We all know one. Maybe she's your friend. Maybe your relative. Maybe it's even your spouse. A Time Waster. Someone who, for some unknown reason, seems incapable of managing their time, which then makes if difficult for you to manage your own.
First up, the Late Comer. I am not talking about someone who is occasionally late, we are all guilty of that. I am talking about the person who tells you they will meet you at the movie at 7:30 then arrives at 8:15 for a movie that starts at 8. Meanwhile you are pacing the lobby, seeing everyone else file happily into the theatre for the movie you have been waiting to see for weeks, knowing that by the time you get into the room there won't be any good seats left and you will end up with a crick in your neck from staring up at the screen from a distance of about 6 feet, because you were silly enough to agree to let them buy the tickets ahead of time to avoid the box office line.
My boss is an Under Estimator of Time Required. I recognized the signs immediately upon going to work for her....I grew up with the Queen of Under Estimating. It's irrelevant that the actual drive time from one city to another is about 15 minutes, 10 if traffic is light. What matters is time involved. To the 15 minutes of drive time, you have to add at least 5 minutes to get yourself and all of your stuff out to the car, another couple of minutes for running back in for that file you forgot, then at least 5 minutes for that one last phone call before you buckle up, and another 10 minutes because you forgot you were almost out of gas. Assuming there is no traffic, that 15 minutes you think is sufficient suddenly mushrooms into 30 minutes. My mom is fond of saying she is only 10 minutes from the Mall. I am fond of reminding her that she can't get herself out the door and into the car in 10 minutes.
Then there is the Dawdler. Years ago I was the assistant manager for a large bookstore in our local mall. We closed at 9pm every week night, after which upper management allowed us 30 minutes to count the cash, tally the receipts, reconcile the checks and credit card slips, make out the deposit for the morning, straighten up the cash wrap area, vacuum the floor and do a dozen other housekeeping tasks they frowned on us doing while customers were in the store, then lock up and be out of the store by 9:30. At 8:30 I would begin going thru the store, checking on the stragglers, reminding them that we close in 30 minutes. At 8:45, I would lower the gate across the entrance to half way, make another walk thru and announce the remaining time. Another walk thru at 8:50, then again at 8:55. Occasionally there would be one or two people who really pushed the time limit, but usually they were apologetic as I gently herded them toward the front of the store. But one evening, as I made my sweep, two well dressed women lingered over the magazine section, deciding between a couple of choices. They ignored repeated warnings of lapsed time, not even budging when at 9:00 I lowered the front gate to the floor and told them I needed to shut down the computer. They were indignant when I tried to hurry them along...they were, after all, Paying Customers. Finally I told them that the computer was shutting itself down in 3 minutes and they would have to return the next day. Champion Dawdlers, both of them.
Last week I observed a Time Waster who defied labels. I was scheduled for a haircut at 2pm. I arrived at 5 minutes till, took a seat and grabbed a magazine while the stylist called out a greeting to me and then turned to put the finishing touches on the hair of the woman occupying the chair. I was busy catching up on the life and times of Jennifer Anniston as interpreted by the paparazzi, when I glanced up and noted that it was now 2:15 and the stylist and her customer were involved in a weird dance. The steps involved the stylist making a minuscule snip from one side or the other, after which she would offer up a handheld mirror for the customer to check the 'do. Then she waited and waited and waited...while the woman, who was texting madly on her smartphone, finished the current text, took the mirror, examined the results, then shook her head. While I watched, they repeated this snip/text/look routine 6 or 7 times before the woman nodded, finally satisfied, then proceeded to remain in the seat for a few more texting rounds, while the stylist swept up her cut hair, straightened the station, sent me apologetic looks, and generally hovered miserably, clearly torn between trying not to offend either her current client or her next one.
Now that I think about it, that woman in the salon? She wasn't really a Time Waster...she was just rude.