Sorry I’m late, again!

Sorry I’m late, again!

By Job Patstone

Every morning it’s the same thing, she runs by my house, coat half buttoned, purse dangling and swaying from her left shoulder and a coffee in her right hand. The coffee has a lid on it so it doesn’t spill, and the purse appears to be well clasped which is a good thing, because otherwise all her belongings would be sprawled across the street and probably covered in café latté. She’s running because she’s late for her bus, which means if she misses it she’s probably also going to be late for work. It’s all part of her morning routine, she’s used to it, she doesn’t change and she probably never will, and she obviously doesn’t care.

ClockAnd the time I had a dinner party for a group of people that my wife and I had scheduled to commence at around 5pm. We left some room for lateness up until approximately 5:30, just in case someone had trouble finding the place. This was a few years back when it was almost fashionable to be late. I’m OK with being a little late, a last minute glitch which maybe couldn’t be avoided, or a weather problem, or maybe some unexpected traffic etc. A little late is probably acceptable, but of course it depends for what.

In my case it was a dinner party for six people where things were being cooked and prepared in a manner that was important for the hosts and guests alike. As it turned out, the company finally arrived an hour later, well passed my flexible 5:30 “late allowance”. I got no phone call, no warning, nothing. Of course the supper was pretty much ruined and the wine bottles had already been opened making the whole evening pretty much a disaster, not to mention the mood my wife was in. They arrived late because of one person who already knew where I lived, so finding the place was not an excuse, and nor was the weather. It was just plain disrespectful, and unconditionally insulting. Being late for anything is pretty much lame on the part of the guilty individual or individuals.

Is it alright to be late for a class, for a meeting, for a bowling match or for a lecture? Of course not, but some people always are and they always say they’re sorry, but are they really? Are they sorry for themselves or for the fact that everyone else was on time and they’ve probably disrupted something that has already started because everyone was tired of waiting and had other things to do after the event?

Sporting matches are scheduled to start at a given time for a reason, as are speeches, meetings and movies etc. There is no leeway for lateness, but somehow there are those, who because of poor planning or whatever, always manage to arrive late, no matter what.

I enjoy going to movies but I don’t like it when someone arrives in the dark, and obliges me, and or others, to stand up or squeeze into contortions so they can get to a seat which they wouldn’t have chosen in the first place if they’d arrived on time. It’s typical, “sorry, sorry, oops, sorry, thank you, sorry, blah, blah, blah.” The movie has already started folks, either go back home, or wait for the next showing, please. I know, you couldn’t find a parking spot, or the traffic was worse than you had expected, or the ticket lineup was longer than you imagined, but you know what? You’re late and I don’t care why. I was here on time and so was everyone else, so your late problem has also become everyone else’s problem.

In Wonderland, there was the rabbit whose favorite song was, “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date”, and yes it was part of his character, and I think it’s probably the same syndrome that affects all those who are habitually late. With all our new technology, there really is no excuse anymore.

Don’t be sorry folks, just be on time.

Categories: News, Opinion

About Author

Job Patstone

Job Patstone was born in Hamilton, ON. and has lived in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer AB. He is presently living in Quebec City, with his wife. He worked for Xerox for 26 years and was an ESL teacher for another ten.

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