Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Dear Tardy-Pants Friend,

You're my friend, and I love you. I plan to spend many years enjoying your company, and I think you share the same sentiment. So bear that in mind as you prepare yourself for a little rollicking.

Put yourself in my shoes for a minute here...

I get a call at quarter to 12 from my husband saying he'll be home for lunch.
Me: Cool. Great. Will you be home by 12:15 so I can take G back to school? (without packing up other 3 children)
Him: Yes. 12:15. Sure.
My intuition: No, you won't.
Myself: Shut up and carry on.

The phone rings at 12:14 (No Lie!) and surprise, surprise...

Him: I'll be home in 10 minutes, Dear.
Me: So we'll be late for school then.
Him: No, can't you just pack up all the kids and go?
Myself: Dear, if I had an invention that got 4 kids dressed, seat belted, and free of minor last-minute emergencies in a van during a snow storm in the span on 1 minute, I would be retired.

So my daughter and a frazzled me arrive at school LATE. BUT I WAS NOT LATE. HE WAS LATE.

Not being a person of habitual lateness, maybe you can appreciate that situations like this drive me CRAZY. Now, I'm not a total psycho—I don't get all that excited about the occasional blip—we are all late sometimes, shit happens, we move on. What I am talking about is the sort of people who can NEVER be on time for anything, the people who think 4 o'clock means 5:30, the ones who roll into work at ten past on a good day, the people who run so late that they don't even show up, or if they do, they do so just as you're about to turn the lights out, the ones who arrive frazzled with excuses that they had to do this or that at the last minute or, worse, people who arrive hours late with no apology or explanation as to why the rules of punctuality don't apply to them. Sound familiar? If this is you, at this point maybe you're thinking one of two things:

1. I know. I know. I need to get my sh*t together and be on time. To which I have to reply—Yes. Please do that. Or...

2. What is the big deal if I'm a little late? Well, let me tell you...What is the most valuable currency known to the human race? No, not the Swiss franc. It is TIME. Dispute that, tardy-pans! And when we've set a time to do such-and-such and you are late, you are wasting MINE. My most valuable currency! And I have to say that it is not appreciated.

Now, I have to believe that you are not malicious—my own best friend and husband are part of this peculiar club of yours--so I'm going to go on two assumptions that:
a) it is your strapping (albeit misguided) sense of optimism as to how much you think you're going to accomplish before we've agreed to meet at 1:30, or that
b) you've simply lost track of time

But, you know what?? Neither of those things is OK!! because
a) I am amazed, AMAZED, in the WORST possible way, how one can nearly everyday for 10 years incorrectly forecast their ETA by a factor of 50%. When this has happened for 780th time, do you not rethink your optimism or the time it will take to complete a, b, and c? I have said this, but I will say it again, if you are a laggard lass/lad (and in my experience, people generally know this about themselves), please, PLEASE calculate your ETA and add 50%. Just DO it, because when you say you're going to be home in time to see the kids off the bus, that event happens at 3:30. So from that point on, I will begin arranging daily tasks (THOUSANDS of em!) with that time in mind and, more importantly, budgeting my patience to expire at precisely 3:30. So, when you stroll through the door at 5:15, YOU, not me, have made for a very unpleasant 105 minutes.

b) You lost track of TIME? You LOST track of TIME? YOU LOST TRACK OF TIME? How does that even happen? But, you know what? You do that, you lose track of time. On some level I am jealous of your ability to do that. You sleep in. Do nothing on weekends. Don't make plans. Eat lunch at 2pm. I don't care, but don't you dare lose track of MY time. When we've made a time-arrangement of whatever variety, I have made my most valuable currency available for you. I have showered at such and such a time, I've gotten my groceries earlier, I've arranged childcare, I've inconvenienced my loved ones, and, perhaps more poignantly have arranged NOT to do 1000 other pressing things in order that I might make time for you.

This may not be what you intend, in fact I'm pretty sure it isn't, but when the situation of me waiting on your sorry-ass arises time and time again, it is to me a suggestion that somehow you think your life/time/issues are more pressing or important than mine. We've all got deadlines, we're all busy, we've all got places to be, unexpected things come up, I get it! I get it because my life is no different than yours, so when you're asking for yet another extension on that project deadline, what else am I to assume? Because, miracly in my life I have NEVER required an extended deadline for anything, yet for you with tardy tendencies, you can rarely meet one. Is this because your lives are infinitely more pressed for time or that unexpected calamity befalls you at every deadline? Probably not. Or is it because you just didn't get your sh*t together?

So because, as I said in the beginning, I love you and wish to spend many years enjoying your company, can I give some suggestions that will help us relate more peacefully?

1. If you can't seem to meet a set time, don't set a time! Give me a ballpark. 'We will be there after 5', 'We'll come over when we're finished grocery shopping,' and for my benefit, if you are not here before such-and-such, I'm going to feel free to start without you.

2. If you know you're going to be late, LET ME KNOW. Give me a call, send a text, whatever. Because if I know that I have 20 minutes or 2 hours, I will do something else. Something productive! Something that is NOT waiting for you.

3. Get your sh*t together. This is your deal. Get a clock, an alarm, a reminder, start getting ready earlier, allocate more realistic time frames, whatever you need to do. There's probably an app out there ready to fix this for you. Get up at 6 AM if you need to, but, this part I have to leave for you figure out. I'd mind my own business, but my time IS my business.

Now don't get all like scared of me or forever-after hold me to some ridiculous high standard of on-timeness. There's bound be bumps on the road to punctuality for all of us, but, as I said, I value our relationship and wouldn't want to let this little annoyance fester in my back pocket and eat away that. It is not beyond me to take our time-arrangements with a grain of salt, and I have certainly learned to do that over the years, but, as a return favor, could you punch up the punctuality just a notch? Just sayin...

Love from your Punctual-Pants friend

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