One of my least favorite personal qualities is my propensity for arriving late (generally during weekends). Even though I’m not a person who takes too long to get ready (compared to other fellow creatures who raise the bar quite high), I am a person who takes a long time to start getting ready. I always find myself reading just a few more pages from my book or writing a few more sentences while I sip my tea, as if I still have a lot of time. And so it’s no surprise that I arrive late given my tardy start getting ready plus Istanbul’s infamous crowded nature.
On my way to a dinner date I ended up arriving early once, unaware of the fact that I had set my watch for fifteen minutes ahead. When I saw the clock on the wall, and double checked with my phone’s clock, the sense of relief that came over me, was the same with when the person I would meet would arrive after me.
Arriving late means struggling in the form of: walking unnecessarily fast; arriving breathless and trying to quickly get rid of your outer clothing; saying things like “wait let me turn off the sound of my phone,” in order to fully concentrate on the person across from you. Whereas arriving early means having the time to prepare yourself to be in that moment. For one thing, the whole process can start on the way there. Instead of walking fast without being able to look around, it was all about absorbing the surrounding trees, flowers, and (if available) beautiful buildings just like a tourist. Stopping time and life in order to really enjoy the serenity. The peaceful even wicked feeling of being able to satisfy the desire of picking out a park and reading just a few pages from the book in your purse. When coming across someone you know, being able to comfortably converse on the street rather than whizzing by with the “I’m in a hurry, so sorry” excuse.
And so I’ve set my internal clock forward today. Whichever of you I’m meeting next, be sure that I’ll be arriving before you do! And in very high spirits.