On February 5, 2020

The Movie Diary: Dolittle

Better late than never?

by Dom Cioffi

I am confident that at some point in my young life, something happened to me that made me pointedly adverse to being late. I can’t tell you the exact moment or scenario, but I know it happened.

I know this because I live my life in such a way that I am never tardy. A few years ago, I overheard the phrase, “On time is late and early is on time.” I had never heard it put that way, but I instantly acknowledged that it was my personal mantra.

Again, I’m not sure how I developed this approach, but I’ve always worked backwards to gauge my arrivals. For instance, if I have a dentist appointment at 4 p.m. but I have to pick up dry cleaning before I get there, I’ll determine the driving time from the dry cleaners to the dentist, insert an acceptable waiting time to retrieve the clothes, and then map out how long it will take me to get from my office to the dry cleaners. I even account for traffic delays given the time of day.

This approach has been very effective in keeping me punctual throughout the years.

Ironically, I live with someone who is the exact opposite. My wife is habitually late. She’s so apt to be late that years ago I began lying to her about arrival times just to keep her on track. The problem is that she caught on to me and now factors in my buffer as an excuse to take more time.

It’s not that she wants to be late or doesn’t care about the people she may be scheduled to meet with, it’s that she lives under the impression that she can get anywhere in 10 minutes. It doesn’t matter if her intended location is 40 miles away; she thinks she can get there in 10 minutes.

I cringe when I hear her on the phone making tennis plans. Inevitably, she’ll tell the person she’s talking to that she’ll be there in 10 minutes, knowing full well that it takes 20 minutes to reach the location and she’s still in her bathrobe.

We finally reached a place in our lives where I find it easier to drive separately rather than to stress about her making me late.

Of course, airline flights are when things really get messy. I prefer to get to the airport early so I can grab something to eat and casually walk to my gate. If the security line is long, it’s not a problem, because I factored that into my travel plans.

My wife, on the other hand, thinks she’s smartest person in the world if she walks up to the gate just as they’re boarding the flight. Sure, that sounds like it was well mapped out, but she’s missed a number of flights and I’ve never missed one.

Over the years, I’ve tried to indoctrinate my son into my style of thinking, but he’s never bit. I have to remind him about everything on his schedule. I could tell him 10 times that we have to leave at noon for a game and when noon rolls around, he’s inevitably caught off guard.

I’ve threatened to leave him behind on several occasions and have even gone so far as to pull out of the driveway and drive around the block just to teach him a lesson. Luckily for him, I’ve never followed through… until recently.

I picked him up at the bus the other day and as he climbed inside my truck, he winced as he pulled his leg in. I inquired into what the problem was, and he said his knee was swollen after being hit during recess.

I checked it out when we got home and sure enough, it was fat and puffy and definitely causing him some discomfort. I knew then that he would not be able to run at practice that night, but told him he still had to go (he was certainly capable of shooting free throws and helping with drills).

When 6:15 p.m. rolled around (the exact time we leave every week), I climbed into my truck and prepared to leave. He then walked out the door and stood next to my window. I rolled it down and asked him what the holdup was. He told me that he still had to change and wondered where his sneakers were.

I then calmly rolled the window back, put the truck in reverse, backed out of the driveway, and left for practice. I could see him in my rearview mirror standing awestruck as I pulled away.

I’ll admit that if he wasn’t injured, I probably wouldn’t have done it, but it was the prefect scenario to make a point about being late. I’d love to believe that this would change his approach in the future, but at 15 years old, I’m guessing he was happy to have the night off.

I wish I had taken the night off from seeing this week’s feature, “Dolittle,” starring Robert Downey Jr.

While this film was a CGI winner with its bevy of talking animal characters, without a decent script, it did little to engage anyone in the audience over 12 years old.

Check this one out if you’ve got youngsters in tow, just remember to bring a book to keep you entertained.

A tardy “D+” for “Dollittle.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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