If I put the writing of this piece off any longer, I would be typing in front of you. On the plus side, my living room is entirely rearranged and very clean.
Also, I barely made it here on time. After leaving work and rushing to daycare and then transferring my 2.5 year old to the sitter-friend, despite my child’s pleas of “I don wan you to go pee-forming, mama, I wan you to stay hew wif me,” I went ahead and broke both our hearts and I left, and made it on time. Barely.
But this isn’t about “on time.”
Write Club does not concern itself with such average mediocrity and Good for You Maintaining the Bare Minimal Effort Required of You, Champ that is “On Time.” The drama lies in the extremes. The Early and the Late.
And frankly, I don’t want anything to do with the extreme that represents dead or unexpectedly pregnant.
I’m here to defend the honor of Early. In this, I am an unlikely candidate at best. Here’s the thing: I’ve always heard great things about Early. It’s something I’ve longed to be associated with for decades. I mean, who wouldn’t? Who wants to be the inconsiderate representative of mistakes that happen long after parties end because there’s a whole menu devoted to those mistakes at Taco Bell? No one. Well, no one and Bob Stockfish, I guess.
But unfortunately, Late is pretty much where I’ve been for most of my life. I’ve been late to work for 16 years. Getting up before the sun is foreign and strange and I don’t enjoy it one bit. I am constantly texting apologies and checking other people’s wristwatches on public transit, as though simply knowing the time is going to make it reverse in my favor.
I am, in short, that inconsiderate asshole you wait on. I am Late. And I am so sorry.
But. BUT. My heart, it’s in the right place. I swear to you. This is why I have always dreamed of being included among the elite ranks of the Early. To stand nobly in the I-Was-Here-First spot in line. The walk the hallowed halls of Jogging Happy People and the kind of blooming that means advanced reading and big boobs. Oh, it just sounds so NICE, you guys.
Imagine: a state of being so clean, so honorable, that it puts even beautiful, docile songbirds into competition for readily available worms. It allows the elderly a smaller bill just for having dinner at...noon. It puts a spring in the step of the downtrodden nine to fiver because the quittin time whistle blew a whole two hours before normal closing.
And this magical place isn’t just about convenience. Early saves lives when it’s in the form of detection. Your doctor can’t comfort you by saying “Good thing we caught it so late.” Early is so noble, so coveted, so impressive that even its negative connotations don’t get to hold its name.
I know it’s hard to even imagine a bad side to early. If you’re too late for something, it could be fatal. The bomb went off. The cancer has gone into your eyeballs and pores. Someone else got the job. Your sweetheart married someone else because you didn’t object. By the way, if that’s all that was stopping someone you love from marrying someone else, that person is terrible and you should reevaluate your choices.
If you’re too early, you’re...a minor inconvenience. I can’t possibly handle all this noise, all these questions, all these Pulitzer Prizes or multiple orgasms at this early hour. I need coffee.
For episodes worse than that due to early arrival, they aren’t even called early. Nope. Say you...were surprised with by the onset of a happy ending during your lovemaking. Two seconds in, let’s say. Is it early? No. It is called premature ejaculation, son, and early will have nothing to do with you. Don’t even try it. Here’s a towel.
And say that premature ejaculation lead to pregnancy, which you found out about because she was LATE...and then the baby came dangerously early, because it apparently takes after its FATHER. For this, we give the offspring the premature label, too. For early cannot be bothered with anything so complicated. Here’s another towel.
Can you imagine it? Being a part of something so...not late? Because I can’t. But GOD DO I WANT TO. I mean the early part. Not the premature part. I’ve had that before. I have the towels to prove it.
I want to live in Early. I do. I am too overinvolved and distracted to do it. As soon as my feet hit the floor, about an hour later than they should, I am strangely compelled to clean or cook something for my family or read ALL THE BOOKS WE OWN to our child. My intentions are good, but early is a beautiful place I just can’t seem to reach. And that seems unfair, doesn’t it? It’s like my wiring is unable to grasp this beauty like...a long torso or a c cup or a face that sits still when I talk. What is it even doing right now?
So here is what I propose: screw it. Let’s call it early from now on. Let’s all invite ourselves to that party, and we’ll show up when we please. No one will be shunned or scowled at for their belated entrances. If we say we’re early, we are. Just think: stroll into work tomorrow at 11am like you own the fucking place. Say something about "getting an early start." See if anyone argues.
Deny reality. It’s the only way something as amazing as Early is going to let us wrongly wired folks in. Sure, it might bring the property value down some, but let’s take what’s ours. Let’s be early whenever we want.