If you hate people that are always on time, or worse, early, then you can stop reading right now. I am that person.
I didn’t used to be that way. I used to be an on-time-ish person, or a five-minutes-late-ish person, or a who-the-hell-needs-a-watch-and-time-is-a-stupid-concept-anyway person. All that changed on September 21, 1996. United Airlines hired me to be a flight attendant.
In training, they fed us tiny bags of peanuts along with subliminal messages about being punctual (“This is how you fasten a seatbelt. This is how you evacuate a plane. This how you read a clock.”), and the not-so-subliminal messages (“If you are late three times you are FIRED!!!”).
I immediately went out and bought three alarm clocks.
Once clock is for sissies. Two clocks is just about right. But Hyper Virgo Girl needed three. Then she needed extra batteries.
As I would go through security, my suitcase would inevitably trigger all the “Code Red Danger” alarms with the guards (“Ma’am, I need you to open your suitcase, it looks like you might be building a bomb”). As you can imagine, this is not such a good thing for someone dressed up like a flight attendant going to work. So as not to upset the security guards in every airport across America, I started separating my clocks like chatty little second-graders that cannot sit next to one another in math class, one in my tote, one in my suitcase, one in my purse. Even my lipstick and credit cards were concerned with being on time.
I would check into my hotel room on my layover and start spreading my clocks around, like sacrifices on the altars for the Gods of Time. One clock would be right next to my bed. Another would be across the room, maybe on a dresser, so I would be forced to physically get up out of bed to turn it off. The third might be in the bathroom or perhaps next to the door depending on my mood. I was slightly paranoid that one of my lovely clocks would malfunction or that I might sleep through the alarm due to jet lag and time changes.
And that was another thing: time changes. I was constantly changing the time on all three clocks to local time. Daylight savings added another element of fun to the situation. Picture my elation when I discovered a special type of clock with an outer spin dial that changed the time zone for you.
I bought three.
In my decade flying, I never missed a flight. I have some fabulous memories of layovers in Hawaii, Australia, New York, France, and I also have a permanent case of punctuality.