You can tell from the headline that this post has great rant potential. You’d be correct. It’s not because someone in particular recently made me wait, stood me up or let me down, or at least not in particular.
I read in this Sunday’s USA Weekend an excerpt of an interview with model Naomi Campbell (there was a photo of her with it and it naturally caught my eye) who claimed her biggest flaw was “Most of the time, it’s punctuality, (the writer Gayle Jo Carter noted that the interview itself began twenty minutes late). I was lucky a lot of people forgave me.” Cue the sound of tires screeching to a halt. What???
Not to throw Ms. Campbell under the bus as I’ve never met her and know little about her although a quick check on her name brought up numerous incidents over the years of purported rudeness on her behalf. If Ms. Campbell is to go under that proverbial bus for lack of punctuality she has impressive amounts of company.
This thought coalesced for me after reading the article and thinking about a dinner I had this week with a very good friend who was right on time. I actually was coming from another meeting and was about 4 minutes late (it made me nuts). Ironically this friend for many years had the reputation of always being late. He even joked about it wearing it as some sort of personality adornment. It did not look as good on him as he might have hoped.
Anyway as I sat down he smiled and said he’d only been there five minutes – on time and that it was a representation of the ‘new him’. And that was true since the past four or five times we’ve gotten together he’s been right on time. I wonder how hard it is/was for him to change that habit? It shows that people, if they really want to and make an effort, can change what is one of the most inconsiderate things a person could do – not respect someone else’s time.
I consider myself lucky as most of the people I am friendly with and do business with are respectful of my time and that courtesy is returned (or initiated) by me as I simply cannot operate any other way. My family and I all take that very seriously and when we make appointments, or are invited someplace you can count on us being there five to fifteen minutes early if not more. 1
It’s not difficult if you make it your personal responsibility to be on time. (Not leaving it to your agent or handlers to manage). The habitually late people know who they are. How they can live with themselves being that ‘type’ of person mystifies me.
Does it bother you?