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A Loose Concept of Time

There are just people who, shall we say, have a loose concept of time. One of my sisters, as things are, just happens to be one of those. In the old days, it was not uncommon for her to arrive an hour late for a get-together. And these were on her better days...

My other sister used to get so upset with her whenever she was kept waiting. I, on the other hand, had gotten so used to the tardiness that any arrangements I made with this sister I simply regarded the same way Einstein looked at time – with relativity.

In fact, I call my sister Ms. Reliability with the most scathing sarcasm. But because she is my sister, I am able to do so in a humourous way that despite the sarcasm, we are both able to laugh at it.

She says that she is a reformed person these days; but if I were among her disciples, I quickly nominate myself as the doubting Thomas.

When their car finally arrived, both were grinning happily and unapologetically at me that my annoyance quickly left me. It helped that my niece was paying for lunch.
Take this one time last month when I agreed to meet her and her daughter for lunch in Alabang. As is the way things are done these days, we agreed to text regularly to coordinate our movements.

“The bus has left the station,” was my first text to her that day. In fact, it was at the busstop still loading passengers.

I thought I was just being smart and trying to stay one step ahead of Ms. Reliability.

“Ok,” she replied. “Let me know when you are about to enter SLEX.”

My sister and my niece are both call centre people; and I was wary of both coming from work and falling into deep sleep. So, I did not wait for SLEX in sending my next text message.

“Makiling already.” In fact, the bus I was in had just left the Sto. Tomas exit of the STAR tollway.

“The bus just drove into SLEX.” But it was actually parked beside the highway in Turbina while the inspector checked the conductor’s bundle of tickets.

“Susana Heights.” Probably just at the Sta. Rosa exit of the SLEX. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself and was sure that I would not have to wait once I got off the bus in Alabang.

Before long, I was, in fact, in Alabang. I was expecting mother and daughter to have already left their home in Muntinglupa and already driving along to meet me in front of the bank.

“I’m here,” I texted my sister. But, of course, as in the movies, there is always a twist to the story.

“Will be there in 10 minutes,” was her reply.

Huh? How could that be?

I was at my most annoyed at my sister in ages and wanted to know why they were still nowhere in sight. Ten minutes? Yeah, right!

My niece – or so my sister said, and not that I for one moment believed her – had not heard her mother when she called out to say that I was already in SLEX.

From Canlubang to Alabang is roughly 20 minutes. Add my 10 minute allowance and so what was apparent was that despite my frequent messaging, all of 30 minutes elapsed without my sister having bothered to check if my niece had gotten up from bed.

Because both only really started to get dressed upon learning that I was already in Alabang and because they had to pass by a gas station to load up, I was in fact waiting in front of the bank for about another 20 minutes.

When their car finally arrived, both were grinning happily and unapologetically at me that my annoyance quickly left me. It helped that my niece was paying for lunch.

So much for the best laid plans! At the end of the day, you really can’t con a con woman!

The two are coming over tomorrow to return the visit. Good luck to me!

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