Monday, 21 December 2009

I'm late, I'm late for a very important date

As it's a festive week my plan was to be all sugar and sunshine, but I have a gripe I really need to air. Something that really makes my blood boil. I'm generally a flexible, tolerant person, but there are a few behaviours I abhor in other people. Besides the list of usual suspects - violence, racism, etc, etc - I really, really hate lateness. I hate it with a passion.

Today I had an early appointment, it was made early as this person had a busy day and it was the best time for her. Fine, I thought, I'm up with the birds anyway. So after rushing around getting the kids ready and tidying the house for the cleaner (yes, I relented) and getting myself ready, I drove across the city at 7am to drop the kids off at my mum's and then got on public transport to make my appointment in time. Phew! I got there with a few minutes to spare so I waited and I waited and I waited. After waiting 45 minutes the woman finally showed up. No apology, no nothing.

It seems that punctuality is meaningless these days. Quite a few people I know have told me they think that it's strange when people turn up on time. A lot of people I know are late as part of the course, that's just how they operate.

To me, being late is the height of rudeness. Being late shows that you have zero respect for the person you are meeting. The person you're meeting means so little to you that you can't get yourself ready in time to meet when you say you will. They mean so little that you don't care if they are left waiting and that the rest of their day is put out. To me, being late is self-absorption, pure and simple. Being late means you don't care, full-stop. Harsh words, I know, but I just don't understand how people can turn up long after a scheduled time without apology or explanation and be completely blase about it, like it's not important.

I understand there are times when it's out of someone's control. Hell, I have been late because of unforeseen circumstances. When this happens I call or text and let the person know. The times when I am late, I absolutely hate it. I feel terrible and it's something I always try to avoid. I also understand that when you have children things can be a bit more challenging - you don't know when kids will wake from their naps, how long it will take to coerce them into the car or shovel food in their mouths. That's why when I make arrangements with mums I always say something like "Let's meet at 10.30ish". Ten minutes here or there for a park visit is nothing.

But there is nothing like being made to feel completely worthless when you've been sitting in a restaurant for 45 minutes and you call your dining companion to make sure they're OK and get told: "I'm just walking out the door now...." In my book that's as bad as turning up to the restaurant and blowing your nose without a tissue, then plonking your feet up on the table while belching loudly.

There has been a lot in the press recently about the loss of manners and good etiquette. I have to agree that the value of punctuality is something a lot of people need to be reminded of.

I feel better now, but I must dash as I have another appointment and don't want to keep them waiting. Tomorrow I will lighten the mood with my tale of festive cheer.


  1. Totally agree - I loathe lateness. I'm always early, which makes any lateness appear even worse. I'd be hopping mad if that happened to me too! And in the week leading up to Christmas when time is like gold dust - completely inexcusable!!!

  2. I could have written your post! Except for the bit about the appointment that is! Anyway I agree wholeheartedly, being late late is extremely rude, habitually late is even worse. I grew up in a house where we were as a family always late b/c of my mother, and whilst she has improved over the years, it has left me with an almost anxiety disorder about being late for someone else! So I too abhor it in other people and would rather be 20 mins early than 1 minute late (and then I would have called or texted too, as well as broken out is a sweat and quite possibley hives!) Neurotic much?

  3. A-FREAKIN-MEN!!!! I totally agree, I hate being late, and I hate waiting for late people, and I especially hate when it's through no external force other than their own rudeness. And I ESPECIALLY HATE BEING MARRIED TO ONE!!! My husband is constantly late, and constantly making me late, tohugh not as much now, as I don't rely on him anymore. He says it just that he's busy, and can't see it's because he is too easily distracted and can't see how it is actually rudeness. You phrased it so well in your post, I'm going to show THAT to him, and maybe it will sink in.

    Geez, sorry about the novel of a comment!


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