read your story. I have a thing about time, all of my life. Arriving a half hour early, means I have arrived in the nick of time. I have a daughter (I love beyond words, of course) has been late her entire life. How does this happen when she came from my loins? Reading through the comments, I see “Murphy’s Law” has already been brought up. I guess we all get to where we are going.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my gosh, you made me laugh out loud. I have a daughter like YOU, and she stresses if we/she/anyone is 10 minutes early – because to her that means they’re LATE. Drives her husband and kids crazy, but my guy? He’s just like her. For me and your daughter? Time doesn’t just stand still, it moves forward without warning us. ;-0

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  27. At least you made it to the wedding, says the Zambian in me :). I always plan on being late to functions with my fellow Zambians because it’s a national hobby to be late, unfortunately. I went to functions on time a few times and regretted it as it was only the organizer and I who turned up on time. It’s another story for Western events – I try to be at least five minutes early.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A place where it’s a “national hobby to be late”! I think I have some Zambian genes in me, then. Yes, we Westerners are so darn particular about time. Well, probably irritating both ways – people being too late, or too early. Finding that balance is tricky. :-0 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Hi Pam. The only thing that ever makes me late is when I have a few minutes before I leave and I sit at the computer and think, I’ll just read one blog.” Famous last words! Once I start I keep moving on to another blog, then another, and then, “Oh my gosh, I’m late!”

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  29. Pam, this is intense and you build a terrific sense of anxiety, stress and mutual frustration! 😀 That must have seemed like the longest train in history as you waited … and waited! Great build-up with the counting, very effective and superb writing.

    I’m habitually over-early, like way too early! Just to be safe, and with a book in my handbag, I don’t mind. Once a flight to Lanzarote was delayed for me as my connecting flight was extremely late (to the extent that the friend I was meeting at the second airport actually had to get on the plane we were originally booked on!) As I boarded the plane and the doors were slammed shut ALL the passengers glared at me, I felt the daggers flying towards me … ducked sheepishly into the seat and not daring to shout out it wasn’t my fault!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh you poor (innocent) traveler. That’s just NOT FAIR to be blamed for a delay when you’re always punctual. Well, I sure could use some good pointers from you about not waiting until the last second (or reading that last chapter) before leaving for an appointment/flight/wedding. I HAVE gotten better since the wedding fiasco. Kinda. Sorta. Well, my guy wouldn’t agree. 🙂

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  30. I hope you didn’t miss your brother’s wedding.
    In situation like long train, my hubby would be more anxious than I am. He would try to go around, but I would say how far you can go to make sure you can go around?

    The time we were late at a wedding was when a friend’s daughter had a wedding at a small English style church seats less than 100 people. We passed that church several times and still couldn’t find it. The closest we found was a parking lot but it went to a funeral home. Eventually we found it toward the end of the wedding!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Oh yes… me too!!😄 I was more on time when I was younger than I am now. Since I arrived at the nifty fifties (someone told me I should call it that… it feels better!) I’m barely able arrive at anything on time. I’m always saying sorry instead of hello when I arrive. And everyone replies… “That’s okay, no problem.” But it is a PROBLEM!! I find I’m always on time until the last 10 or 15 minutes before I leave the house… that’s when stupidity starts to happen, or I suddenly remember all the things I’ve forgotten… then leave 10 minutes late… again! How do we rid ourselves of this affliction?!! 🙄

    So… did you miss the wedding, or arrive just in time?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, it’s those last 10 minutes before I leave to go somewhere that get me too. I always mess up with my expectations of how long it will take me to finish something up. Overly optimistic!
      The bride was late, so we made the wedding. Thankfully! 🙂

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  32. Being late for weddings – everyone has a story! One time my husband and I (30 years ago, before we were married), set off from Pennsylvania for a wedding in Plattsburgh, NY, which is practically in Canada. Well we totally miscalculated how long it would take, got caught on 2-lane roads behind slow-moving trucks and missed the entire ceremony! We had to skip our showers and just throw on our dressy cloths and race to the reception! Great post, Pam 🙂

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  33. Pingback: What’s YOUR Excuse? — roughwighting – Truth Troubles

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