Friday, January 25, 2013

A Matter of Timing

Trey Smith


When you are an individual who always is a few steps ahead or behind social society, it should come as no surprise that you experience bad timing. Throughout my life I have tended to arrive on the scene either a few moments too early or a few moments too late! Whatever the optimal time frame is, I consistently seem to miss it.

For example, when I decided to go to grad school to pursue a Master's in the Social Sciences, this wasn't a flippant decision. I did a lot of research which showed that community colleges were begging for instructors in my soon-to-be chosen field. Little did I know that, while I was attending grad school, universities all across the nation began the great paring back of their budgets and handing pink slips to long-time adjunct professors. The upshot is that, when I graduated a mere 2 years later, community colleges were awash in out-of-work instructors with PhD.s! They weren't interested in those of us with lowly Master's.

Had I started my grad school program two years earlier, I probably would have found a teaching job at a small community college rather easily. But the time that I graduated was among the worst times to do so. Despite sending out hundreds of resumes, I only received a handful of interviews and not one job offer. Such bad timing!

When Della and I applied to USDA for the Rural Home Loan program, our completed application arrived on the last day of the quarter. It turns out that things would have gone far more smoothly if it had arrived a day later! Of course, we had no way of knowing this, but arriving on the last day of the quarter ended up slowing down the process by several months. Again, such bad timing!

And the bad timing bug hit us again this week. Affordable housing in the Columbia Gorge is hard to come by. An apartment opened up that was within our price range, it was close to Della's AmeriCorps site and it even allowed for, at least, 1 of our dogs. The problem? The apartment went on the market the day AFTER Della drove home to South Bend for her medical appointment. We made arrangements to view it on Wednesday evening when we both would return to White Salmon, but the landlady called us about 30 minutes before the viewing to say that someone who had looked at it earlier that day had decided to rent it.

Had Della decided not to come home a day early to see me and the pets, she could have gone the few blocks from where she is staying to view this apartment on the day it came open. If she had found it acceptable, then our little family could have been reunited sooner as opposed to later. But her innocent decision to drive home one day early took us out of the running. Needless to say, when Della received the call that this option had gone bye-bye, she was crestfallen. She had really pinned her hopes on it.

I'm not saying that she and I are the only people in the world with seemingly bad timing, but it tends to strike us more often than most. Almost always a little too early or a little too late.

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