Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Proximity Paradox


par-a-dox /ˈperəˌdäks/: noun, something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible (www.merriam-webster.com)

I used to be early for everything. Sometimes I showed up awkwardly early. It was a habit I learned from my parents and I believe it is a good habit. We always lived "in the country" so we left the house early for anything "in town" in order to be on time (meaning early). When talking with a new friend, she came to the conclusion that she didn't have to give me a time cushion when meeting me because I would be there on time or, more likely, early. When I commuted anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour to work, I continued to arrive early. So when I took a job that was a mere 15 blocks from my house, one would assume that I would continue this lifelong habit. Except that I was caught in what I call the Proximity Paradox. My theory is this: the closer you live to where you work, the more likely you are to be late or, at least, not early.

This is how I am sucked into this paradoxical black hole: I'm ready for work and about to walk out, when I see one more thing I can do. It can be putting on another load of laundry or picking something up in the living room and taking it to another room. I think, "It won't take long to do this and it won't take long to get to work because it is just right over there." But the task always takes longer than I think it will and the drive always takes longer than I judged because I get caught behind a bus or car line or have to detour because they are working on the street still, and as a result, I'm squealing in on two wheels to clock in on time.

Thankfully, this doesn't happen every day but it has happened often enough that I noticed. I don't think it happens only to me but I wanted to put my theory out there so that I doesn't have to happen to other people. I have a relatively new coworker who is moving a few blocks closer to work than my house. I have warned her but she may just have to see for herself. I guess this is my warning to you so you won't be fooled, too.
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