Enjoy an exclusive guest post from Bryan Nickelberry, author of “Upstream,” featured in our ON TIME anthology.
“On Time.” Two different immediate meanings: Considerations regarding time itself, and to be, on time. Not late.
I sat down with a friend, and pointed out that the concept of being “on time” is a fascinating one to me. Naturally when working a job or meeting friends and family for events, it’s expected that one would be “on time,” not late. And yet, when one looks at life in general the concept of being on time becomes very interesting.
A coworker and I were driving loaner cars to a gas station two days ago. It was an ordinary day, nothing spectacular was going on. He turned out first and wound up three cars ahead of me due to the traffic. As I turned out, I heard a screech. Someone had hit him from behind. If he’d been a few seconds earlier or later, the accident wouldn’t have occurred. But he was right on time for it. Coincidence? I’m not sure.
As a professional shuttle van driver, I range all over a given area. Often enough, I wind up in the right place at the right time to prevent unscheduled pick-ups from clashing. I’m on time without any way of knowing that I should be. Is that chance or something more?
When you’re late for something important, but you miss a tragedy, doesn’t that mean you were right on time to avoid disaster? When you find yourself in the right place at the right time to take advantage of an opportunity—often one which wouldn’t have opened if another person had been in that place at that time… Just one example: Harrison Ford was a carpenter, and a producer for the movie “American Graffiti” recommended George Lucas try Ford for the movie. This worked out, and Ford’s continued encounters with Lucas would develop into an award-winning career in Hollywood. Isn’t that a prime example of being on time?
We can try to be on time for many things in life, but there is an element of random chance we have no control over, yet as we continue to miss the majority of disasters, and find ourselves profiting from odd circumstances that end up in our favor… Shouldn’t we agree that there’s more to being “on time” than there might initially appear?
As a life-long resident of the greater Puget Sound area, Bryan Nickelberry grew up in the wet, beneath the clouds. He spent most of his life dividing his time between local parks and national parks, libraries and bookstores, family and friends, the urban and suburban jungles. No matter where he went Bryan looked for stories, and still does so to this day. Now he’s begun to tell some of his own.