Thursday, February 23, 2006

Standing Back

“Why are you always the last one out of the building?”

I asked this question of my father. He worked at a small machine shop that manufactured unusual specialty items that were never mass produced. About sixty employees worked at the shop. He walked to work and, after I began driving, I would occasionally pick him up after work.

Generally, as I entered the building, I would see a line of people waiting at the time clock and the employees would begin punching time cards and rushing – some actually running -- across the parking lot as soon as the buzzer sounded.

He was always last and when I posed the question he said that when the five minute buzzer sounded at 4:25 pm he continued working until 4:30. Why?

“By working five extra minutes:
  • I don’t get jostled at the sinks washing grease, oil and dirt from my hands.
  • I don’t have to wait in line at the time clock.
  • I don’t risk getting run over in the parking lot.
  • I insure my employer gets a full day’s work
  • I experience less stress.”
I was seventeen or eighteen when this happened and the experience colored my life

When going somewhere (work, appointments, etc) I try to leave a few minutes early and take a book. If I get held up or arrive early then I have something to read. At airports I stand back and wait until others get their luggage at baggage claim. I use the time to watch families and old friends greet one another.

When driving I try to go with the flow. I’ve done the math and, on a twenty mile trip, the difference between doing the speed limit of 55 and speeding at 65 is three and one-third minutes. Three minutes hardly makes it worth speeding, risking a ticket, and taking risks passing on two-lane roads. I find it much more enjoyable to leave a few minutes early.

I’ve learned to stand back and enjoy life. That was a good gift from my father.

5 Comments:

Blogger The Michael said...

Think he'd mind adopting one more?

2/23/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I find that the journey is what's important.

2/24/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Buffalo said...

Indeed, it was a precious gift.

2/24/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gaye said...

Speeding around makes me nervous. I'd much rather arrive early and observe people. Standing back is a gift in patience--something everyone could use...

2/26/2006 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger Smarts said...

Kind of makes the rest of us look like morons...running around as chickens, minus the head!

:)

2/26/2006 12:53:00 PM  

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