Mistress of the Mix Best of: Running Late

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Four years ago, when  my daughter was a few months away from going off to university, people warned me. “Prepare yourself,” they said. “She might get a little lippy with you. It’s just her way of starting to spread her wings before she leaves the nest.”

My daughter?

Never. Most respectful kid on the planet.

Then one Thursday morning, I was sitting at the kitchen counter, doing what I do every morning. Sipping coffee and Facebooking. I said, “Hey Sophia, what should I write about for this week’s column? Give me some ideas.”

She looked at me, eyebrows raised, and said in an exasperated tone, “Really, mom? Why do you always wait until the last minute?”

My daughter, my precious little angel, was calling me out on my crap. So cute. So annoying.

Not that she doesn’t have a point.

For the last umpteen years, as long as she’s been alive, basically, I’ve been the kind of person who pushes deadlines.

For 13 years, I dropped my daughter off at school with less than 5 minutes to spare every time. Sometimes I had to call the office and explain her my tardiness.  If I have somewhere to be 15 minutes away at 7pm, I leave the house at 6:45. I never show up early to anything, just ask my husband. He will totally back up my daughter on this one. If you asked him what he likes least about me it would be that I never show up early, and sometimes I’m late.

I’m the 14 year old who showed up to the premiere of the first Indiana Jones movie just as he was moving the monkey idol off of its stand in the cave, so I watched Harrison Ford run from the giant rolling boulder while standing in the middle of the aisle holding a giant tub of popcorn, much to the irritation of pretty much everyone else behind me in the theatre.

I’m the student who totally should’ve been appointed as Editor-In-Chief of my high school newspaper, and wasn’t. When I asked my journalism teacher why I ended up being appointed as Editorial Editor instead, Mr. Wells said, “You’re good, but you never make your deadlines!” Couldn’t argue there.

I’m the gal who missed the only northbound flight out of town to Seattle to attend a wedding and sat crying on the sidewalk in front of the airport because I didn’t realize just how early I had to show up to get through security.

I’m the gal who once (and only once) showed up 15 minutes after I was supposed to be onstage to introduce a performance at the Cascade Theatre. And if you’re wondering, yeah, the show will go on without me. You should’ve seen the look on Todd Tracy’s face when I walked in the door. “Are you here to introduce the show?” he said. Of course I was! “No you’re not,” said Todd.


So there you have it. It’s been well established. There are plenty of witnesses ready and willing to testify that I’m almost never early, usually there at the last possible moment, and often-times a moment too late.

But not today, friends. I got this puppy finished long before my deadline…whatever my deadline is, I’m not even sure. Seems like usually I’m up until almost midnight, long past the time that Doni has gone to bed, and my column usually ends up in the inbox of her son Joe, who’s just waking up to his Friday in the Czech Republic. Not this time, Joe. Not this time.

All hope is not lost for me though. I hope. I figure I’m just setting myself up to someday live up to my favorite quote of all time, no matter who you think said it first: motorcycle racer Bill McKenna (who’s version involves skidding to the finish line leaking oil), Seattle octogenarian Mavis Leyrer (who’s version adds a glass of bubbly in hand and yelling “Holy Shit!”), or gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s weirdly tame version:

By the way, the reason I was able to meet my deadline this week is because originally I wrote this column back in 2015. This past week I’ve been working out of the Ashland studios during the Jefferson Public Radio Spring Fund Drive, and knew I wouldn’t have time to think about anything else but raising a few hundred thousand dollars to keep public radio on the air. There was no way I’d get a column in. I let Doni know that she probably wasn’t going to hear from me this week, and she sweetly suggested that I revive a column from the “Best Of” files. I thought about it for about 30 seconds this morning as my husband was spoon feeding me scrambled eggs as I put on my mascara and raincoat. Never gonna happen, I thought.

I ran out the door, jumped into my car, raced down the hill and skidded into a parking space in the lot across from the studio. My boss saw me as I rushed in the door, looked at his watch, raised an eyebrow, and said, “Don’t you think you should get into the studio? You’re on in less than five minutes.”

Holy Shit, I thought. Five minutes to spare? Where’s my glass of bubbly?

Enjoy today’s Running Late playlist, which is not, coincidentally, late at all. Just click on the Spotify play arrow in the box below, or scroll through the list to check out the songs.

Valerie Ing
Valerie Ing has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
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10 Responses

  1. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    I don’t expect anyone under the age of 80 to recall ‘TILL THE END OF TIME” Perry Como (1945) Based on a Chopin Polonaise. Well, and then there’s that C&W classic, SLOWPOKE .. . . which I think was probably written by your husband. . . . and I hope the fundraiser si a ROARING success!!!

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      I’m still under 80 but certainly know ‘Til The End of Time. But any music after about 1965, and I’m at a loss. Then there’s the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland singing “I’m Late, I’m Late For a Very Important Date.” And “Time Was” by Helen O’Connell. And “Time to Say Goodbye.”

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        How could I have forgotten “As Time Goes By”

        • Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

          Especially the Rod Stewart version with that great violin solo in the middle. (LOL!)

          • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

            My sister introduced me to Rod Stewart’s CD that contained his version. I listened to the CD on my drive back to Redding from Oak Harbor, Washington. Good company!

    • Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

      I’m adding these, thanks for the suggestions!

  2. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    I’m not comfortable unless I’m at least 10 minutes early, and over the years, it’s been a source of stress for me to get my wife and son out of the door in time.

    That changed abruptly about a year and a half ago. Now, they usually depart the house at *least* twenty minutes early.

    I’m afraid that they may be the victims of alien abduction.

  3. Avatar Gary Tull says:

    When heading somewhere in a hurry, I always think of Harry Nilsson’s – ‘Gotta Get Up’.