Her staff set the interview at 10:30 a.m. So I start getting dressed at 7:30, right after taking the children to school. I usually give an hour to fix myself before leaving the house. If I leave at 8:30, I’d have two hours travel time to get to her place.
I leave at exactly 8:29. I pride myself in leaving before the allotted time. I put my shades on and hit the road. The Skyway traffic jam begins in Bicutan and stretches all the way to that spot in C-5 where they’re constructing the toll booths. I have enough time, I tell myself. I always do.
Her staff sends a text to remind me of 10:30. I smile as I text back. Why are these people so nervous? I am never late for these interviews. NEVER. Because making people wait is the height of impoliteness.
I arrive at 9:45. The place is dark, the tables aren’t set. Her staff is nowhere to be found.
At 10:15, one of her girls arrives with wet hair. She drops her bag on the floor and makes several calls. “Is it okay to wait for 30 minutes?” she asks. Is it okay to wait for 30 minutes, I repeat to myself. Didn’t you remind me to be here on time? I am incredulous.
More girls arrive, all carrying shopping bags.
Thirty minutes becomes 45. And 45 becomes 75.
“She’s still talking to someone. Sorry,” one of the girls tells me. The lovely young ladies stare at their phones. Swipe, swipe, text, text. One casts me an anxious glance. “Would you like an iced tea?” I always ask for water with ice. It helps keep me cool.
Traffic is real, but so is being considerate. Traffic should challenge people to manage their time. I mean, if people consider themselves smart…
She arrives. All hair and makeup.
“Carrie,” she purrs as she gives me an air kiss. “Did you wait long?”