We had some people over for dinner a few weeks ago. When you throw a bash, a party or whatever, the big question is, “When will they arrive?” Or the reverse, when you’re invited to someone else’s house, “When should we get there?”
Not on time! That’s for sure. It’s rude? Or is it? We all struggle with the issue. The time issue. If you’ve ever arrived right on the button, you know how awkward it is. The hosts are unprepared. Still running around finishing preparations and then disappearing to take a shower and change their clothes. You sit there by yourself, feeling like an idiot. You only do this once, after that you make sure you’re 15 minutes late, at a minimum.
And how about the people who invite you over at six, but don’t serve dinner until eight. You came hungry and your growling stomach keeps interrupting the conversation.
The whole “what time to get there” thing creates a lot of unnecessary anxiety, for both sides of the invitation. Maybe it’s time to fix it. Make the invitation honest. “You are invited for a picnic. We’ll try to be ready for your arrival at five, but make sure you don’t come until five-fifteen, just in case we fall behind. Don’t come later than five-thirty; we’ll start to wonder if you are coming at all and won’t get the burgers going, causing early bird – Jim’s stomach to start dominating the patio discussion.
All that’s great, except old coots like me are “on-time” fanatics. We don’t want to be late. For anything! I don’t know why we get this way. Even those of us who never made it on time to anything when we were younger, shift gears when we get that first Social Security check. Maybe, it’s because time is running out, and we now realize it and don’t want to waste it.
You can spot us parked outside stores, restaurants, banks and medical centers waiting for the place to open. It’s why the “early bird special” was invented. Restaurants got sick and tired of seeing a bunch of full size, four-door sedans clogging their parking lots with the left signal blinking an hour before opening time. So, they let us in, in hopes we’d be gone by the time their regular customers arrived.
A-la, the early bird special. They didn’t even need to lower the price.
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