Laura and I are good friends—really good friends. But like any pair of humans, we have our differences. I love music, and Laura likes silence. I am hot blooded, and she is perpetually cold. I enjoy Brussels sprouts, and she gags when she eats them. So we compromise. She puts on another layer. I wear headphones. She makes small batches of Brussels sprouts for me and another vegetable for herself.
But there is one difference that really requires a lone compromise on my part.
Laura believes in the divine elasticity of time.
To put it simply, she’s what some people might call a lollygagger. Now this doesn’t mean she’s lazy—it just means she enjoys taking her time, and, by the nature of taking her time, sometimes she doesn’t realize how much time she’s taken. I’m the opposite. I watch the seconds and try to cram them with as much action as I can.
I wouldn’t change Laura for the world, but I have learned how to change my perspective about her ambling approach to living. Do you find yourself frazzled with the people in the slow lane of life? Check out these tips for living with a lollygagger.
- Nix the need to nag. If you grew up in a church-going family, you probably experienced your father in the idling family car, honking as your mother put the roast in the crockpot, shoes on the baby, and makeup on her face. When we were first friends, I hovered by Laura’s bathroom in the mornings, giving out two minute updates—the equivalent of horn honking. This did little more than make for a tense drive to work or church and further frazzle both of us. If you happen to be the one ready first, one or two gentle reminders will do.
- Make sure you’re ready. There have been times that I was so focused on clock watching and grousing at Laura that I forgot to be ready myself. Gather your stuff, turn off the lights, have the lunch packed, and even gather the lollygagger’s stuff if you can. Be ready to go, because when a lollygagger finally realizes the time, she can move pretty fast.
- Pitch in. Mornings seem to be particularly hard for lollygaggers. And because they are usually the contemplative sort, they are prone to get lost in their pontifications. Gently encourage them to start getting ready earlier. It might even help to set the clocks forward a bit throughout the house, to sort of trick them into a false urgency. Ask how you can help them get ready so that you can get out the door on time.
- Use the wait time. If you are inclined to wait in the car, perhaps keep a book on tape to listen to. Keep a book handy to read or journal to write in. Clean the frost off the car windows, water the plants, look at the news, sweep the porch, write an email. Don’t just sit around and watch the clock tick.
- Consider the lessons. It often occurs to me how much my lollygagger has to teach me. I’m not sure what all she does in the bathroom each morning, but Laura comes out looking 10 times better than I do. At least in my experience, my lollygagger isn’t so much slow as she is thorough. And though I usually panic about the time, I’ve learned from Laura that time really is more elastic than we give it credit for. We’re rarely as late as I think we’re going to be. In other words, I’m frequently reminded to slow down, focus on each task, and just enjoy my moments.