Tuesday, October 03, 2017

One of my quirks

We all have our little quirks. Here’s one of mine:

I hate to keep people waiting.

I am almost always on time. I’d much rather be early than late. And yes, today people are rarely bored. If they have to wait at a restaurant they have their phones to amuse them. But I don’t care. The fact that I’M keeping them waiting drives me crazy.

I’m one of those crazy people that will text saying I’m running two minutes behind.

But it extends beyond that. When I get on a plane I can’t throw my bag in the overhead compartment and take my seat fast enough. Knowing I’m holding up thirty people while I adjust my carry-on makes my heart palpitate.  Turbulence I can handle.  A line of people in the aisle I can't.

Additionally, if I have to make a left turn, I can’t stand that I’m holding up four cars while waiting for the daylight to make the turn. I have been known to drive out of my way, make a bunch of right turns to avoid inconveniencing four strangers behind me.

When I’m at a checkout stand, I don’t take five minutes to count my change, rearrange the credit cards in my wallet, etc. I get my shit and move on.

If I’m at a fast-foods place I don’t wait until I get to the counter to look at the menu and decide what I want. And when there’s a long line at the bank I don’t ask the teller to show me the new designs they have available for checks.

When the light is green I GO. When I’m in TSA lines I take my computer out before I get to the conveyor belt. And I have my ID and boarding pass ready.   I root around my pocket for change before I get to the tollbooth with seventeen cars behind me. 

I don’t know whether it’s common courtesy, or an unhealthy obsession. But I do know this: I wish more people had it.


Pete Grossman said...

I don't know what it is either. It can go beyond consideration. Nice to hear someone else has this mishigos.

Jim S said...

When Paul Newman died, Bruce Willis told a story about working with the actor in the movie "Nobody's Fool." That film came out in the early 1990s, and Newman was a storied veteran and Willis was just off "Pulp Fiction."

Willis said he was goofing around and got to the set a little bit late. Newman, among others, was waiting for him. Newman took Willis aside and said that he likes to work on a professional set, and that punctuality is the courtesy of kings. By being on time, stars show their fellow craftsmen that they take the craftsmen and their skills seriously.

Willis said Newman wasn't a jerk about it and he will always remember that piece of advice.

You're not quirky, Ken, you're a polite king.

Howard Carter said...

Ken...this is me too! And it sometimes drives my wife crazy.

Shaun S said...

I worked in retail and I found that women were the worst offenders, they wait until you tell them the price then start rummaging through their handbag for their purse and then when you give them their change they will stand there putting everything back in their handbag holding up the queue. It amazes me that they can't take a single step to the side and then put everything back in their handbag which would allow me to serve the next customer.

Unknown said...

I'm with you Ken. My wife hates me for it. The best example is how I made my wife and 2 sons "rehearse" going through airport security lines the night before a family trip. Carry on bags were packed with toiletries bag in front outside pocket. Yes a 14 year old and 11 year old had a toiletries bag - they were filled with my wife's products.

You unzip that front pocket while in line after getting your ID checked. You kick off your shoes while in line then too. We practiced using the kitchen table as the conveyer belt. Nothing was to be put into their pants pockets. Ticket went in unzipped pocket on bag for scanning.

We practiced how you stand if you are picked for a body scan. My wife said there was no way they would scan kids. I joked she was right, they usually only pick the pretty women so they can see the full body xray.

The next day went flawless. The four of us were like one polished million mile, frequent flyer with how we navigated security. Until they picked my wife for the full body scan. My wife could not stop smiling while she stood in the scan booth with her arms above her head. She was a pretty one...

Time is valuable said...

Know that you are not alone. I am EXACTLY the same way. Being late is quite stressful. At the store, I will help bag groceries to keep things moving too. A current pet peeve is when there is a long line of cars in the left-turn lane and a green arrow that may or may not be long enough for everyone to get through. I will be ready for the green and follow the car ahead as closely as possible. When I'm at the end of the line and see somebody with a big gap in front of them, I will silently curse them as the light turns red for me.

Dave Creek said...

I'm the same way, Ken. And when my wife and I have several places to be at certain times, I'm always factoring in travel time and insisting we have to leave RIGHT NOW. Knowing some of the jargon from my TV news days, she always tells me, "Quit backtiming!"

Jeff Alexander said...

Well, this confirms it to me.
You obviously are from the Planet Twilo, blessed with perfect 20-20-20-20 vision!
You apparently are aware that when you are at a traffic signal or even signaling to turn left, that there are cars behind you as well as in front of you!
Kudos to you, Mr. Levine! Wish more people had eyes in the back of their head like you do!
For the most part, I call it "common courtesy," being aware of the world around you!

Marty McKee said...

Oh man, this is me. Thanks, Ken, for letting me know I'm not alone. I do everything you just mentioned.

John said...

I'm the same way ...except the left turn part -- that's kind of strange.

Unknown said...

I'm exactly the same way!! But then I also get annoyed too easily by the people that make ME wait for them.

Dave said...


Zack Bennett said...

I'm beginning to think you're my real dad.

Jim Grey said...

Solidarity brother.

Roderick Allmanson said...

I'm the exact same way! Keep fighting the good fight

Ben Scripps said...

It's not a "common courtesy" it's an "uncommon courtesy".

I'm with you, Ken--I try my damnedest to never stay in the way of people when I'm done doing something. Prime example: the drive-up ATM at the bank. When I get my cash, I count it quickly to make sure it's the correct amount, make sure the machine has ended the transaction, then I pull forward, out of the way, cash literally in hand so that the next person can use the machine *while* I put my money in my wallet. Invariably, this comes after the person I had to wait for finished their transaction, then put their money in their wallet, then put their wallet back in their pocket, then put their seat belt back on, then rolled up the window, then checked their mirrors, then revved the engine before remembering they'd put it in park, then finally drive away.

It's just polite--think about how your actions affect other people, and the world becomes a better place.

Starts With Story said...

Quite a few people that I work with were trained to follow "if you aren't a half hour early, you are late". A good policy.
I notice more drivers trying to help the problem, especially early in the morning - they just run the red lights. No waiting.

1955david said...

Correct. On all accounts.

Glenn said...

Good to know I'm not the only one, Ken. I used to go to Red Sox games with friends of mine but had to stop because they were always late picking me up and we'd miss the first few innings. I paid for the ticket, I want to see the whole game!

Unknown said...

...and when you're walking across a street in a crosswalk and a car is waiting to make a right turn but for you getting to the sidewalk, does your walk turn into a light jog like mine does so you don't delay the driver? Your post today could have been written by me. We indeed are a minority. Lots of selfish people out there.

VP81955 said...

I'm like that, too. In the days before TAP cards and such, I invariably had my change on hand for the bus, especially if I knew I was going to make a transfer, and expected (or at least hoped) fellow passengers would do likewise. It drove me nuts when people didn't have things organized, and I'd miss a transfer because of it. (Perhaps I was somewhat like John Cleese's character in his overlooked comedic gem "Clockwise.")

blinky said...

That reminds me of an old Dr Katz bit. One of his patients is ranting about making plans to meet someone for a movie. "Its a date, not just one of many possible things you may do.

Roger Owen Green said...

1, 3, 5-7 are me as well.

Ron Rettig said...

Yes, it is called common courtesy not to unnecessarily delay others. It is also common courtesy to use the turn signal on your car to give other drivers notice of what you are about to do in traffic.

Private Joker said...

" When I’m in TSA lines I take my computer out before I get to the conveyor belt. And I have my ID and boarding pass ready."

So you have not signed up for "TSA-Pre" ???

Its worth the $85 and fingerprinting. Dedicated shorter line, no more taking out the computer, see-thru bag with shampoo and shaving cream or taking off your shoes.


Jason Roberts said...

Jim S said: "Jim S said...
When Paul Newman died, Bruce Willis told a story about working with the actor in the movie "Nobody's Fool." That film came out in the early 1990s, and Newman was a storied veteran and Willis was just off "Pulp Fiction."
Willis said he was goofing around and got to the set a little bit late. Newman, among others, was waiting for him. Newman took Willis aside and said that he likes to work on a professional set, and that punctuality is the courtesy of kings. By being on time, stars show their fellow craftsmen that they take the craftsmen and their skills seriously.
Willis said Newman wasn't a jerk about it and he will always remember that piece of advice.
You're not quirky, Ken, you're a polite king.
10/03/2017 6:15 AM"

It's too bad then that Bruce Willis never took that to heart. Having worked with him a few times (even as recently as last year). I can promise you he is still always late and doesn't care about any other actor or director let alone craftsman. His courtesy towards is fellow workers is more court jester than kingly.

Mike Schryver said...

I'm the same way. I'm convinced now that the vast majority of people give exactly zero thought to what they're doing and how it might affect other people.
Ron Rettig mentioned turn signals - that's an example of people who literally won't lift a finger to help someone else.

Pamela Jaye said...

I apologize to people behind me in the grocery store if there's a problem with one of my items and someone has to go check on it.

Later on when I grew up I discovered that if somebody was coming to pick up my mother, she'd be ready, dressed, and waiting outside an hour and a half before they were due to show up. Now that's just overkill.

You don't happen to be one of those people who thinks that everything that might possibly go wrong and then tries to plan to mitigate it, are you? Because I have that one, too.

By the way I haven't read your blog and ages although I keep seeing it pop up in my Facebook feed and thinking "that looks like an interesting post!" Unfortunately I tend to see it when there are a lot of other statuses and I just want to read statuses. I figured this out yesterday when my brother posted an article that looked really interesting but I didn't read it because I hadn't finished reading statuses yet. (Not that you can ever "finish" reading statuses although the people who copy and paste and wants you to copy and paste do make it a whole lot easier to think, "well, guess I've run out of statuses." (I think I'm going to go and post that part in my status. In the meantime, I should probably follow you on Twitter because I never stay there more than five minutes before I end up reading somebody's article about something forget to come back)

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

I'll add an extra grievance. When I'm driving, my phone sits in my pocket. Even if it rumbles, I am not going to pick it up. Not until I arrive at my destination. I can't afford such a distraction.

There are people WAY too distracted on their phones to realize the traffic light is green. They're supposed to be paying attention to traffic, not their freaking messages! That sin alone can really hold up traffic in a major lane.

Barry Traylor said...

You are a man after my own heart as I am the same way. I HATE to be late because it seems rude to me.

John in NE Ohio said...

I agree, and I am very annoyed when others don't do it.

And I'll add another annoyance.

If you are in the drive-thru line, KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. If you don't, go inside.
If you are in the drive-thru line, NO SPECIAL ORDERS. If you need it, go inside.

I am going to fast food because I want it fast. If I wanted good food, I would have gone elsewhere. I don't want to wait on me, or make you wait on me. I don't want to wait on you.

Eric J said...

With all these considerate people doing exactly what Ken does, who the HELL is holding up all the lines I get in?

powers said...

Ken,I also used to immediately go when the light turns green.
Then a came across an article years ago in the Reader's Digest entitled "The 3 Mistakes That Good Drivers Make."

The writer wrote that if you immediately drive when the light turns green you could get slammed by another vehicle running a red light.That has happened to friends of mine.
Do a 304 count & then proceed on trough the light.Might save your life.

Cap'n Bob said...

Inattentive drivers have one valuable aid--my horn. I'll wear out a horn before a tire.

PIGFOOT said...

I'm the same way -- apparently so is Anthony Hopkins.
"Gandhi said that being late is an act of violence, an act of terrorism, because it unnerves people." (Playboy interview, 1994)

Uncle Remus said...

What gets me about a cashier is how they plant, exactly in this order, the receipt in your hand, the cash money, and then the coins on top. And the bills are never facing the same way! I take it, and dump the whole load right back in front of them on the counter, so I can sort it. They pull their stunt to get you moving, they better straighten it out. Plus, I'm right-handed, but I've got a pistol in that pocket, so I have to take the change in my left hand so I can put it in my left pocket. Then I have to face the bills. Then, I usually don't need the receipt, so I leave it for them to toss, and their whole objective is to have the customer take it, but if I do want it, I put it in my back left. I can't do all that in the air, I need to use the check stand so I can sort!

iamr4man said...

For the most part, I’m with you (not the left turn thing, though I will inch up as much as possible to let others behind me have a chance to turn). But y’know what I hate? Those people in line in front of me at the coffe shop who are chatting and then when they get to the front of the line start looking around and deciding what to get. I always know what I want when I get to the head of the line and have my means of payment (usually cash) available.

James said...

I spent my childhood being thirty minutes early for EVERYTHING. Whether it was my mom or my dad driving, we were gonna be early. Dinner reservations for 7? We'd be sweating in the parking lot by 6:30. The movie starts at 6? At 5:30 we're seated and staring at a blank screen. We were always the first people at Mass on Sundays. My dad always said it gave you more time to contemplate. All I contemplated was the extra half hour I could have spent in bed.

Re: left turns. I always wait a few seconds before turning if I'm at the head of the line. I've seen too many accidents caused by people running a red light and slamming into the left turn-ee.

Now, Ken, something important. CBS has released on DVD, via Amazon, the 1981-82 sitcom BEST OF THE WEST. I want to know why, if they can get this out on DVD, why the hell can't they release ALMOST PERFECT? Now granted, BEST OF THE WEST is being issued as a "manufactured-on-demand" title, which means you get DVD-Rs instead of pressed DVDs, but still, at this point I'd take ALMOST PERFECT any way I can get it.

Mike Bloodworth said...

They say that former President Bill Clinton was late all the time. And people loved him. Plus, despite his tardiness, women of various degrees of attractiveness wanted to have sex with him. I'm habitually late, yet women don't want to have sex with me. Ironically, I would be ON TIME for SEX. Punctuality is not as easy as the "on time" would have you believe...except for sex.

Curt Alliaume said...

If you've ever read "Parking Lot Rules" by Tom Sturges, one of his rules for kids is "If you can't be on time, be early." I still haven't convinced my son on that one, but he knows what I mean when I say it.

And speaking of keeping people waiting, here's an extended quote from the oral television history "The Box," by Jeff Kisselhoff (the speaker is longtime television producer Greg Garrison:

Jim Aubrey signed me to do a series with Judy Garland. After to made the deal, he calls me and says he would consider it a personal favor if I also do a summer replacement series starring Keefe Brasselle.

I knew this guy was a part-time hood. This is the guy he wants me to do a summer show for, but why not. He just gave me one hell of a deal, so we do five shows. Everything is going very well. Then Keefe begins to read his notices. He goes to a restaurant. He gets a good table. Everybody recognizes him. He's Charlie Studley.

One night at a quarter to seven I go up to his dressing room to go over some notes with him and he's not there. Someone says he's in the bar across the street.

"Are you crazy? We're gonna hold an audience up." I go crazy when you hold an audience up. I believe like my comics taught me, "Don't move a camera, and don't fuck with the audience."

I go into the bar, and I say, "Hey, Keefe, let's go."

He stands up and says, "I'll tell you when I'm ready to go. I'm the star of this fucking show."

Big fuckin' announcement. (Sighs.) I grab him by the fuckin' scruff of his neck. I yank him out of the fuckin' chair. I pop him on the back of his head. I throw him out of the goddamned bar, I roll him across the street, throw him into the goddamned theater, and I say, "I want you on the stage in fifteen minutes, and I'll break every goddamned bone in your body if you're not."

Unbelievably, he does a hell of a performance that night. During the show, I turn around and Rocky Graziano is standing next to me. I say, "Rock, how the fuck are you?"

He says, "What the fuck did you do to that wop?"

"I kicked the shit out of him for not being here."

He sighs and then he says, "He's got a thing goin' for ya. They're gonna knock you off tonight."


"I'm tryin' to square it. Come with me to my fuckin' hotel. You're goin' to stay with me. He's a fuckin' crazy idiot."

I go to Rocky's place. He got three calls. Each time he said, "No, he's with me and he's my friend and I don't give a fuck, you square it." And he squared it. The next day I was fired, and it took a year to buy off my Judy Garland contract. Six months later Aubrey was canned for some business he had with Keefe, and Keefe was in jail for shooting somebody. Charming people you run into.

Marianne said...

I'm completely with you on this one, Ken!

Pat Reeder said...

I am with you on the cashier line peeve. After I got out of college, I spent a year or two working retail at a huge record store. I became the fastest, most efficient cashier in the place because I could tell that nothing pissed off customers like a long line, but giving them the feeling that it was continually moving forward helped defuse that.

My biggest peeve are the women who just stand there until everything is rung up before opening their purses and rummaging around for their wallets. If they rummage around a while and then pull out a checkbook, I just want to strangle them.

BTW, I also try to speed things up by giving the cashier an amount that will result in exact change (for instance, I'll give them a 10, two ones, a quarter and two dimes, and that should result in them simply handing me back a five-dollar bill). I seldom do that anymore after realizing that today's young workers never learned math and even after running a register for months, all they've learned to do is press buttons with pictures on them. Expecting them to understand how to make change is like asking them to do algebra problems in their heads.

Jabroniville said...

As a cashier, I must say, BLESS YOU Mr. Levine! The people who wait until the absolute last minute to search for their wallet/card/change drive me nuts. People have no idea how much time is wasted at the front of the line- a customer can cut the order's time in half by bagging stuff themselves, or having their stuff together.

Waiting in big lines at major tourist attractions, you see this too. I waited 20 minutes at Universal Studios one day because it seemed like EVERYONE ahead of me was debating what kind of tickets they wanted to buy... while they were at the gate. I didn't even realize it until I went up and made my purchase... and was done in seconds. They must have ALL been doing that! GET YOUR STUFF TOGETHER, PEOPLE!!!

Daniel said...

I was with you until you got to the part about the check designs. I’ve gotten stuck with some really ugly looking checks, and had to live with them for most of a year, by not looking through the designs.

If you can convince my bank to actually post the images online, I’ll be glad to look through them at home. Otherwise, I’m flipping through the samples at the bank, even if you’re in line behind me.

Xmastime said...

Ha! I'm the exact same. http://xmastime.blogspot.com/2005/11/alls-i-want-is-freaking-paper-people.html

VincentS said...

I'm sort of the same way and was literally from birth - I wasn't due for two weeks! But I must confess it's more out of impatience than concern for others. Nevertheless, I pride myself that anyone behind me on a line will we waiting the absolute minimum amount of time.

Greg Ehrbar said...

I like to go over to another part of the store front to put things into my wallet, out of sight of people. It's safer and no one has to wait for me.

My pet peeve is when people don't look behind them when going through doors and let them close in your face. Always look over your shoulder, people!

Greg Garrison's story might all be true except for that one part about Keefe Brasselle giving a great performance. Never heard anyone say that before.

Craig said...

Daniel said "If you can convince my bank to actually post the images online, I’ll be glad to look through them at home. Otherwise, I’m flipping through the samples at the bank, even if you’re in line behind me."

Daniel, numerous companies sell checks online and their selection and prices are far better than the bank's. I get mine through Costco's website.

DwWashburn said...

You've described me to a T. In olden days, that was called being courteous of others. In today's world you have to write a blog post to explain why you are that way. To quote the Orange Sphincter, "Sad".

Ken said...

I share this "Quirk" as well and know why.
Many years ago I read/heard from somewhere that being late or ignoring whether ones actions keep others waiting is a power trip telling others that you are more important/powerful so by being late or causeing others to wait is a message to others of dominance.
This struck home and I felt that as a matter of common courtesy that I have made every effert to be on time and out of the way.
Corollary is my impatience with those who regularily run late (i.e. Doctors appointments) or stand in aisles and have conversations while blocking all others.
So I guess no "virtue" goes without a corollary balanceing "vice".