A Little Late-ish

Who am I kidding? I’ve never been quite right and a trip to the bookstore is not going to change that."

One Saturday a month, I meet with my sister at the Starbucks in Barrington. I am always on time, she is not. I am okay with this. She has always run on her own clock. She arrives irritated by the fact that I have beaten her there. Punctuality is boring, she tells me. Boring is one of my many flaws, I tell her. So is punctuality.

She leads a very chaotic and hectic life. She travels all over the country in her very important sales position and is frequently late for appointments due to circumstances that are outside of her control. Air traffic controllers, car rental agents and cashiers conspire against her ability to manage her time. Even on Saturday when it is only family with which she has to contend, she is not prompt.

Although we are scheduled to meet at 8:30ish, I arrive promptly at 8:29 a.m. My sister has no idea how irritated I am by the vagueness of the “ish”. Does “ish” mean before 8:30 a.m. or does “ish” mean just after 8:30 a.m.? I relax my agitation by telling myself that “ish” doesn’t mean anything. “Ish” is not a proper number suffix, let alone a word and therefore has no meaning in this context. Then I make a mental note to stop at the bookstore on my way home so I can flip through a dictionary to see if I am right. Who am I kidding? I’ve never been quite right and a trip to the bookstore is not going to change that. I just want an excuse to go to the bookstore.

I settle myself down into a comfy chair with a tall, black coffee of the day. I never care which coffee it is unless it is that ass kicking Komodo Dragon brew. Dragon makes me edgy enough to breathe fire, which would not be a good thing for my late-ish sister. Luckily, the coffee of the day is Gold Coast. She would not have to be annoyed by my boring, punctual, fire-breathing self.

As I sip my hot coffee, I think that this is a good opportunity to work on revisions, even if it is only to add a comma that I know I will remove later. I pull the beaten and worn draft full of margin notes and scratches out of my purse in time to see my sister come through the door while she talks on the phone.

“I have to let you go,” she says. “She beat me here again.”

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