Better Late Than Never

I am going to tell you two things in this post: one I am proud of and the other I am not, glory and dishonor.

This is a cajun oyster casserole. I added the "cajun" to the recipe. It was wonderful. And I made it. I have been second-guessing and third-guessing my cooking since I got married. This was a big victory for me. This recipe was passed down from my fabulous great grandmother, who used to make this stuff in Central America. I would have made her proud. To me, the epitome of glory is this picture. It doesn't look earth-shattering but it is. Trust me--there was a tiny portion of leftovers. And they were bid on like an auction when we were cleaning up.

I made this for a Christmas Eve family gathering at my aunt-in-law's house. She lives about 45 minutes away, and this casserole and my perfectionism made us notoriously late for the party. A cousin said, "Y'all would be late for your own funeral." He was right, and after a few events like this (one of these was my own stinking party), I realized something.


I am about to reveal something about myself to everybody who happens to read this. It's a flaw--it's making me feel a little vulnerable right now so I'm just going to get it over with: I am one of those chronically late people. I seem to be forever tardy, no matter how much extra time I give myself. It's the something I'm not proud of. I seem not to care what I'm going to: a wedding, an appointment, church, party, job interview, Christmas Eve family gathering, almost everything.

I know it doesn't speak highly of me. If you are reading this and have ever waited on me, I know you are sitting there nodding and shaking your head at the same time, remembering a time that I drove or ran like an insane person, swooped in or out breathlessly, felt really bad, apologized way too much, looked frantically for my lipstick or whatever I didn't have time to put on, thought everyone there hated me, and then acted scatter-brained and discombobulated for the whole event--whatever it was. Sometimes I manage to feel relaxed after a while, but that is rare and is usually done by the grace of the other people around me.

I go through phases when I get better about being on time. I think I had a little one a couple of months ago. But I think I owe it to the fact that I had no idea how long it would take me to get to places so I would give myself so much extra time, I could read a whole Vogue issue in the doctor's office. Being in the country, you've got to plan ahead.

Every little thing you do needs thought, preparation, research (where is it and what time does it start, do I have the address, is my GPS going to take me to an abandoned warehouse, do I know the general location of its neighborhood, and if not, where is my cell phone so I can call someone who knows, why can I never find my cell phone), skill, some good songs on some good XM stations, maybe make a CD real fast in case there aren't any, water and some kind of easy but healthy snack food with plenty of protein in it, a trash bag for the snack food, book and laptop in case there is ever any extra time for that (2 time passers? yeah right--hilarious), and don't forget your phone, of course.

So living out here is awesome, but really challenging for my chronically late self. And it's been around for a while. I don't where this bad flaw came from. I've got flaws all over the place, but this is one of the ones I'm most ashamed of. I wear it like a scarlet letter even hours after my tardiness. Sometimes I think it came from the expression "fashionably late." I will gobble up a positive connotation of a word that means you get to be as slow as Christmas and take your candy sweet time.

Or maybe it's the thrill of the drama--making it on time despite everything. But then you don't get there on time. There are no cheers or trophy for your record-making travels--all the many obstacles/roadkill you hurdled, innocent by-drivers you yelled at ferociously and then mouthed apologies to in the next second, speed limits broken, husband given the attitude--to get there right when the clock strikes. You and the group you made late are hustling in disgrace and indignity, as the crowd watches y'all walk down the aisle right in front of the bride. Your face is burning red with utter shame.

I've read that tardiness is a subconscious form of disrespect, a direct way of saying "I value my time more than yours, and I hereby decree that I am late because I am selfish and think that you don't deserve my punctuality. Take that." That's basically what the article says. I think that's somebody reading a little much into things and making millions of readers feel like bad people. But on the off-chance that the author behind that thinking is right, and I am maliciously causing the suffering of delay subconsciously, I  have decided to change my evil ways.

Now I don't make New Years resolutions. Why? Because if it's a New Years thing, it doesn't have a chance with me. I won't take it seriously. It will probably last until January 17th at the most. To make change, I have to really want it for myself. There has to be a change in my will, a desire to grow up and act like a woman. I don't think I'm a girl anymore. But when I'm late, I feel like one. And not in the good way, where you feel bubbly, giggly and flirty inside. Being late isn't fashionable to me anymore. I am really late on making this decision.

So whatever your resolution, make it something you really want for yourself, and for the people around you who would have to put up with it if you didn't make the change.

Have a good night, and I hope you had a magnificent Christmas!

Liza Jane
Liza JonesComment