By: Alissa Kotranza
Let me be completely and totally honest with you.
I have no idea where to start this.
Because for my entire life, I’ve been late to things.
Basically, I’ve been late to my life.
There were periods when I would try really hard to be on time to things, so much so that I would end up getting there early.
There really is no “on time” for me.
I can be anywhere from five minutes to two hours late. If not, I’m 20 minutes early.
I delegate being early to the things that mean the most to me – and the things that have the worst penalization for lateness. Hey, you gotta have a life plan.
So, that leaves me being ear- I mean, “on time” – to any singing/performance rehearsal or show, school events that I’m excited about, and events with significant others/best friends.
During my freshman year at UF, I would start getting ready – for a date, rehearsal, or going out – an hour and a half before I had to leave for said event. And it worked!
I got to most rehearsals 10-20 minutes early. I got to shows and gigs early, usually, too.
Except that one time… but to understand that, you have to know what happens when I’m stressed out about being late.
When I get stressed about being late for something, not only do I start moving more quickly, but I also screw up everything. I completely forget the normal order of business.
I’ll put on a shirt, realize I never put deodorant on, and then proceed to shove my entire arm back down the sleeve to reach my armpit. This is not just inefficient, it’s also stupid.
So what do I do as I realize I have white smears on my sleeve-holes? Grab the nearest water-absorbing vehicle and start scrubbing at the stain. I know that a tissue will make this situation 100 times worse. So why didn’t I grab a towel? Now there are flakes of tissue all over the stain and wiping it away is basically impossible.
Now sufficiently frustrated, I direct my attention to something else. Meaning, I immediately notice everything that’s out of place in my general area.
Oh, that paper towel roll needs to be replaced!
Ick – the sink is disgustingly dirty.
Oh wow, was that pimple on my cheek there a minute ago? Why is it so visible!?
I go nuts.
I slowly morph into the Tasmanian Devil, trying to simultaneously accomplish the things I actually need to do to leave the house, in addition to four unnecessary chores.
A narrative of this nonsense would go something like this:
Grab a new paper towel roll; thrust it towards the paper towel holder, hoping that it lands on the right part. Unbalance the holder with bad aim; it falls on foot.
Curse really loudly in pain. Pick it up, shove the new paper towel roll on it. Spend six extra seconds steadying it on the ledge because now you’re shaking.
Lunge for toothpaste; knock over five other toiletries in the process. Try to catch them all at once, losing the toothpaste tube, which falls behind the toilet. Grab the tube; rinse it off while cursing the pesky existence of dust.
When I finally get the toothpaste on the toothbrush, I start brushing so quickly that I end up jamming the toothbrush into my gum. More pain, more cursing – this time with mint!
Anyway, this is an average morning. Back to the story of the show.
This show was somewhere on campus I’d never been before (duh, freshman). I start doing my makeup an hour ahead of time, but get distracted somewhere and forget I still had to do my hair.
I reach for the curling iron and get a bunch of pieces done before realizing I need at least 20 more minutes to finish this and keep my fingerprints.
Ignoring the fact that I’m starting to sweat, I pin back some hair and grab my shoes. Good enough. I don’t even know where I’m going yet!
I swipe some powder onto my now-moist forehead and cheeks, chucking the brush and pallet in my makeup bag and deciding against lipstick of any kind.
I. Have. To. Leave.
This has been a constant mantra of life.
You have to leave.
You have to leave now.
We will now encounter another symptom of mine that happens when I realize that I’m going to be late.
Not only does Perfectionist Alissa dominate my brain while Tasmanian Devil takes over my bodily movements, but Fashionista Alissa zeroes in on my apparel.
As my impending lateness echoes over me like a death knell, Fashionista points a perfectly polished (and accusing) finger toward the mid-section of my dress. How fitting.
Oh, crap, I need a belt!
I grab a skinny belt in an appropriately contrasting color and pull it tight, but there’s no hole far enough up to fit around my waist.
I frantically find the only scissors I know that are heavy-duty enough to cut through leather. From my perspective, I don’t have time to take the belt off, so I shove the tip of one of the scissor edges through the belt.
During that misguided endeavor, I slice my thumb open and start bleeding profusely.
I try to Band-Aid the wound, but it’s useless.
Thinking I have no choice, I leave my dorm like that.
Ignoring the blood-soaked paper towel scrunched in my hand is only so easy on my way there, but I do manage to text other group members my ETA with my non-dominant thumb.
Having finally reached the alumni building, where the gig was being held, I sigh with relief and joy.
Just kidding – I’m drenched in sweat and bleeding freely.
Everyone in my a cappella group stares at me with mixed expressions of concern and disgust, asking what could possibly have happened.
I tell them everything I just told you.