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I went to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Tuesday evening to renew my auto registration. After waiting my turn for quite a while, I scanned the walls to see what time it was. There was no clock in sight. A very kind gentleman across from me deduced the reason for my contortions and volunteered, “It’s 6:55.”
When I was a kid, there were clocks everywhere. Every gas station had one in the window for the convenience of both customers and passers-by. Every drug store had one over the soda fountain, emblazoned with the slogan “It’s time for Coca-Cola!” Every schoolroom had one, appropriately placed right next to the door.
Nowadays, clocks are scarce in public places. Sitting in the BMV waiting area, I wondered why. Is it because everyone wears wristwatches now? No, people wore them back then too (we kids even had Mickey Mouse and Cinderella watches). Is it because people used to be more obsessed with time? On first thought, the opposite seems to be true – people are in more of a hurry now than ever. But on second thought, who needs clocks if they’re still going to be in a hurry, no matter what time it is?
I seem to have been blessed with an anti-hurry gene. My father had it, much to my mother’s consternation. My brothers and I all inherited it. My cousin (on my father’s side) has it as well, and our husbands commiserate with each other.
Of course, my bosses weren’t any fonder of Dabbler Standard Time than Mom and Hubby are. They would encourage me to develop a “sense of urgency,” and I used to try. Oh, how I would try. But whenever I tried to rush, I would make such a botch of things that my project ended up taking twice as long. I finally learned to assure my frantic boss that I was rushing at full tilt, but then ignore him and take my sweet time. That way, the boss was happy, and I usually got done on schedule.
When I read Dr. D’Adamo’s books, I found out that difficulty dealing with stress is a standard-issue Blood Type A characteristic. Because we tend to have chronically-elevated levels of a stress hormone called cortisol (which I think of as a sort of time-release adrenaline), we can’t just tackle stress head-on the way O’s can, because that would elevate our cortisol levels even further and turn us into blithering idiots. At least, that’s the effect it has on me.
So now I finally understand why I had to deal with my bosses the way I did. Because of my anti-hurry gene, deadlines are a major stress for me. Because of my blood type, forcing myself to hurry anyway is counter-productive. Therefore, as I learned by trial-and-error, the best way for me to deal with a deadline is to ignore it and just do my job.
At least now I know that it isn’t “just me.”