In our family, being on time and keeping promises are taken for granted.
When I step off a plane in Regina, if my brother said he’d meet my flight, I can depend on him being there, waiting for me to arrive. The same reliability exists down through the generations. My granddaughters are equally punctual and dependable.
So showing up an hour late for a haircut appointment last week was a first for me.
In turn, my hairdresser knows I and the rest of her customers also keep appointments, aware her income depends on us being there when she holds time for us.
Both she and I said, “It could me by fault.” She worried she might have written the incorrect time on the appointment card she had given me after my last haircut.
I in turn wondered aloud if I had written the incorrect time on my wall calendar, despite holding her appointment card when I wrote it.
Through years as her customer, we had never resorted to appointment cards. Both my dentist and my eye doctor always hand me an appointment card mainly because the next appointment is at least six months in the future.
And a few days before the appointment, they either phone to remind me, or mail me a reminder postcard. Both of which I appreciate.
On a rare occasion, the reminder has saved the day after I somehow failed to make a note of the date on my wall calendar.
But at the time of my previous haircut, she was planning to go on holidays for several weeks.
To make sure I was in the queue for a trim shortly after her return, we agreed on a return date before I left her shop. The card was intended to help me remember another future commitment.
Friday morning she had been expecting me at 10:00. When I walked in at 11:00, she had been watching for me, especially since I’d never been late.
At 11:00, she was instead waiting for a young man named Paul to arrive. But due to her long holiday absence, and juggling of appointments by others of his family, she was uncertain whether he would arrive.
Together we watched traffic going by as we waited seven minutes. I was thinking, “If I don’t get a haircut today, it could be weeks before she can fit me in again. By then I might need barrettes or pony tail clips.”
Luckily for me, Paul failed to show. She gave me my haircut.
Once home, I checked my wall calendar, only to discover when I wrote the 10 my ballpoint had skipped lightly on the left side of the digit; at a glance it was easy to misread the zero as a one, hence my belief I had a date with her at 11:00.
I immediately phoned my hairdresser and explained where my confusion lay, totally absolving her of my tardy arrival.
On my next trip to town, I bought a package of five black Bic Sharpies and planted them around the house.
These give an extra black solid line legible at some distance.
I’ve begun re-writing my telephone directory of most frequently called numbers, using the Sharpie instead of a fine line ballpoint, for easier, more accurate reading even without glasses.
And while I was in the store, I bought a solar powered calculator with extra large keys to replace the ordinary Texas Instrument I had been using since August 1997.
The older one had begun to give me incorrect totals when I reconciled my bank statements. Not big discrepancies, mind you, but 58 cents when the correct total should be 21 cents is unhelpful when bookkeeping.
Claudette Sandecki is keeping a close eye on the time from her Thornhill home.