Oregon: “The dog ate my homework” state

I am the most impatient person in the whole entire world. I hate waiting – for test results, for expected mail, for returned phone calls or email. For vendors – or dinner guests, or even friends or family – to show up. I’m the one who checks out the front window to see if they’re just pulling up, or has to obsessively check email when I first walk in the door.

I assume that other people have this bug as well, so I cancel dinner reservations if we’re not going to be there after all – even if it’s a Tuesday, even if it’s a sure thing they won’t be missing us. I tell friends with whom I have tentative plans that I won’t be able to do anything after all when something else comes up. I call if we’re five minutes late for the orthodontist appointment, just to let them know we’re stuck in traffic and should be there ‘momentarily.’ And then the receptionist blinks when we stroll in, a mere two minutes later.

Unfortunately, Oregonians don’t seem to share my sense of…urgency? Reciprocity? (Some might say ‘neuroses’, but that wouldn’t be nice now, would it?) When we first moved here and would call people to come look at issues we needed done to the house, it was always a crapshoot as to whether or not the vendors would show…would call if they didn’t…or even cared if they got business at all. And that kind of – well, lack of urgency – carried over into the dealings we had with other people as well.

It got to the point where my ex nicknamed Oregon “the dog ate my homework” state. And it’s the phrase I pull out when the insurance guy never calls you back, and only sounds vaguely apologetic when you finally reach him. Or when you get an invitation to a birthday party for your kid’s friend two days before the party.

Most of the time, I shrug it off. But sometimes, it drives me absolutely freaking nuts, it does. Do you want to mess with my mind? It’s the perfect weapon to use against me. Especially since I never (hardly ever, anyway) come back and explode in righteous indignation. I don’t plot revenge…devise repayment schemes…or resort to the same methods of behavior.

I don’t get all dramatic about it. Well, yes I have. Once. In 41 years. Which I don’t think is dramatic at all, given the fact that it’s always been clearly labeled as a Huge Honking Red Button for anyone who knows me to see. And yes, there were huge extenuating circumstances – think log jam crashing loose & heading my way – so I think it’s understandable, and even forgivable. Hell, I’d go for laudable and worthy of many, many gold stars – the fact that it’s only occurred once in 41 years, that is – given the whole Red Button issue. But that’s just me.

What do I do? I just stew. Sometimes, I stew and move on – to another vendor, a more reliable friend. Sometimes, I try to explain why it tweaks me so, without invoking a ton of crap that I could pull in about my tortured childhood, ended marriage, the kids who teased me at school, blah blah blah (yeah, I know there are psychological roots there, but not everyone and their brother needs to see them, do they?) And a lot of the time, I just suck it up and deal. I don’t expect everyone to be wired the same way I am, and I can’t expect everything to go my way.

And sometimes, the waiting – the whole ‘sucking it up and dealing’ part – is eminently, eminently worthwhile, no matter how much agita it causes me right now.

So…to the people who want to schedule a job interview with me this week, but have been slow about arranging it: I’m patiently waiting. To the other folks who’ve dangled vague job promises or leads in front of me, only to do things like go on vacation or have a life: Patience is my middle name. To the person who promised me that he “WILL talk with (me) later”: I know already that you are the one most worth waiting for. When you are ready, I am here. And I’m sorry I wasn’t more patient.

The rest of you, though? Do your homework already, would you? I haven’t lost that much of my edge yet, and I do have my ‘bitch’ cap in reserve. And a pithily-worded phone call to your supervisor might make me feel really, really good right about now…

Update – astoria.mung.net has responded to my post with Why the dog is allowed to eat homework. Apparently, my expectations might be a bit too high…


  1. Why the dog is allowed to eat homework

    Just read My Whim Is Law: Oregon: “The dog ate my homework” state and I have noticed the same sort of approach. It’s a bit perplexing as while this area is economically depressed, there also still seems to remain this stubborn bit about how much t…

  2. I noticed this not long after moving here. No one RSVPs! It drives me nuts! (And I’m ready for the party to start 5 minutes beforehand….and everyone is late.) I’ve finally gotten the majority of my friends trained that yes, I do need to know how many will be showing up on party night, but some were very, very slow learners. They’re still always late.

  3. pril

    yeah. that drives me nucking futs. Especially with issues with booking the band. I mean… no.. i won’t even go into it, but that’s BY FAR the area that i have found to be the most nervewracking.

  4. Goin’ Hollywood

    It was a full morning in the Hollywood district today for me – and I even spotted some oh-so-Hollywood oversized mirrored sunglasses, despite the overcast day. I’d planned a circuit – loaded up with books and kid’s clothing accordingly. First…

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