Which early?

There’s early, and early. My early is “arrive in place ten to fifteen minutes before time, unless otherwise needed,” or unless traffic might be a problem. Military early ranges from fifteen minutes before time to two hours before time (although the latter might be a trifle exaggerated. Or perhaps not). Sib’s early has shifted from “ten seconds before I’m too late, give or take” to “ten minutes before call time” to “thirty minutes early because Big City Traffic might strike.”

I get twitchy if other people don’t leave early enough for me to be early/on-time. Yes, it’s a control thing, and it’s not my fault, but still. Being prompt is polite. And if you have been left standing, panting for air after racing for a bus or train that departed without you, well . . . Especially if you are in Vienna, at night, and the end of that vehicle had a blue light on it. Guess what? You just missed the last one of the night. It’s going to be a long walk to find a taxi, or just a long walk. I darn near missed a boat that way, and had to jump from shore onto the moving vehicle. In my defense, and that of the people I was with, we were given the wrong departure time and the crewman standing beside the tour boss did not correct her. The tour boss thought it was amusing that the four of us almost had a massive logistical problem (trying to get from Tiny Town, Germany to Larger City by milk-train and bus, then find the correct pier with our boat.)

High school students seem to feel that early is “ten seconds before I’m officially tardy.” Except for the one who claws at the door to be let in ten minutes before students are allowed into the building.

Athena’s early is . . . I have no idea. I know that her “I want attention and food” generally comes at my “oh cat, the alarm won’t go off for another half hour. Hush!” Unless it is Caturday, when she gets up on weekday time, not weekend time.

I come from a military/aviation/medical background, where on time means on the specified time or before. Other cultures, especially ones that are farther in time from the introduction of the mechanical clock, time-clock, and “be here or be fired” tend to ease along and get there when they get there. After all, there’s sunrise, and cow milking if you have cows, and then you do whatever work needs to be done. The clock is not all-powerful and all-important, assuming you have a clock. This approach to things works pretty well in an agricultural society. Not so well in a society that wants to know exactly what time “mañana.”

But a lot of us, around the world, know what it means to run on “Lonesome Standard Time.”


17 thoughts on “Which early?

  1. A lot of us Night Owls are convinced that managers are all extreme Morning People who get up early to tell the rest of us what to do. And my father tried to convince me to take my coffee white so that I could be the first one finished at coffee break. But for me, milk doesn’t cover the taste of bad coffee; it just makes it stand out more. I can only stand mikk in exceptionally good coffee. Sorry, Dad.

    • It’s like spraying perfume on a gym bag—just amplifies both smells/tastes in a bad way. If you want to drink your coffee fast without having to taint it with additives that dilute taste in addition to temp, frozen whiskey stones are excellent. And I don’t relate to people who get out of bed in the morning and go about their day in a timely manner. Most mornings I feel like Viktor in Underworld being revived after my hundred-year hibernation. I need my caffeine and time to acclimate to being in the living world before I can get started.

  2. Then there is the boss who calls a meeting at 8:00 AM, and then spends a half hour on the phone while his staff sits around his office waiting for him to finish the call.

  3. Back when I used to go to SF/Fantasy conventions and the like, I got acquainted with Fannish Standard Time, which runs anywhere from half an hour to two hours behind local clock time, especially in the morning.
    Being a morning person myself, and accustomed to punctuality (absent special circumstances, like being abducted by aliens), I was kinda the odd one out.

  4. If I need to be somewhere, 10-15 is on time, 30+ as the distance increases. That said, I’m on “sun time” now, though he goes to bed before I do, this time of year. Around the valley, it’s “I’ll be along.”.

  5. $TINY_TOWN is notorious for having a flexible standard of time. $TT_TIME ranges from “sometime today” to “sometime next week”. That can be interesting when it’s county-run, like the transfer station. It’s an exceptionally bad idea to plan on getting there a half hour before it’s supposed to close.

  6. Military early ranges from fifteen minutes before time to two hours before time (although the latter might be a trifle exaggerated. Or perhaps not).

    I have formed up 4 hours before the one-hour-prior. And then the guy was half an hour late for a ten minute speech.

    It’s piled up stupid and lazy, honestly, combined with not growing a brain about “gee, people don’t show up until way late, let’s make it mandatory to be EVEN EARLIER!!!”

    High school students seem to feel that early is “ten seconds before I’m officially tardy.”

    Went on liberty with that guy once. Group of 8, four of us dragged the rest back, with one barely conscious; I want credit for not making it two barely conscious when he turned around, as the gate shut behind my back in the final seconds, and said “See, I knew we’d make it.”
    (returning without a member of your group was as bad as returning late)
    Decided then and there that I would never check out with him again… apparently so did a lot of other folks, because it NEVER came up again.

  7. Yep, 15 minutes early IS on time, unless it’s for a watch, then in was 30 minutes… And I STILL do that. LOL, Fox and I must have gone on liberty with the same asshole… BTDT, never again…

  8. I grew up with a mother who ran on manana, and a father who was career military. My sense of “on time” is set to paranoid.
    And then I lived in Alaska, where the tourists all got on the plane (or cruise ship) and turned off their brain, and run on Tourist Time…

    • :laughs: K, family drama that’s funny in retrospect, on the topic of paranoia, military and manana.

      My sister ran on “about” time being when she’d leave the house. If you flat told her that “we must be there by X,” she’d do it if it was in her power. (not fun complication from bad marriage messed that up some, but most of the relatives never noticed that “about” was the problem)

      So various people would, sort of randomly, tell ME to be at a place “at 5pm,” ready to go. I’d show up ten to fifteen minutes early, as in parked and ready to go, because both paranoid and military. Everybody else would blow in about six, and half of them had been told that it would be at six, but since my sister had been told 5pm, we were identical, right?

      I eventually put my foot down on the guessing game and started leaving when I showed up at the time we were supposed to meet and nobody was there, half an hour after “about” time. Yes, everyone involved had cellphones.

      After a couple of minor hissy-fits that were met with “I did show up, a bit before the time [irregular selection of relatives] said. I was there, alone, for most of an hour, and decided that it must have been canceled.”

      At which point they all switched over to giving me the same time-target they gave my mom, and I found out that she’d done roughly the same thing, some 30 years prior.
      The time they gave my sister was the time they STILL give mom’s sister, and a couple of the great-aunts. 😀

  9. I was a night owl, until I had college calculus at 8 am, five days a week, for three semesters. It was “Wake up or flunk.”

    Now I am retired, can sleep late if I want to, and still wake up early. Darn.

    • That is Torture the Students! Other classaes maybe, but Calc?

      The Professor Grabel for whom Grabel’s Law is named declared that he was a Night Person. “A Night Person is someone who thinks that a sunrise is the most beautiful thing in the world, and the absolutely perfect way to end a day.”

  10. Tossing in another anecdote….
    Back in Silicon Valley, and some years back, I used to go hiking (and sometimes lead hikes) with a group that had a custom of waiting around for stragglers for 15 minutes after the nominal meeting time, unless the listing said “promptly at ___.” Given the parking situation around there, even people who drove up on time might end up 15 minutes late by the time they got parked.
    I generally followed that, picking a meeting time early enough that there would be time to finish the hike even if people were filtering in for a while after the posted meeting time. But…
    Once a year, I’d do strict time. 01 Jan, 0745 sharp, we leave promptly for the Hangover Hike! (Yes, I always had at least one taker for that event, even if the weather was horrible. With favorable weather, I might get a dozen or so. I usually brought along some liqueur chocolates to help people break their New Year’s resolutions and get it over with.)

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