My name’s Thomas and I often introduce myself as “Thomas, like the Train”. Or “Thomas the Train”. Usually I get a laugh or a knowing smile. As a fan myself, of the original Thomas the Train series I get a kick out of that.
A while back, the morning after New Year’s, a friend of mine, we’ll call him ‘Heli’ introduced me to a concept called “Thomas Time”.
Basically, Heli explained that I, ‘Thomas’, when I say I am going to be somewhere, either show up [hours] early or [hours] late. He explained that I am predictable in that I am unpredictable; I often zig instead of zag and vice versa. Planning with me can be an exercise in frustration. The only reason, Heli said, why he doesn’t mind as much as he might, is that I don’t make demands on people’s time, don’t get mad when they don’t clear their schedule for me, and am perfectly happy to do my own thing, even sleep in my own car in the event of a mismatch in schedules or communication.
Recently, I pretty much, torpedoe’d a different friend’s New Year’s Eve. He told me he wasn’t mad at me the next day (knowing that I am how I am), but just doesn’t want to do “Thomas Time” planning anymore. I believe he was mad, may be over it now, but we haven’t talked much since.
I talked on the phone with my Dad about ‘Thomas Time’ and heard knowing laughs. I realize that I’ve been on “Thomas Time” since about 5 years ago when I started seriously chasing girls the first semester of my junior year in college. My friends were mostly insulated from Thomas Time because I knew them in military college, where I was in fact very punctual and easy to make plans with. But my long suffering family knows Thomas Time all too well, even if they didn’t make up a name for it (they probably did and I just don’t remember).
I could say that my flakiness is in part, in response to flaky girls, but that would just be deflecting blame and responsibility.
I realize that if I don’t get a handle on Thomas Time, and eventually retire it, I’ll eventually railroad both over my friendships and relationships with family. It’s part of my New Year’s Resolutions, to get a handle on Thomas Time.