I am often late. Very often. At least once a week I am late for something. Dates, parties, lunches,work, class. I have been fired for lateness. Twice. This year I started my first grown up job, teaching a class, and I am extremely embarrassed to admit this but I've shown up late to teach a few times as well. I was late, again, for the third or ninth or hundredth time for a lady date with my friend Sara last week, and the next day I was late picking up my husband, whom I hadn't seen in six months, from the airport.
I can't help it. It has nothing to do with you or them or anyone else except me. It's an illness and as hard as I try to control it, I just can't. I don't control the time and I barely control myself.
The reason I was late for my last lady date was because literally about ten things that I put off until the last minute snowballed and the next thing I know I'm in a nightgown at my office crying and texting Sara about being late. Things worked out, though, and we ate and went shopping and I bought a skirt. She bought a ceramic walnut.
The reason I was late picking up my husband was because I was putting on makeup and pretending I was on a TV show about putting on makeup and talking to a pretend audience about doing a perfect cat eye.
These things can't be helped.
I once talked to a friend whose boyfriend was, like me, chronically late. This made my friend angry. He was tired of being late to movies and dinners on account of his boyfriend, especially when his boyfriend would show up 40 minutes late with a cheeseburger and then want to eat it. He felt that his boyfriend was being disrespectful. I don't think that my friend's feelings were unfounded, and I think it's just to feel disrespected when you're waiting on someone who is often late, but please, consider that the chronically late absolutely do not mean to be disrespectful. We respect you a lot, and we value your time and presence. It's just that things happen that can't be helped, like snowballed responsibilities and pretend audiences who desperately need to know how to do cat eye makeup, and cheeseburger-related emergencies. Also the chronically late tend to be flighty, obtuse morons sometimes. See: Pretending to be on a TV show. See: Procrastinating for three weeks until the last minute.
For the last decade I've read a few times a very silly but beloved book called The Bombshell Manual of Style by Laren Stover. This book is a joke, but it's got a lot of charm and I love a manual of any kind (I have several). Someone gave it to me as a toss off Christmas gift, I think she may have even been regifting it to me, but I adored it immediately. Anyway, one section of the book is called "Things Bombshells Get Away With Ordinary Women Can't" and one of those items is "Showing up late, but not as late as divas". Even as a 16 year old non-bombshell I read this item and felt okay, because this was something that was ingrained in my DNA, not something I ~got away with~ or did out of spite or disrespect. It was just something that happened. The list explained, "She tries to be on time, she really does. But heels break, puppies slow her down and she can't resist picking up the phone if it rings when she's running out the door. Not stopping to talk to an elderly neighbor is unthinkable."
It's not on purpose, and it's not blatant disrespect. It just happens and I'm sorry. I'm sorry I parked my car in East Grand and forgot about it until two days later and 20 minutes before I was supposed to teach class. I'm sorry I wore heels on a slippery day and had to walk very slowly across campus so I didn't slip and fall and so I ended up being 15 minutes late to lunch. I'm sorry I had to change my outfit six times before I found something that worked just right and so we missed the trailers before the movie. I'm sorry I forgot to eat lunch and so on the way to your house I had to buy a sandwich and then eat it. I'm sorry. I wish things were different, I wish I was better with time and how I spend it, but I'm not, and if you love me you'll learn to lie and start scheduling things with me 20-40 minutes earlier so that I get there at a more reasonable time. And if we're early, we'll get a drink.
I love you. Maybe I'll start wearing a watch.