Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ish People

Tell an Ish person to show up around 9 a.m., and you'll see them somewhere around 9 a.m. Tell them to show up at 9ish, and you'll see them anywhere from 9:05 to 9:20. You have given them license to dilly dally, and who wouldn't take advantage of that?

The other night at the big shindig dinner party, one of the drummers said the rehearsal the next morning would begin at 9ish. "I am an ish person," he says. Immediately the clanker goes off in my head--oh, good, I thought. I can deliver my daughter a little late. No Ish person is early, so if you say 9ish, that does not mean give or take 5, 10, 15 minutes. It's exclusively a taking phrase. Take an extra 10 minutes to drink your cup of coffee. We won't mind. We're Ish people.

Sunday's rehearsal started at 2:00. Because it was conducted by the same people who conducted the Saturday rehearsal, my understanding was 2-ISH. My daughter is worse than I am about taking liberties with Ish time frames, so she didn't protest when I dropped her off at the stage door at 2ISH, or so I thought. Later, one of the drummers noted that she was late, and I said, "No, she was there at 2ISH." And he said, "No, she was there more like 2:15."

So, exactly what does ISH mean, then, if it doesn't mean 5, 10, 15 minutes grace period? I'm all for promptness and responsible participation. When I am told my rehearsal begins at 7:15 p.m., I understand that I should be in my seat ready to warm up at 7, because a good musician is ready and alert 15 minutes early. That's the rule. But if my conductor were to tell me that rehearsal begins at 7:15 p.m.-ISH, well, then...I've got grace, and if I am not ready for the downbeat until 7:30, then I am still well within my rights as an ISH-time observer.

I guess I have misunderstood the Ish guidelines all of these years. I guess I have been taking more Ish liberties than I was allowed. What's the old line? You give them an Ish, and they'll take a mile. (that's so terrible, I'm ashamed of typing it, and I'm even more ashamed of giggling at my own bad joke).

I used to work with an editor who used the phrase Yackish as an exclamation or sometimes an adjective for something bad. "The color you have used on that title type is Yackish." But that usage is an entirely differently form.


dive said...

Hee hee. I do love a bad pun, Robyn.
To make things worse, I would have titled your post "Call me Ish-mail".
Hey, at least bad puns are better (just) than knob gags.

For the record, I'm right with you on "ish" being up to fifteen minutes later than "on the dot."

Robyn said...

I am afraid to ask what a knob gag is.

Sassy Sundry said...

Adding "ish" gives you permission to be late. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't know what they're talking about.

dive said...

"Knob" = "Penis", Robyn. Another one for our transatlantic dictionary.

Dear Prudence said...

I'm with you all too. Although, if you asked my boss Ish is anytime within that hour up until 3:00ish and then it just get worse from there.

Rich said...

does fetish fit into this catagory? I think I may be one of those folks.

adair said...

i must confess that i am entirely an ish-ite, whether it is specified or not. somehow, in my genetic makeup, childhood upbringing, or being entirely too preoccupied with 'thoughts' rather than linear time, i see absolutely nothing wrong arriving in the general vicinity of such and such time.

unfortunately, it is appearing that other ish-ites are disappearing nearly as fast as the natural redheads. oh, and my boss has consistent issues with my ish-ite-ery.

c'est la vie.

Old Knudsen said...

gagging, knobs, moby dick what have I come across?

Knob also means a toff, you know a posh gentleman.

I'm a right on time person, I make it my mission. If I say I'll do something, meet you at 9, then I will do everything in my power to be there at 9 or just before which is why I hate appointments with Doctors and such who make you wait a hour.

If I can make the effort then its only polite for the other person to do the same.
To an ish person I'll say "I'll be there between the hours of 7 to 4", and turn up the next day with no apologies.

Robyn said...

Old Knudson, Doctors are the worst. I am on time too, unless some one is foolish enough to give me a little play room.

Adair, I have stood in your shop chatting enough times with your boss tapping her foot, so I know what you mean.

Rich,I don't know what to say to that.

Prudence, that kind of person is beyond Ish. That was the point of my question, though--doesn't Ish mean something within a 15 minute range or so?

OK, Dive, anymore talk like that out of you, and you'll be banned. You have brought out the Old Knudson. Although I love the suggested title. I hadn't thought of that.

Sassy, agreed.

lynn said...

I bought my son a watch once - at every hour it said one ish, two ish and so on. Trouble was, dilly dallying out of school while i waiting impatiently outside in the car drove me insane - ish. So i bought him another.

I AM an ish person, but not necessarily about time. I'll answer with ish to just about anything that isn't a definite. How frustrating i hear you gasp. Well, ish, i suppose....

Shannon said...

I'm totally "ish", as you well know, and it's a thirty minute window, at least. My bosses have always been very understanding of my linear time disability, thank God.

However, I do have a new friend who is totally a kindred spirit in all other respects, but offended by my ishness. Tension has ensued.

And the Boyfriend, he just lies to me about when we are supposed to be somewhere. Builds in 30 minutes on the front end.

Gina said...

Yup, ish is permission to be late. No doubt about it.

However, I am so NOT an ish person.

Robyn said...

Oh Lynn, I cringed when you mentioned waiting for kids after school. That has got to be one of the most frustrating tasks of parenthood! I hate that. I once waited for my daughter for nearly an hour one day because she "forgot" I was waiting--I had to track her down in a panic thinking she had been dragged off by a predator.

Shannon, I know all about how your bosses have been understanding about your linear time. It's kind of funny to imagine boyfriend adjusting all the times 30 minutes ahead--clever man.

Gina, I'm going to start asking for a time definition when someone gives me an Ish on the clock.

lynn said...

It is frustrating Robyn and yes i can totally see you marching in, half annoyed half worried to death at where on earth she was. Then they tend to saunter up to you and say,
"oh yeah, sorry i forgot..."