Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stacy's Law: If you have 20, it'll take 30

We have a recurring conversation in our family about when we need to leave the house. It's really about when we want to arrive at a location.

If we travel by plane, I like being at the airport two hours before the flight. It's a trait I picked up from my father. My husband is not impressed.
This conversation has played out more than once during our relationship:
Hubby (extreme sarcasm): Boy, I'm glad we're at the gate TWO HOURS before the flight.
Me: I know  it's great.
The intent is not to necessarily be at the gate, but to give yourself extra time just in case something weird happens. For example, there are wrecks, construction and traffic jams that can snarl traffic on the Interstate. If you plan ahead and target an early arrival, you hopefully won't miss your flight. 
When we lived in Texas, we went to the "international," regional airport about an hour and a half early. The airport was not open. The doors were locked. The staff was either not there or just not answering the door. Oops. We waited in the car. I get reminded of that story every time we discuss when to leave our home to catch a flight.
The airport scenario is an extreme. On a weekly basis, we discuss when to leave our home for church. The church is about 10 miles away. In theory, it should take 20 minutes to get there. It all depends on the volume of traffic, whether you hit all the red lights and how other drivers are feeling that day. If they are dodgy and squirrelly, you might as well count on a 30-minute drive.  
We have Murphy's Law, but I like to call this phenomenon:  Stacy's Law - the reality that when you give yourself 20 minutes to get somewhere it will inevitably take you 30 minutes to get there. 
This happened on Sunday. We left right at 10 a.m. or right around there, because I had to run upstairs to grab the teething bracelet for the baby. We arrive at 10:17 a.m. in the church parking lot. Had we left at 10:10 a.m. I just know we would have arrived in the sanctuary during the morning announcements. 
Would anything happen if we were late? No. We would still be greeted with a smile and the ushers would have helped us find a seat. But, I am much happier when I am early.

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