As someone who is never on time for anything, this article is coming from a meaningful place deep within me. Here’s the thing about unpunctuality; it’s not that I enjoy being late, it’s more to do with the mind-numbing dreariness of being early. The prospect of sitting around and making small talk while waiting for everyone else to arrive is enough to make me glassy-eyed and drool with boredom. For me, personally, this bad habit stemmed from years and years of being that kid who had to wait around for forever at the main entrance for their parents to pick them up. Then later on, before I got my driver’s license, being that employee who was always waiting by the stairs up to an hour before the office even opened because that was the only time my father could send me. Looking back and thinking of that huge chunk of my life spent waiting on other people just sends shudders through my spine.
I know what you’re thinking, how absolutely selfish of me to make other people wait for me considering the main reason I’m late is because I abhor waiting for other people. Being punctual should be a quality that is embedded into my very being after all those years of training. However, somehow along the years, after I turned eighteen, learned how to drive and became the manager of my own time, the exciting idea that I no longer had to wait for anyone became so ingrained into me that I no longer remember doing it any other way. And in the beautiful words of songbird Sam Smith, I know I’m not the only one.
If you’re always running off the clock as well, here are five relatable situations that we constantly find ourselves in as a result of our tardiness:
- Having to put on a thick face
As consistent latecomers, we’ve mastered the art of charm from all the smiling and head-bowing and sheepish apologizing we have to do from unceremoniously crashing in after everything has already started. Each time you arrive ten minutes late you think to yourself, “Maybe this will be the time I finally master the art of creeping”; but it never is. Thanks to squeaky doors and creaky floors, maybe even the sound of you hyperventilating and respiring on overdrive if you’ve been running, there will always be irritated early birds turning around to give you the self-righteous evil eye. But as a seasoned late comer, you’ve also learned to tune that out.
- Finding comfort in seeing other people you know running late
We all know that moment. You’re already running twenty minutes late for an important event and cursing and swearing fit to burst when suddenly you see a familiar face ahead of you. You call out their name and a feeling of mutual relief washes over the both of you as you secretly placate yourselves with the idea that you’re not alone in this. Together you mentally take each other’s hands and brace yourselves for whatever fate awaits the both of you time abusers.
- Missing out and never knowing what people are talking about
When you finally roll up forty-five minutes late to a party you were sure was going to be boring and someone says, “Oh no! You missed it! Stephanie just got engaged/ Steven just announced he has six months to live/ Gigi’s water broke and she had her baby in the bathtub!” That feeling of genuine remorse and guilt at missing out on a pivotal moment and cutting yourself short usually has you headbanging with regret on the inside and only gets worse every time you hear another secondhand recollection from somebody else.
- Thinking you’ve allocated your time perfectly and forgetting that there are other drivers on the road
You jolt out of your dreamy slumber bleary-eyed with exhaustion fifteen minutes later than anticipated. It’s fine, you can make it, you just have to cut some corners here and there in the process. You jump into your car in record time, only eight minutes off-schedule. You yell, you enunciate all your curses and you wave your hands in the air, hoping the drivers in front of you might catch a glimpse of you in the mirror and be intimidated into moving a little bit faster but it doesn’t work. You might as well be arriving to your meeting in a tractor. You then make a mental note to remind yourself to always give yourself an extra five minutes and take into account the other slow poke drivers that you’ll have to mind when on the road.
- Making vows to yourself
Every time you hand in shoddy last-minute work or miss out on another important moment, you promise yourself that the next time you’ll start a week ahead or that you’ll leave the house earlier. You tell yourself that you could reach your full potential if only you gave yourself enough time to collect your thoughts, instead of moving around like a hurricane. You make another self-promise that you will not only try harder to make yourself but also other people happy by showing up extra early the next time. Because life is too short to keep on making yourself deal with all the complications and awkwardness otherwise.