Friday, May 2, 2014

Saving the temporally atypical

There is the old joke that a guy who never shows up on time would be “late for his own funeral.”  Wouldn’t most people if they had a choice?

Everyone who has done comp for awhile knows some people   are temporally-challenged and others are not.  The autism world divides people as neuro typical and neuro atypical.  The same could apply to people who are temporally atypical.  Every court clerk has a post-it-note of shame of those attorneys who are “never on time.”    There are those who tardiness is not a badge of shame but a lifestyle.  There are those who find "clock" just not in their dictionary of life.    It has caused much stress to the defense, who often sigh outside chambers and look at their watches like they are producing a repetitive trauma disorder, while foot dragging attorneys circle the court house over and over again hunting for parking meters with time still left on them. 
Comp, thank goodness, has made great strides to accommodate the temporally atypical.  Rules that are  hard and fast like statute of limitations and notice are often only aspirational.     Many socially conscious judges understand that disparate impact these ‘rules’ have on people who can’t do anything on time.   No one has been more understanding  of helping those afflicted than the docket clerks who let cases go on for years because there’s no need to rush anything.  It might just give someone an ice cream headache.  This tendency to show up late has caused many atypicals to lose their jobs and swell the ranks of the chronically unemployed. 

Many case managers who have an important job to do don't understand the temporally atypical worker.  They expect patients to be present on time, to show up for appointments, to give adequate time to get from point A to point B.  They get indignant at wounded workers and start talking about unreasonable refusal to treat or comply with care.    Some even cite 287.140.5 that not showing up and missing appointments is a “refusal” to treat to support suspending benefits.    Showing up late is rude.  It disrespects the physician who is trying to sandwich in another 999 surgeries before ending the work year in September and snowbirding to Naples.  But is it refusal?   Is singing “Sweet Home Alabama” acapella a “refusal” to taking a breathalyzer?  We all know the answer to that.
Some people lollygag and procrastinate.  Those people deserve to be tied to a whipping post. But the truly disabled afflicted with temporal atypicality deserve reasonable accommodation.  As long as they get to work before their lunch break should be good enough unless the employer gives them a schedule and underlines in red “we really mean it.”  Time clocks are the scarlet letter of discrimination.  Case managers need to get on board with this and inform them every appointment is actually 30 minutes earlier than it actually is so they show up on time.   They need special modifications on googlemaps that every trip is really twice as long.    Their marriages are often doomed without extra sessions of pre-cana  because mixing the typical and atypical is just like playing with antimatter. 

What do you do with a “problem” like the temporal atypical?  First they are not a ‘problem.’  They are only a ‘problem’ to the temporally minded world which cannot expect people who act, think and behave in a different temporal mode.    They are not a problem.  The problem is viewing them as a problem.     They are not a population who reads time management best sellers and suddenly is born again on time.  It is their nature.   It’s a right handed world lecturing southpaws to just “get over it”.   They cannot deny who they are.  Well now they know.  Let it go.  Let it go. 
Today is the time to make a difference.  And if today is not the day, then whenever.