Monday, April 21, 2014

Unfashionably Late vs. Unwaitably Late

Sometimes I walk into certain meetings, chaired by certain people, 5 to 10 minutes late. Just to make a statement.

I don’t like when people show up to plans too early, especially when the plans are at my home, and I’m still setting or tidying up. My rough definition of “too early” is more than 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

My rough definition of “too late” is more than 15 minutes behind schedule. Like most who lead hectic lives, I’ve been 15 minutes late, and occasionally 30 minutes late, due to forces outside of my control, such as traffic-related delays or other appointments that went into overtime.

A few months ago, I told someone about a nice night out I had - with a person who arrived at the venue 1 hour and 15 minutes late. “Why would you have waited, by yourself in a public place, that long, instead of getting up and leaving?” I was asked.

Last week, I made plans with someone who apparently arrived at the restaurant a full two hours behind schedule, for no good reason. I left after having waited for 90 minutes.
Should I have waited those 90 minutes? Should I have continued to wait, beyond 90 minutes, for someone who kept texting “almost there” and “2 minutes away”? At what point, after how many minutes, do you make the statement of standing up and walking away?


  1. I have encountered people who have arrived two hours late, but never one who texted over and over: "almost there," "two minutes away." I have to ask: Did the person who arrived two hours late to find that you had left after waiting ninety minutes chide you? That would be the icing on the cake.

    1. No chiding, just ridiculous excuses. I remember things like this.

  2. My wife and I are usually on time to the minute. In the case of a restaurant, we'll wait up to a half hour and then we'll order and then give the server an extra 5% for waiting on top of the 20% we usually leave. A movie or a play? We'll seat ourselves and let the chips fall where they may. If these people have a habit of being late, they don't get invited anywhere with us.

  3. Oh, the notorious, "I'm just 5 minutes away" or "I'm just around the corner.... These days, that translates to the following: "I'm really 30-45 minutes away" and "I'm still on the train", and "Really, I had other more interesting things to do and I wish I didn't have to meet you at all." Ahhh....let's not us forget the "I was on the train and there was no service....and there were train delays." Its almost as pathetic as, "My dog ate my homework..." Or in today's world, "I don't remember sending that text (hi... hfwetruy498514rycbr#$@). I must have rolled over on my phone..." The reality? I was in a drunken stupor during one of my borderline personality disorder fits of rage secondary to rejection...

    Texts and cells have ruined communication (if one can even refer to it as such). This is just the beginning.... the worst is yet to come, I am sure. All said, how was it like in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s when such technology did not really exist? Did it push others to commit to engagements in a more timely manner? Did it make us care more about being on time because people actually cared about professional commitment? It's something to think about.

    That said, I check my texts at a minimum as there is enough BS in this pathetic world! And yes, I, too, send text messages while intoxicated. #jaded. :)