It is a truth universally acknowledged that the closer a person lives to a destination, the later they will be for any appointment at said destination. The person who lives, for example, over the back fence of the primary school will undoubtedly be late for school every day. You can ask pretty much any member of my family to back me up on this one. We shared a fence with our primary school and yet, every single day, every single one of us would slither through our back gate at 9.01am.
In The Big Smoke, I would invariably allow an hour to get everywhere. To get the 8km from my front door to the office took one hour. Driving from my house to Sister B’s eyrie in the north took one hour. Actually, driving anywhere took one hour.
Now that I’m living a simpler life, I tend to cut things a bit finer. I blame it on the Back Fence Effect. I live not far from anywhere, so therefore it should take me no time at all to get there. I am often heard to say ‘it’s only a 10-minute [insert drive/walk]’.
Hence, I arrive at school, screeching in (whether by car or by pram) at 8.46am (school starts at 8.45am). It doesn’t matter what time I wake up. It doesn’t matter how organised I am. It doesn’t matter if I’ve done a whole week’s ironing in advance, made mini-quiches to pop into lunchboxes and made Mr6 sleep in his uniform. We still arrive to hear the fading peals of the bell.
The hysterical rush to arrive at school on time is bettered only by the chaos involved in getting to Little Ninjas by 4pm. We go twice a week. You think I would have worked out how far away it is by now. And yet, I am stuck firmly with the notion that 15 minutes is enough time.
Invariably, we leave the house at 3.45pm – only to discover that the all-important Belt has been left on the sofa. Or that Mr3 has an, ahem, emergency. Or that I can’t find the keys (today’s issue) despite having them in my hand not 30 minutes before.
You would think, wouldn’t you, that I would have worked out by now that leaving at 3.40pm would solve all these issues and have us at Ninjas in a much more Zen frame of mind – ready to start fighting.
In my heart of hearts, I know this is the sensible option. But it will never happen. We live so close, you see. Just 10 minutes’ drive, really.