Saturday, December 4, 2010

Walking Late

I have one true thing that I can't stand about my husband. Just one, but it drives me crazy. He's chronically late. And his lateness makes me late, which drives me further insane. Before I was part of "we", I was always on time. Now we can't ever seem to be anywhere on time and I blame him. For him, five minutes late is "on-time" and is usually cause for celebration. I'm pretty sure if it wasn't for me reminding him its time to leave, he would never actually leave. Its become his signature; he's always late.

Its no surprise that my best friend is also notoriously late. I seem to attract late people. My best friend is at least predictable though. I can firmly count on an hour past whatever time she swears she will be there. And I've learned that when she calls me from "Oaks" on her way, she is really just pulling out of her driveway, still a good 20 minutes from the Oaks exit. But, she does always call while I'm waiting for her. In fact, she usually calls several times to let me know while I'm waiting that she's still not there - Thanks. My husband does the same thing to me when I'm waiting for him. His patented move is to call me when he should be arriving to tell me that he hasn't left yet.

But that's the thing. All this mobile technology at our fingertips allows people to no longer really care that they're late. They can always just call or text that there's a delay. We've all done it in those scenarios where the unexpected happens and we're held up. But I think chronically late people take advantage of being able to communicate that they're late. There's no sense of urgency that they are keeping someone waiting. I've never seen my husband or my best friend rush because they were running late. Its more like they are just walking late, and they'll call ahead to let you know that they won't be there on time. Apparently in the minds of tardy people, a text or phone call telling you they are late is as good as being on time.

I read an article recently in The Wall Street Journal, "Sick of This Text: 'Sorry, I'm Late'". I was happy to see that finally someone else identified a problem here. But the article was of little help to people on the waiting end of chronic lateness. According to the article, my husband and my best friend both have "T.E.D." - Time Estimation Disorder. But there's little treatment for this affliction, other than better planning. My husband read the article and recognized that he has this disorder, but has not attempted any of the suggested tips. The article also listed "Coping Strategies" for those of us waiting for late people. Unfortunately, I've already tried most of these strategies. I've lied about the start time and I've also just plain left without my late people. But to no avail, late people just don't see a real reason to try to change. The only "Coping Strategy" left is to just love them, flaws and all. Because they will still walk in whenever they get there. And in the mind of a late person, if they got the message to you on time that they are late, are they really late?

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