Precision vs Accuracy

Me: Shouldn’t you be getting ready for school?
Sprog The Younger: I don’t have to start getting ready until 7:21, actually.

[I hear the key turn in the front door]
Sprogs: Mum, we missed the bus!

Categories: Life, parenting


12 replies

  1. Just as well kids have a back-up plan called Mum.


  2. Ha, were the Sprogs relying on the bus being late? That’s the one time it’ll turn up when it’s supposed to …

  3. We have had a revolution in this house and it involves putting the responsibility for getting ready for school on the shoulders of the person supposed to be ready for school. I’m sure every other family figured this out long ago but we are just awe-struck at the results. The 6 yr old has stopped all the resistance and tantrum-ing and she is actually (often) ready on time.
    Anyway, good luck with yours, I can completely relate to their philosophy – I’m very into the idea that there is some wiggle room, just for special me, in the deadlines I face. This backfires for me, too.

  4. Ha. Oh dear – laughing in sympathy, not at you. Yes, I get that ‘actually’ bit with 14yo. And then the inevitable happens. (Actually the worst is when I ask him to do something/to stop doing something five times and on the sixth I YELL my request/demand and he says ‘OKAAAAAAAAY, OKAAAAAAAAAAAAAY’ like I’ve unreasonably started using my Big Girl Voice for no reason).
    I’m reasonably guilty of it myself though – this morning I stopped to duck back in and ‘make sure’ I had turned off the hotplate, even though I was sure I had. I locked up again and I was tired, it’s a Friday, so we ambled up the bastard of a hill instead of our usual charge, then we got to the corner and heard the familiar bus-rumble and had to bolt the block to the stop.

  5. So they had to walk to school instead? 😉

  6. Ah, well. At the least they have (reading between the lines) a fairly reliable bus to miss. In my part of town we have recently been “blessed” by the conversion of our old unreliable Veolia service into a new unreliable Metrobus service (operated by Veolia). The timetables are no longer “timetables” … they are “more like guidelines, really”: a range of time intervals during which the service will run “on average” every 10 minutes, or 20 minutes or whatever. This means that it is entirely possible for 3 to arrive in the space of 2 minutes (we see them as we run to catch them), and then no more for half an hour. Which of course makes a difference between catching the connecting train, or not. No point arguing with the bus company about this system being a cover up for poor timetable management – we have given up, and now routinely leave the house half an hour earlier than necessary, in the hope that at least one bus will be almost on time. Public transport in this city has a very very long way to go …

  7. @Sheryl – gakk, that sounds like the tram timetables in St Kilda Rd. “Every twelve minutes from 8.41am, then every twenty-seven minutes from 9.59am” and so on. You’ve got to be a flippin’ maths genius to have any idea when the thing’s supposed to arrive (we won’t even go into when-and-if it does arrive).
    “More like guidelines, really” – yup, that’s it for sure. (Are you a Pratchett fan, perchance? Sounds like the UU wizards.) Yarra Trams like to say they’re running punctually if they are between one minute EARLY and six minutes late. Nothing like getting to the stop before the lousy thing’s due and then waiting for the next one. Slowing down a wee bit to be on time is presumably waaaay too much to ask of a tram driver.

  8. @ french queen – I’ve misquoted it terribly, but from it’s the ”Pirate Code” conversation from the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” film. We love it in our house, partly because the line is delivered by the wonderful Geoffrey Rush, and partly because it’s so useful in defending breaches of the rules.
    Trams every 12 minutes, then every 27? Yeesh – why not round numbers??
    The other joke with our local buses is that when they arrive so close to each other they then leapfrog along the route, alternating which one stops to pick up passengers. I know this because – many times – I have sat in the bus and watched – in disbelief – as it happens. So then we have two buses 1 minute apart on the route, each half full. And only standing room in the one that is running late. Ridiculous.
    The thing I find frustrating is not, surprisingly, that the bus is late or early. It’s that I can never tell whether the earlier one will be late, or whether the later one will be early, if that makes sense. And why are there two of them coming around the corner together??
    Paris buses seem to run with a GPS in place – in the shelters there are displays with live info about when the next buses will arrive, and on the buses there is something similar, giving estimation on arrival times. And they are spot on. I’d love to see the NSW government or oppostion promise that at the next election. And then deliver.

  9. @ Sheryl – deliver? An Australian gummint deliver? Great Ceiling Cat, are you mad? It’d be the end of civilisation as we know it.
    I’d love to think the weird times with our trams reflected something worthwhile, like the actual running time from terminus to terminus. However not having taken my psychedelics today I’m not able to convince myself that it’s anything other than sheer perversity.
    I’d forgotten that line’s in Pirates! Haven’t seen that film for ages. First time I encountered the “they’re not rules, more like guidelines” was in one of the Discworld novels. Can’t recall specifics but someone was saying to a wizard “I know you can’t use magic on ordinary people, it’s against the rules.” Of course, the wizard zaps him and says “They’re more like guidelines, really …”
    I can’t find the line quoted but there’s a great page of Discworld quotations here:

  10. Oh, forgot to add – at least trams can’t do the leapfrog thing your buses do! :O

  11. I ask him to do something/to stop doing something five times and on the sixth I YELL my request/demand and he says ‘OKAAAAAAAAY, OKAAAAAAAAAAAAAY’ like I’ve unreasonably started using my Big Girl Voice for no reason.

    Oh, lordy, actors are like that, too.

  12. Off topic. Around here I figure the Yarra Tram tietables (sic) are aspirational (a little like Melbourne drivers and red lights). Yarra Trams have given up on days when there is an AFL game (isn’t that every day now) their timetables have a sign plastered on them saying they cannot keep to timetables because of the traffic on AFL days.
    On Topic. Bryan the Younger works to precise time (actually dad it is 7:21 not 7:20) and loves school, but no matter how many time we discuss responsibility we often get to school and find there is a music folder still on the keyboard or homework on the work desk. I refuse to go back and make him live with the consequences.
    Somehow it is also my responsibility (and one I refuse to accept) to keep the nintendo charged up and ready.

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