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.