I was in the midst of fighting a valiant fight against being late, occasionally winning, sometimes losing, when I chanced upon an article in the London Times. The article called out being late as a “moral failing.” (“Being late isn’t just rude — it’s a moral failing” by Charlotte Ivers, May 7, 2023, The Sunday Times)
A part of me, the part that tried to justify something that should not nor could be justified, cried foul. “Hey! It’s not right. It’s just one woman’s opinion,” I even said to myself out loud. But in my heart of hearts and bone marrow of bone marrows, I knew she was correct. Being late isn’t just a rotten thing to do, it’s a wrong thing to do.
Confession: I used to see a psychiatrist whose feelings I used to hurt when I would show up late for our appointments. I was not horribly late (justifying my actions here, but I would sometime be about 5 to 7 minutes late for these 50 minute sessions), but he would get huffy. Like, his feelings were genuinely hurt, as if we were close friends and it was personal. It is true that he was not a great psychiatrist — I knew waaaaay too much about his personal life and his political views and his inner thoughts, but it was never personal. It was also true that I would call to say I was running late. I still always call people waiting on me to say I am running late. And if they are a doctor, instructor, hairdresser, or any other professional who sets appointments with clients, I offer that if possible or necessary, we can reschedule at their convenience. This doesn’t excuse my tardiness, but it does soften it, right?
This lousy habit is a Johnny-come-lately problem, just becoming an issue in the last 3 years or so. I was never late when I used to work outside of the house. But now, as I am pushing 60 years of age, I feel as if I’ve been cursed. And it boils down to why. Why, all of a sudden, this bizarre, rude change of lifestyle? I know I was raised better than that.
My parents are and always were punctual people. Punctuality is the trait of royalty, I was always told, and I always believed that to be a good trait. You know, throwing a hissy fit is a trait we don’t try to emulate, being on time is good thing. However, as a person who always carries a book with her, I don’t mind if someone who’s supposed to have lunch with me is a few minutes late. Actually, thinking…