Saturday, 30 July 2022

Running late or on time?

Apparently one of the curious side effects of Covid19 is that people are running "fashionably" late, or just late. It is said that this is something to do with people being at home more often, having to work from home, not going out to other events as much - and more.

I have been aware of this. I have arranged to meet someone in order to do something with them or for them - and they are late. Someone will tell me that they will call me with a decision that affects me at a certain time - and they don't do it until the following day. I might even need to follow something up because they are so late - and that can be embarrassing for both of us.

We are all late sometimes, unavoidably late. We can also be a few minutes late...say two or three minutes. That's probably acceptable because there can be the days when you get every red light or the phone rings as you are going out the door and it could be the person you are about to meet.

When I was doing my teacher training I was working as a junior housemistress in a boarding school for girls. Punctuality when I was on duty was essential. There were four junior housemistresses and we all missed being on time once - in my case a phone call from my mother demanding I do something. We would, rightly, be reprimanded - because the safety of others was our responsibility. 

I was never on duty on Tuesday nights because I babysat elsewhere those nights. They were family friends and K..., knowing I needed the money, was paying me a small sum to do it. It wasn't much but it helped. It was the money that paid for my bus fares to and from teacher training college. K...'s wife B... was a person who was (and still is) chronically late for everything. K...would tell her they needed to be somewhere half an hour before they actually had to be there in an attempt to get her there somewhere close to the time set. I could never work out what it was that delayed B... She always seemed to be busy, always in a rush. 

In this family Middle Cat is also chronically late. My youngest nephew once stated something that has become a family joke, "There is ordinary time. There is Greek time. There is Mum time." (Middle Cat is married to the son of Greek-Cypriot migrants.) Middle Cat gets sidetracked. She talks to people - a lot. If we need to go somewhere together and we need to be on time I always suggest leaving much sooner than would normally be necessary. My brother calls this "doing a K...".

I am not perfect of course. Who is? I try to be organised but it doesn't always work. I do try very hard to be on time. I would rather spend fifteen minutes hidden around a corner than arrive five minutes late. Inevitably though I can be late like anyone else. Creeping into a meeting which has already started however is something I find cringe worthy.

Being deliberately late because it is somehow "fashionable" seems just plain rude to me.


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