It’s ‘better never than late’

George Bernard Shaw won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925, so I grant him some clout when he puts his own twist on tardiness.
He is credited with saying “better never than late.”
That particular combination of words is my best ever mantra—and a code I live by. And when others cause me to break that promise to myself, well, suffice to say, things go terribly wrong from there.
I had a friend I worked with many years ago who accused my excessive “earliness” of being just as dysfunctional, if not more irksome, than those who show up late on a regular, if not habitual, basis.
That, quite simply, is madness and we no longer are friends, or certainly not the kind of friends that admire one another.
As I age, I find my need to be on time (or what others consider annoyingly punctual) is a requisite, which I cannot moderate. In determining my departure time, I must allow for traffic jams and construction and flat tires, if going any distance.
Arriving at the airport can never be deemed too early. I need to be on time the same way I need to breathe, and to eat and to sleep and to buy new lime green socks and storage containers.
Have I not earned the right to be freakishly odd in my need for punctuality?
I have read in several sources (none of which I can give credit to here) that those who are late, and exhibit an indifference to how this affects others, are most likely, if not most definitely, self-centered and we all know those who fall into that category.
Dr. Phil, for whom I have a heightened discomfort of, claims that being late has everything to do with arrogance and control. When I’m kept waiting by others, I tend to agree while my blood pressure is soaring to dangerous heights.
I have friends who often are late and though I’m never prepared for their dawdling nature, I tend to forgive them this oversight on most occasions. But when I belong to a committee or an organization that meets every second Tuesday at 7 p.m., and my fellow committee members wander in with varying degrees of lateness, I become outspoken.
I demand excuses and I exercise retribution, usually to no avail. My time is of no less importance than theirs; we all have busy lives with no shortage of items on the list of demands, so why keep any of us waiting?
When I see people jumping up from their chairs in the coffee shop and making a dash when the last-call warning is heard in the airport, I want to trip them on their way by or outrun them and tell the flight staff not to let them on.
“Make them accountable,” I want to scream, and this rage only increases proportionately with my age.
If you’re considering a life partner, and are making a list of the pros and cons of the individual you share time with now, be sure that your perspective on timeliness is reflected in one another; that you are the exact mirror image of one another in that regard. Because if not, I warn you, the longevity of your relationship will be in serious peril.
Consistent tardiness has been categorized as a lack of respect for others; an arrogance that is, at best, unacceptable. It seems we cannot solve world hunger or get everyone on the same page in regards to climate change, but surely being late is a condition we can eradicate.
When my children hear that a friend or loved one has kept me waiting, their hands automatically fly to their mouths to cover their shock and contain their incredulity. “Do you not know her?” they would shout in unison.
I have taught them well. They don’t make their beds or hang up their coats, but they most certainly understand the need for precise “Estimated Time of Arrival.”
I can exhale; my job is done.
My efforts to abolish tardiness has been a lifelong passion and certainly seems, at the very least, to be Nobel Peace Prize worthy. Is it garish to nominate one’s self for such an award?
I’m pretty sure no one else is going to recognize my efforts.
wendistewart@live.ca

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