I am always early or on time and I come from a family that is always late – very, very late.
We have discussed this several times and my family feel I am lucky that I am always on time (apparently not realising that this takes effort) and feel that their always being late is more stressful for them than my always being early is for me.
With my job, I could never be a chronic latecomer. I have to arrive and leave on time. I would, quite literally, lose my job if I was often or always late. One of my colleagues was once 10 – 15 minutes late three times in a row to a client and our boss received a letter of complaint from the client.
It does happen that I am late – probably two or three times a year – due to public transport chaos related to weather or technical failure. But because it happens so seldom, people are always very understanding. So I can understand people being late now and then due to circumstances beyond their control.
But I cannot understand how people can be chronically late. If you know you have to be somewhere at a certain time, surely you work backwards and figure out exactly when you have to wake up and when you have to leave? And stick to those times, no matter how interesting a programme may be on television or whether you suddenly realise that the car needs a wash. If the phone rings as you are out the door, don’t answer it.
If I have to be somewhere at 8am I wake up at 6am and have my routine (feed and see to cats, feed and see to myself, shower and get ready, catch the relevant bus and train, allowing time for rush-hour, allow time to get through security etc). I am generally in place at 7.55am. Generally I am about 10 minutes early. It may not show, but it takes effort.
If my family has to be somewhere at 8am they wake up at 6am, go back to sleep, push snooze a couple of times more, get sidetracked watching television or reading the newspaper, start talking to the neighbour over the garden fence and end up arriving at 8.30am at the earliest. Generally they are one to two hours late for everything.
An example would be that we are going somewhere for the day. The previous evening there is an announcement that we will be leaving at 8am. The next day I am ready and waiting by 7.45am, not wanting to inconvenience anyone by being late. My family is still in bed. By 10am they are complaining that they hate being rushed (by me of course). They eventually leave at about 11.30am.
My thoughts about this are that I don’t care if anyone is late on their own time. It is their life and they can live it the way they choose. But when their timekeeping shows lack of respect for my time as well as their own, then it is my problem as well as theirs.
I feel the same about people smoking. I don’t mind if other people smoke. Their health is their concern. But when their smoking affects MY health because they want to smoke in my house or blow smoke in my face at the bus stop, then it is a no-no.
Over the weekend and on holiday when I have no places to be and no time to keep I also dawdle on as I please. I wake up when I want, do what I want when I want, and chores that need to be done can wait until the next day. I get going and go out when I get around to it and I can be hours later than I thought I would be. I sometimes end up in my pyjamas all day despite having vague plans to go out and do some shopping.
But when I have time to keep I have to be disciplined and I just don’t understand how some people don’t realise that being punctual does not just happen. It takes discipline. Like many other things – losing weight, studying, keeping fit, eating healthily.
I must add also that my family always being late can be a good thing for me too. If we are out shopping and they have to be somewhere to meet someone at a particular time but I need advice on what shoes to buy or would like to stop and get some body lotion at my favourite shop, my family will never make me feel rushed because they have time to keep. They will stop and help me choose my shoes (no matter how long it takes) and come with me to buy my body lotion. And for that I am endlessly grateful and I try to think of that every time I am waiting for them. And it probably makes me a giant hypocrite because I use their chronic tardiness to my own advantage when it suits me.
So, are you always late or always early?