Is It Too Late for This?

It’s hard to live with a family of type-alike procrastinators. Have the networks done a sitcom about this? No, because it’s too painful. (Besides, the writers who’ve experienced the story wouldn’t get the script in on time.)

I mention this having just taken my 24 year-old daughter to meet a flight to Rwanda. Now you’d think a kid who managed to get herself into a dozen top med schools would have done enough type-balancing to get ready for international travel a few days ahead—especially since she’ll be living there for two months. And she had thought about it to some extent: passport, immunizations, making sure I booked a flight to take care of her cat all summer.

But she packed a duffle literally the night before: pouring toiletries into small bottles and stuffing in clothing to be left in Africa at the end of the summer. On the way to the airport, we needed to stop for food (in the rush of year-end exams she’d forgotten to order vegetarian), headlamp batteries for reading when the power goes out (not uncommon), $100 bills for a better exchange rate when the ATMs are down (frequent), and an international converter plug for her laptop. I’m not even going to mention that she installed Windows on a Mac the previous day—software without which her research would be difficult!

The amazing thing is that we got to the terminal in plenty of time—enough for her to stand on the curb talking to her mentor about a last-minute issue with the project and to her cell phone company to suspend service, while a patrol car’s blue lights warned us to move along.

Because I understand the “P” at the end of Myers-Briggs type preferences, I didn’t make things worse by pointing out the benefits of early checklists. Besides, she had a ready defense: "Yeah, I could have done these things earlier, but I had other things to do!"


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