Hey there. Hey. This is an A-Z of anything—anything and everything. Each week brings with it a new letter, and thus a new topic. And, thus, we begin … Arrival.
I hate the idea of arrival. To me, it’s just an opportunity for someone to get disappointed. If you are the one doing the arriving, someone is inevitably expecting you to be there. Then you get stuck in traffic, a train is delayed, an accident happens—something makes you late—and everything at your destination gets thrown out of kilter because you are late. It’s the same when someone is early. There’s the whole “oh, I wasn’t expecting you until …”, where what they are really saying is “You little shit, I didn’t finish the work I wanted to get done because you were too freaking enthusiastic to get here.”
Recently, I went to visit my sister-in-law. I told her when I was leaving home and when I was expected to get there. She made sure she would be home by the time I arrived … she kept up her end of the bargain.
As a person who makes it her mission in life to get lost, I was using the aid of a GPS navigating system to get me from A to the proverbial B. Unfortunately the GPS that I was so reliant on, decided to take me on a route that extended the two and a half hour trip into a five to six hour one. Even I wasn’t impressed with the time at which I arrived. As soon as I walked through her door, I knew that I had done wrong. Hell, I knew well before I had arrived, but all I could do was hang my head in shame and try to explain what had happened. I still don’t know.
Of course, as you get to know people, you come to predict whether someone will be early, late, or so-on-time-it’s-painful. Despite your awareness of these tendencies, the annoyance at someone’s inability to arrive at the precise moment that you expect them, or want them to be there, does not diminish no matter how long you have known them for. It’s like arrival is a concept that is only acceptable and bearable as long as it suits you.
So is arrival a necesary evil for everyone, or is it just me? Do people become uncomfortable when an arrival time, whether you are expecting or arriving, looms near? How do expectant mothers cope with the stress when their due date draws near? I feel like I would be the freak who, when told which date my imminent child is expected to be born, would look the doctor in the eye and ask “And what time of the day would that be?” I can imagine the is-she-for-real faces right now. Arrival, man, its a bitch.
A little bit of flash-fiction…
The hands rotate on an endless cycle, a circular bridal procession—stop, start, stop, start, stop, start; tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. She sits in a silent room, excepting the mindless thunk of the clock. Though she has finished the things she needed to get done, she doesn’t pick up a book or put on a CD, or even flick the TV on for a bit. She just sits, unsettled, with her elbows on her knees and her chin resting on her hands.
“He said seven. He said seven and now look at the time.”
Of course, her annoyance at the mere time of day and the lack of expected company is not really warranted; she was, after all, granted a little extra time. But the unexpected packs senselessness in its suitcase and brings the whole load along for the ride, so instead of kicking back on the couch for a few relaxing minutes, she taps her feet and paces paths in her Persian rug.
In the movies, this time would be used for comic relief, or for some tragic thing to happen, but instead she stares at a blank television screen debating whether it is worth considering saying no to their next date. Is it overkill? But he’s late.
A motor dies, a car door slams, the thud of footsteps become louder as keys jingle hanging from a finger. Then a knock—knuckles upon wood.
As she opens the door, he smiles sheepishly, “Sorry I am late … the traffic.”
I hope you have had a happy read! Until next time…