Dagdha's Blog

Pugnacious Punctuality

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on May 3, 2012

Few of my pet peeves produce more anxiety than a thoughtless lack of punctuality. Growing up around the overly congested interstates and highways of Los Angeles, I acutely understand the unfortunate reality of unforeseeable delays, but too often I find myself patiently waiting for others as I begrudgingly observe my watch’s minute hand press forward in its perpetually punctual circuit. My inability to understand or tolerate the social conventions that dictate “9PM” actually means “a quarter to 10PM” is likely a major factor in my proclivity towards social seclusion. Because, for the life of me, I cannot bear being late, which makes me even less sympathetic in understanding such an obnoxious habit in others.

I will certainly beg the forgiveness of anyone I may offend, but please understand that my annoyance stems from an overabundance of curiosity. Despite my continual criticisms of American consumerism, I must admit that I am guilty of a rather voracious appetite myself. My insatiable palate is not for commercial goods however, unless you count my love for books, in which case my hypocrisy is worthy of the sixth ditch in Dante’s Malebolge. It’s knowledge that I so desperately crave – knowledge of music, movies, television, philosophy, literature and anything else I cram into my narrow head. I love learning for the sake of it, and there never seems to be a shortage of new facts or ideas, especially in our digital age of endless information, accessible on an equally endless number of devices.

Now before you can rebuke my first point with this latter one, and argue that I could easily read, watch, or otherwise imbibe my delicious information on a smartphone while I wait for my less-than-punctual comrades, I will riposte with a culinary metaphor: Just as you cannot enjoy a fine bottle of Cabernet at McDonalds or a proper espresso at Starbucks, neither can you savor the rhyme and metre of Keats or a proper sixteen bars of hip hop surrounded by noisy bar patrons. Sure you can half-ass your consumption of different art forms, but that’s a lot like speed-eating caviar. I think that’s enough kitchen talk, so I ‘ll eat something and quickly move on.

As one of the most sleep deprived generations our world has yet seen, there truly are not enough hours in the day, which is precisely why I become so pugnacious when my time is wasted. It’s incredibly rude to assume that everyone follows the same schedule, especially one so lackadaisical as to assume a 45-minute window for punctuality is acceptable. I am often asked how I manage to do so much with my time, but the answer is simple: I cram my time with as much activity as I can manage without crashing. It’s not uncommon for me to skip lunch so that I can sit and read for a full hour without wasting time waiting at stop lights or in line for others to get their food or even the time it takes to switch back and forth between eating and reading. It’s an extreme example, but so many of my heroes have admonished the importance of making the most of your available time, and there is generally some truth in common advice.

I did not sit down to write this entry with the goal of venting my frustrations. I wrote it to remind myself and encourage others to make the most of the limited time we all have.  Too many problems in our world are born from apathy, greed, and ignorance, much of which can change through education, by which I don’t mean schooling, but learning from hard work and reading.  I’m sad that more of my peers don’t read anymore, claiming they have no time, yet they follow sports, reality television, or Facebook status updates with unwavering zeal while producing no new thoughts or valuable ideas. These distractions are drugs more harmful than most scheduled substances, which at least produce novel perspectives instead of perpetuating the shallow ideologies of corporate producers.

Seeing as how this post is more than 140-characters, I doubt many people will read it, but I will include a TLDR in the form of a poem by Rudyard Kipling.

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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