Oh, it’s not that I’m late late, just a few minutes usually. Some people have a hard time living with being late. But if I’m early, I will never be able to live with myself.
You see, to arrive early and have to sit and wait around is a crime. It all started long ago. In my family, wasting anything was a transgression like no other. Even Sunday morning pastries:
To Mom, squandering was a sin, and something God would know you did every time you did it. The minute she placed the bear claws, doughnuts, fruit rolls and sticky buns on the kitchen counter, I instinctively began working on saving the pastry bags.
Promptly folding the grease-stained paper sacks in nice, neat squares, I placed them in the “Used Bag” drawer. Perhaps one of the bags might be used to wrap frozen meat patties, carry my school lunch, or hold all the other saved bags in someday. I knew Mom would leave the pastries out until every leftover pecan bit and dried up doughnut fragment had been eaten (or saved in foil wrap). In the Andberg household, frittering away anything was a sin, anything – wax paper, paper clips, rubber bands, twist ties, nubby pencils, Saran Wrap. The guilt from throwing something out that could be reused – even tissue paper – should be a burden too great to bear.
So, as you and I plan to get together and you watch me arrive a minute or two late, please understand my plight. Thank you.
Of course, you might ask, “Why don’t you just show up on time and there’d be no wasted time?”
Yeah, but what if you’re late? Then I’m stuck here wasting time waiting for you.
My waste clock is always running.
The excerpt above is from Chapter Six, “Religion,” in my memoir Maybe Boomer.