"Don't take all day."
If I had a quarter for all the times Better Half has said that to me, a rich woman I'd be.
But if I had a quarter for all the times I replied, "I'll just be a minute," I'd have incredible financial solvency.
The command/suggestion to "don't take all day" is what I hear when we're somewhere, let's say grocery shopping, for example, and Better Half wants to get back home before the cows do so he can watch the Pirates or conveniently amend my ever-lengthening "honey-do" list to his liking.
The trouble is, we have a difference of opinion when it comes to time - how long it takes to go somewhere and do something.
We live in a household where his "what took you so long?" is countered by my "you're back already?"
It's about getting somewhere at 7 p.m. sharp vs. arriving sometime in the evening.
It's about something taking two hours max, not however long it takes.
I attribute this difference in time interpretation to genetics.
If I tell him "I'll just be a minute," what I really mean to say is "I'll just be a Hout minute."
A Hout minute (Hout was my maiden name if you're a column newcomer here) equals more ticks of the clock than a regular minute.
And that's way longer than a Kiaski minute.
Like my father and grandmother before me, I come from lingering, loitering, lollygagging stock. The social sort. Close-up-the-place kind of people.
Humans are the reason why. They're everywhere ready to chit and chat, and I'm there to indulge them and me.
If I don't run into someone I know, I run into someone I'm just meeting and usually sharing a small-world moment with in the process.
I can't just quit jabbering and start grocery shopping.
I seem to ricochet from one person and one conversation to another person and another conversation.
Before you know it, there go a whole lot of Hout minutes.
And there goes Better Half's patience.
I plead my case to him with the standard defense: In polite society, people stop and exchange pleasantries.
I'm just doing what I'm naturally wired to do.
He might assume that I'm off to the aisle to pick up a box of microwave popcorn but deep down he knows better.
I'm really stuck in the frozen food section where I've run into so and so who I haven't seen in ages.
I am engrossed in the exchange of information, commentary and catching up.
I might even be the reason why there's a buggy traffic jam. Sorry about that.
I'm the one in less of a hurry on these outings.
And in the process, I'm the one becoming a potentially wealthy woman, one Hout minute at a time.
(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)