Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Just ... Don't ... Be ... Late

Napa Valley, California, USA

March 11, 2018

"People who are at the effect of time, people who can't create time, people who can't manage time, people who can't move time around, people who can't handle time, people who are overwhelmed by time, have no mastery and no basis for mastery. The basis for mastery in the world is being able to handle time."
This essay, Just ... Don't ... Be ... Late, is the seventh in the septology Time:
  1. Time On My Hands
  2. I'm Playing So Hard I've Got No Time To Be Busy
  3. Enough Time
  4. Moving Time Around
  5. One Day One Life: A Reflection On Time
  6. Maybe Time Isn't Linear
  7. Just ... Don't ... Be ... Late
in that order.

It is also the nineteenth in an open group on People: I am indebted to Charles Walker who inspired this conversation.

He's tall. Not just six-foot tall ie not merely in that  range. No, he's basketball-professional  tall. That's  how tall he is. His limbs are long and gangly, yet muscular (I can tell he takes good care of himself). Whenever he sits down in an armchair, he has to carefully fold up his arms and legs to fit. Watching him arrange his body that way, reminds me of a human praying mantis. And when he speaks, his face lights up, then re-lights up in a dazzling smile showing enormous pearly whites  with every syllable he utters. Replete in a tasteful yet downplayed sports jacket and slacks ensemble, he's an extraordinary figure to behold - not to mention extraordinary period.

The Persistence Of Memory ("Melting Clocks")
Salvador Dali
I explain to him "If I say I'll be somewhere at a certain time, I'm always late. So if I'm targeting being there at 2:15pm, I'll say I'll be there at 2:30pm. That way even if I'm late, I'm on time or even early. In other words, instead of creating high time expectations and then failing to meet them, I'd rather create low time expectations, then exceed them.".

"Oh no no no"  he says smiling, "that's total b*llsh*t" (the dazzling  smile) "... just ... don't  ... be  ... late  ..." he says, extending his extraordinarily long right arm towards me, karate-chopping  the air as he speaks, emphasizing each word "don't" ... "be" ... "late".

And I get it. Man! I get it immediately. I get it so fast that I can't believe I got it. I mean I've got so many reasons  why I'm always late - which is what he and I are talking about. But he doesn't challenge me with better  reasons or counter-reasons for being on time instead. No, he cuts through  all of it by being in such a way that reveals my always being late, as a racket  I run. Immediately I get that if I drop the racket, I can be on time. I don't need a course in time management. I don't need a reason or a "How to be on time"  lesson. No, this is not to be gotten in that way. Instead it's an instantaneous  "get". Wow!

So why such a dramatic impact, so quickly, so easily? I've looked at that. My first answer is authentic: it's "I don't know why.". Being with him the way he's being, I experience being in a racket-free zone. Without the racket "being late", I can be on time? I don't know why.

My second answer is that being late, may really just be a matter of holding back  ie of not participating fully in life. But I've discarded my second answer as it needs some explanation  which not only do I not require, but which actually procrastinates more by getting in the way. My first answer, on the other hand, just plain works.

The basketball professional / human praying mantis smiles, dazzling me with his total compassion. The breakthrough is complete, beyond time. Now I can be on time.

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