Efficiency and COVID

In 1948, Frank Gilbreth and his sister, Ernestine Carey, published a semi-autobiographical book about growing up with 10 siblings–Cheaper by the Dozen. Supposedly, their parents ran their household as a “laboratory” based on education and efficiency. The children were not only expected to complete chores and homework in a timely manner, but their performances were clocked to reach maximum efficiency.

Of course, many of us pay particular attention to time. God forbid if we were late to work or to pick up our child from school. Some of us are more Type A; dinner is at 7:00, not 7:30 or you’ll eat cold roast beef. And even though I sometimes have to wait far beyond my scheduled doctor’s appointment, I arrive at least fifteen minutes early. In contrast, there are those, who are consistently late. We all have those kind of friends we send invitations and move the arrival time up 30 minutes. The proverbially late to their own funeral sort.

Admittedly, I’m Type A+. I pride myself on punctuality. In a city the size of Phoenix, I plan for some unforeseen traffic delay or the rarest of rainstorm flooding. Yet, the raging COVID cases in Arizona have also caused me to be extraordinary efficient with my time. I’m so Type A+ crazy, I structure my grocery list based on the store’s layout. Today, for example, I dropped off some of my copious crop of grapefruit to my favorite attorney. (No, that’s not an oxymoron. He’s a good guy.) The items on my list were readily available at most any store and Walmart was in nearest proximity, so be it. As I entered the store, I checked my watch. “In and out in 10 minutes, Sue. No gawking at customers, no browsing for items you buy on a whim. Focus on the list.” Thirteen minutes, I was on my way home, committed to be more efficient next time.

Unfortunately, Arizona government seemingly does not get the notions of time and efficiency. Number 1 in the world in raging COVID, no state-wide, mask mandate, no closures of non-essential businesses, and snail-pace roll out of vaccines. WTH? Perhaps, I’ll send the governor a stop watch.

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