TARDINESS.

I haven’t ranted in a while. I do miss it so let me get back on that horse. This subject was born from something that happened today.

I am a diehard Montréalais and I live in a very busy area surrounded by a university campus and 3 major hospitals. This geographical fact makes owning a car futile; therefore, I use the often-great public transportation system offered at a rather good price by my city and province.

Today, however, the bus that takes me home was quite late. There I was, waiting for a bus that wouldn’t arrive, after 45 minutes well spent at the gym. I was tired so I was slightly irritable. Since I like to keep my cool as to not raise my blood pressure to avoid having an aneurysm, I took the metro instead. I got home safe and sound albeit a bit late, which technically didn’t ruin anything for me. This bus made me think of tardiness.

Tardiness. Being late. I cannot stand it. I hate it, I despise it. Tardiness makes my blood boil and the savage part of me wants to come out and commit some illegal and harmful acts. Relax!!! It never comes out. Moreover, it doesn’t anger me as it used to do. I guess I am getting older and wiser.

Now, let’s make a few things clear before I get called elitist like some weird guy called me on twitter. Apparently, according to this guys, being on time is being elitist. My mind ran out of insults to direct at this guy and put him back in his place. So, I, myself, am late every now and then. It happens. I am human, like everyone else. We are all late at some point in our lives. It is ok. Unexpected things happen all the damn time and we adjust, which means we are late. I get it. Most people, when they see they might be late, they call, text or email the person they are meeting. It is a common courtesy. You must let the other person know what happened and you must apologize. It is called savoir vivre. It is an admirable act and it should be applauded. I have nothing but respect for people who take the time to call the other party.

However…There are some people…I will try and be nice but I know I will not be. Their tardiness is a habit, a pattern. They seem content with never or rarely being on time. They don’t seem to care how their tardiness affects others. Yes, there are some people who are late more often than others. One could believe that some people have made being late into a sport and/or a specialty. Some might even do it on purpose! How can you be systematically late???

I am not afraid to say it is mostly African people who do that. Yes, they are fucking late all the goddamn time! I have come to learn that tardiness is directly proportionate to the level of melanin in skin cells! There is no gene for tardiness, but I could swear there was!

Allow me to be clear: tardiness is annoying, disrespectful, hurtful, stupid, irritating, unprofessional, rude, inconsiderate and I fucking hate it. By being late, you are affecting the other person’s day, plans and even mood. I am not talking on someone else’s behalf, to be clear. I am talking about something that annoys the fuck out of me! Yes, it is something that gets to me!

What stops people from being on time? Technically, nothing. The same people who are late at any event, are rarely late at work. Why? Is it because work pays you but a wedding or a funeral or a birthday dinner doesn’t? What kind of logic is that? Why would you be late to a friend’s party and be on time at work, to a company you don’t probably even own and don’t care about outside of your usual 9 to 5 schedule? Why is that? We all have phones today and those damn phones show the time on their screen! We even have alarms and reminders!! What is the damn excuse? Please, enlighten me.

What is the excuse for being late often or systematically? I will answer that: THERE ISN’T ONE! Aside from the occasional and unexpected event, there is no reason to be late all the time or often. Take time seriously. We all know how a watch works, how time works, how driving and public transportation work, hell, there are apps that tell you how long the trip will be! So, what is the damn excuse? AGAIN, THERE ISN’T ONE!

Most people are late because of their environment, society’s rules and the importance that society puts on time. I get it. I am from one of those countries myself. It seems African societies don’t care much about time, because according to another genius, whose name shall remain a secret, the division of time as we know it today, was brought by colonizers as opposed to the African concept of time which isn’t linear but rather circular. I almost pulled my nonexistent hair out when I read that. So, for the love of all the Gods, spare me that idiotic excuse! How come you never miss a flight or a job interview? Please…

If you know that you take your sweet time to get ready, start getting ready earlier. If you have trouble being on time, sincerely set your watch ahead as a last resort! Perhaps by thinking you are late, you might rush. How about setting an alarm, a reminder, anything? YouTube and books can help manage your time better than I ever could. There are even apps for time management!

There is one thing I have learned: any behavior can be unlearnt according to psychologists. Why not unlearn this filthy and disrespectful habit? Being on time isn’t a weakness. “I don’t want to be the first one there!”. Why not? You are not stupid because you are on time. Stop with that mentality. Being on time is a sign of respect and self respect. Being on time is cool. It isn’t elitist! I am judging those who are rarely on time. Well, call me elitist if you want! It doesn’t matter to me!

It used to irritate me to my very core but now, I have found a remedy to it. If you are late consistently, I will not hang out with you nor will I pick you up if I have a car, I will ask someone else to do it. That is how I deal with the matter, by being selfish! I am not going to let someone else’s habit mess with my mood! For my own peace of mind, we are not going to hang out. If you don’t bother showing on time, let’s be acquaintances that see each other as infrequently as possible. That is elitist too? Pfffff, it doesn’t matter to me!

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile, try not to be late and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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