An apologia for my tardiness


You know why I am always late? It’s because I am always happy to be wherever I am, and I usually see no reason to go anywhere else.

In the morning, I don’t want to get out of bed. I like sleeping. I also like waking to the first dazzling ray of morning sunshine, as it dances into my bedroom window. I like basking in it while I’m wrapped in a warm quilt, enjoying the caresses of an affectionate cat.

When I force myself to leave the bed and take a hot shower, I am delighted to stand there as cascades of clear, cleansing water pelts me. I could spend hours scrubbing myself with a bracing terrycloth towel, replacing the scent of sleep with the perfume of pomegranate, or coconut, or even oatmeal, depending on the body wash that suits my fancy.

I could take days priming myself to leave the house: experimenting with hair and makeup, trying on different fashions, choosing the pair of shoes that looks and fits best at the moment, exploring my reflection in the mirror. Which aged relative do I resemble today, and what loving memories do I have of that person? There are days I almost need a Dumbledore to pry myself away from this font of remembrance.

And what could be better than lingering over breakfast? Shall I have a quick, life-giving American coffee, or splurge on my national libation, café con leche? Shall I have breakfast at home, or splurge on Dunkin Donuts, with their delicious coffee rolls? Each one is so enormous, and so easily consumed before it’s properly savored!

Once I’m on the road, the delights are many. Shall I play with the car’s temperature gauges until I am as cozy as a bean in a burrito, or shall I open all the windows and the sunroof, riding in wind like a Valkyrie? Shall I ride in introspective silence, or wrap myself in the kind of music that’s best enjoyed alone? For me, that is the music of the stage, whether it be Broadway, the opera, or an intimate cabaret. It’s music that must be sung, even if your voice has been gone for years, and it is music that must be savored from beginning to end. I can’t count the times I’ve sat in the car after reaching my destination, singing along to a masterpiece, refusing to leave until the last glorious note has resounded throughout my soul.

The places I visit during the day are almost always captivating, even when they’re not particularly pleasant. When I had a job, I hated feeling confined, but I was always intrigued by my work. I knew if I stayed with a task I could find a way to do it better, to make the product more enjoyable, more instructive, more innovative. As much as I hated going in every morning, I stayed around at the end of the day, consumed with the wish to encounter the muse once again.

As for other unpleasant places, I find charm in each one. Doctor’s and dentist’s offices are almost sybaritic; although pain may be involved, I love being in a place where learned professionals explore a complicated landscape:  the body I inhabit.

Supermarkets and malls are treasure-filled caverns; you could spend all day perusing shelves and displays without finding every tidbit you’d enjoy.

I’m even fascinated by horrible places like repair shops and government offices: what opportunities they offer for sociological study!

Of course, certain places are so delightful that the urge to linger is unquestionably justifiable: any dinner table graced by my husband’s conversation, any house that a friend calls home, any place where I can have a long, laugh-filled conversation with my children… any beach where waves lap against the sand… any mountain peak overlooking God’s creation.

No matter where I am, it’s where I want to be… and the charms of my next destination are never quite enough to urge me to rush away from the experience in which I’m immersed.

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