On Making Excuses
🏃♂️ What I Really Think About Being Late (Over and Over Again)
I’m brushing my teeth, just like I do every morning. I leave the water running, which I know I’m not supposed to do, but I just like the sound of the water flowing while I brush.
There’s a calming sameness to the noise of a steady flow of water.
In this moment, I engage the creativity muscle in my brain for something inventive. I’m brainstorming a new solution to a problem. Not a new problem, but a problem that needs a new solution all the same.
I try to remind myself that I should move the toothbrush in a circular motion. I’ve never been good at that. The mechanics of the circular brushing feel at odds with how my hand wants to work.
As I move through that morning routine standing at my sink, I craft a story to explain why I’m late today.
Because yes, I’m running late. Again.
It’s almost a staple of my morning routine, as rote as brushing my teeth. Forty-two years old, with a family and a career, yet I need to make up a daily reason for my continued struggle with time, a struggle that’s embarrassed me as far back as elementary school.
I won’t say I’ve perfected the art of making excuses. When you’re late on a nearly daily basis, your hope for a perfect week of believable excuses is near zero. But I have gotten really good at slipping into that frame of mine, of generating yet another excuse to try to explain away the way my brain works. Leaning into my brain’s creativity for reasons why I’ve failed to live up to society’s standards.
Standards built for a different type of brain—standards that feel at odds with how my brain wants to work.
Sometimes I’ll come up with an excuse that feels really good (often at least based on truth), but then no reason to share an excuse is necessary. No one notices I’m late or asks any intrusive questions. “Good,” I think, “I’ll pocket that one for later.” It’s a winner for sure.
And other times, as I share the excuse I’ve crafted to explain away my natural behavior, I’ll notice a slight movement in their eye. A subtle hesitation many would miss, but I’ve seen it a thousand times. The look that tells me they aren’t mad, they’re just disappointed. A look all too familiar.
Oh well, better luck tomorrow.
Jesse J. Anderson
P.S. Anyone else playing the new Zelda game? The crafting system is surprisingly fun and allows for much more creativity than I was expecting. Watch out for my custom airship coming soon. I’m not sure this is going to help me get to bed at a more reasonable hour… 🤔
Things that grabbed my attention this week, and some thoughts on a controversial new ADHD documentary.