26.4.08

Too little, too late

You know how relationships can go sour, with diminished expectations and hurt feelings because the other person isn't delivering as promised? And then, just when you've decided that the relationship Must End, something improves? The question then becomes "is this too little, too late"?

I've seen this in personal relationships (I've probably even been the guilty party in a few). Those can be the most difficult to end, because of the emotional investment over time. It's even worse if you've shared difficult times or had children or lived together. Worse still is when you have mutual friends that don't see the inequity or problems that you feel are blatantly there.

Work relationships are also difficult, because these are the people with whom you spend most of your weekday waking hours. There's the boss/supervisor who's been a royal pain but once you've decided to leave (with or without telling them) they're remarkably nicer... the employee on their last warning regarding lateness or attitude that suddenly desires overtime... the company that has bad benefits/pay scale that announces that they've decided to improve things. I could go on, but again, you've been there probably as much as I.

Today I experienced one of those "too little, too late" moments with a tv series. Thing One's back from his holiday and I realized I hadn't watched a show we watch together. It just completely slipped my mind. This show isn't one of the greats, it's never had wonderful acting or exciting plots or even believability in its favor, but it was fun to watch. This season, despite being broken up by the strike, hasn't been one of the worst, but it's not been one of the best either. Still, recent episodes have been pretty good and there are hints that this season will end well. But for me, it's too little, too late.

There's a thread over at GoodReads on "authors you keep reading even though you have no idea why" that I love. There are authors and series that I keep reading beyond what's reasonable because... well, because. Anne Rice, for one (I gave up after Tale of the Body Thief). And I've kept up with Martha Grimes because her non-Jury based mysteries hinted at better Jury's to come (and in a minor way, that's been true). The Cat Who whatevered can continue to sleuth, but count me out. I did read all of Harry Potter, but really didn't want to. There are sequels to books that I've read and just know I'm not reading the rest of that series. The bigger problem is when I'm professionally obligated to read, as with Harry Potter or Lemony Snickett (to name two).

The thing is, "too little, too late" can apply to almost any relationship you're in. It can happen with doctors, who go from never seeing you on time to having an efficiently run waiting room on your last visit. It can happen with mechanics, who miraculously have your car ready on time just as you've decided to find a new one. I'm finding that as I get older, it's easier to say "too late" than it is to hold on. In so many ways, I've reached my breaking point and it's easier to not do anything than it is to keep trying. What about you?

2 comments:

camillofan said...

I've experienced the phenomenon with both TV series and authors. I've also had it with students (ones who do minimal effort in the beginning of the course, then put on the blitz at the end and want me to spot them the points they need to succeed). Oh, and our minister's sermons have suddenly (and finally!) started getting better right after he announced (to the relief of many) that it might be time for him to retire.

I don't think I've experienced this with a one-on-one personal relationship, though. Interesting...

Kar said...

I relate to your comment about not wanting to give up on something or someone because of the time invested. I've started asking myself "does it add value to my life" and "if I drop [fill in blank], what would the impact on my life be." It has made it easier to give up on books and shows I'm not enjoying. I've made those decisions a few times in personal relationships as well. I no longer have the energy for exhausting, melodramatic people.