Im not a person who gets off kilter very often, but right now, Im off kilter. Yeah, I blew off an appointment today. By blew off, I dont mean I knew I had the appointment but decided not to go, what I mean is, I had the appointment (It was inked in my calendar), I didnt check my calendar, and I didnt go. I hate that I did that. Im off kilter cause of it. The appointment was a book reading at a bookstore. I wont mention the name of the store because my editor might not want to be giving them a plug while letting the other area bookstores hang, but I will say this bookstore is in the middle of Rutland, the city, and the store owner is Steve Eddy, and its an independent bookstore hes run very successfully for many years. I feel like I let Steve and the folks who showed up to see and hear me down. I dont want to feel that way, because feeling like I let folks down suggests if I were there I would have brought folks up, and thats a prideful thought, and pride is a sin. So if Im going to feel off kilter, I dont I want to feel off kilter because I let anyone down, because in the large scheme of life, I didnt. I apologized to Mr. Eddy and he was very gracious in accepting my apology, and told me everyone who showed up had a great time (Mainly because a local author, Doug Wilhelm was there and kindly read from my book in my place, no doubt better than I, cause Mr. Eddy told me Doug had the folks busting a gut). So I was barely missed, and thats a good realization to have. You might as well start realizing that now, cause thats how itll be when youre finally dead to a great extent. That leaves my excuse at feeling off kilter to this. To me, lateness and and no showing are despicable. In the realm of daily goings on, as far as Im concerned, there are few things worse. My dad was a Greyhound bus driver who over 35 years of driving was so prompt his peers dubbed him, o.t. DeWees. The o.t. stood for, on time. I grew up showing up on time, period. Years of being on time have carried through my adult life and caused me to bristle at the smallest blunders that relate to punctuality and the respect thereof. Once Im seated at a restaurant I curdle if I have to wait long for a waitperson to come with my water and menu. If I have a business appointment with you and you show up late, sorry, but youre already behind the eight ball. Your showing up late is a statement made on your professionalism and it fills me with a feeling of foreboding regarding whatever business you and I might be doing together. Though I realize there are some legitimate excuses for lateness, I cant get myself to, and therefore dont, take many excuses as a salve. Maybe I shouldnt feel too off kilter about my totally missing my bookstore gig, because if someone totally forgets an appointment with me, I find it easier to understand then if theyre late. Theyre more likely to be honest about it if they totally forgot the appointment. But when theyre late, theyre more liable to lie, and I can tell theyre lying, which makes me less likely to want to do business with them (Or even be friends with them). Am I delving into this late\No show stuff a bit too deep? Maybe, but showing up and showing up on time are things (99.9% of the time once again, sorry Steve) I can do well. They are things we can all control 99.9% of the time, and therefore are important enough to write an entire column on. If you want to totally insult someone, be late or dont show to an appointment, thatll do it. So how do I make up for my no show at the bookstore in Rutland beyond simply calling to say Im sorry which Ive already done? I dont know, because the folks who showed up at the store today are the ones whove been blown off. I cant take them back in time and tell them theyre wasting theirs folding my appearance into their weekend schedule. I cant go back in time and tell them theyd be better off not thinking about, and or, anticipating with earnest good will, my entertaining them in exchange for their loyal support. I can perhaps let them know that if they want me to sign a book theyve bought, they should get in touch with me and Ill make a trip most anywhere to do just that. Heck, Ill even read to them, on the side of the road somewhere, or in a Dennys parking lot, or at a wedding. If thats what it takes to let them know their efforts and desire to see and hear me, and perhaps even buy my book are not in vain, Ill do it. Am I taking this business of show too serious? Nope. My job, that is, providing entertainment to anyone who might care, is something I treat as serious as a doctor treats a heart attack. Today I let the patient down. Truth is, you know what? Hey. That last paragraph was to be my final, but here I just barely returned from a drive to my favorite late-night Caf_o buy a moist piece of chocolate cake that I took with some cool ice tea, and Im thinking as Im driving, missing the book appearance let down one person and one person only. Me. I love doing those appearances, meeting folks and reading my stories, helping them laugh, or think, or cry. And I like selling books, making money for the bookstore owners and myself. I like doing all those things because (I), like doing all those things. Is that what were all about? Do we get married cause (We) want to? Do we have kids cause (We) want to. Do we volunteer at the hospital because (We) want to? Do we work extra to save extra because (We) want to build a new house the way (We) want it? When I started this story I was off kilter because I duped (Myself) out of a good time, and I let (Myself) down by not being responsible. The patient I let down was me. Now Im two days and a late-night piece of chocolate cake and a cool drink of iced tea removed from my goof. Im feeling better about it now cause (Im) feeling better about it now. I have to think long and hard to remember doing anything in my life that didnt somehow benefit me, or make me happy, or come around (As in what goes around), back to me to a positive outcome. That might not be so good a thing to claim.