I Ask: Do You Run Late For Everything? Because You Are Driving Me Nuts.

Astronomical ClockI hate when someone is late. And what I mean is that I REALLY REALLY REALLY HATE HATE HATE IT. And it leads to irritable pacing and mumbling to myself, which I don’t particularly enjoy nor does my family.

Before I had kids, I had a zero tolerance policy for lateness. By two minutes after our meeting time, I was debating whether I should even open the door to you.

Wait, back up even MORE years, and you’ll find the Alex who used to be late ON PURPOSE. Because I hated waiting, and if I was late to everything, I NEVER HAD TO WAIT. GENIUS! Until one day, I grew up and realized that putting people through something I hated made me a sociopath.


Now, when I had children, I chilled out. And what I mean by CHILLED OUT is I decided that five minutes late is understandable. Anything more than that should be accompanied by a phone call preparing me for your lateness. And after fifteen minutes and no phone call, I’m assuming that you aren’t going to show. And when you do finally show up, I’m going to wonder if you broke your phone or your hand attempting to call me.

Look, if I am running more than five minutes late, which happens more often than I’d like to admit, I always call. ALWAYS. I feel like cell phone have allowed us to be completely anti-social by not having to talk because I’m SO BUSY talking to my Facebook page and completely rude by texting while carrying on a conversation with our in-front-of-us friends — both of which I appreciate — however, they should AT LEAST have mitigated lateness sans phone call. In other words, stop checking Twitter or putting socks on your kid and call me with a I’m running late heads up.

But I imagine that there are late-ies who read this blog. And I’m always looking for opportunities to grow more tolerant and understanding. Well, I’m always being forced into growing by my desire to be happy and spend less time hating people. (potato potahto)

I need to know. Why are you late? Why can’t you call? Am I being too hard on my fellow people? Am I still a sociopath? Or could you and I be BFFs because we’d always arrive RIGHT ON TIME?

So I ask: Do you run late for everything?

Photo credit: simpologist on Flickr

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

42 thoughts to “I Ask: Do You Run Late For Everything? Because You Are Driving Me Nuts.”

  1. don’t ask me. I’m an always early person. my mom was late EV-ER-Y-WHERE. by like, hours. I hated it. so I’m early everywhere. I can’t set my clock fast ever because I’ll just be that much earlier. I often have a book with me so that I can read in my car, bench, etc, while I wait to be on time.

    thus? I know I will be cursed with late children. it will kill me.

  2. NEVER! I’m ALWAYS annoyngly early. Ready too soon. I do have moments of running late, but I make up for it to the point that I will arrive on time whether I am fully dressed, hair dry, or not….. It’s a sickness really.

  3. I’m generally not late, but sometimes I am. We live on a farm about 45 minutes away from everywhere. What I really hate is when people give a range and then act as if you’re late when you show up at the lower end of the range. For example, “Arrive between 5 and 5:30″… if I show up at 5:20, I don’t feel I’m late, but I have friends who believe I am. Just say the time. Don’t give a range.

    How do you judge lateness when a range is given?

    1. More than five minutes outside the range – but I rarely give a range to people because it stresses me out to be prepared for them to show up at 5 even though they can get here as late as 5:35. But that’s not their fault.
      Honestly, to that friend I’d respond, ‘I’ll be there at 5:15’ when she gave a range. Unless the range was 3-3:30 because then she’d be pissed.

  4. I hate to admit it but I run late a lot. I’d like to blame it on the little person in my house but sometimes I run late just because that’s me BUT!!!! I always call or text when I’m running late. And I give an accurate time like “I’m running 11 minutes late” because often the little person likes to have a temper tantrum as I’m trying to walk out the door. *sigh* But at least the other party knows! I HATE waiting for people. Hate it. I hate even more when someone (or myself) is having a party and the start time is say 5pm and people don’t show until 6. WTH? That’s not fashionably late – that’s just rude.

  5. Love It! We ARE cut from the same cloth…except I’m marrying a man who doesn’t seem to think we need always be on time and it’s okay if we are a few minutes late (no phone call)…let’s just say it’s an ever evolving part of our relationship. And when asked why we can’t be on time – “they won’t care it’s not the end of the world if we are late”…but it is to me….I loathe being late – I think it’s some messed up thing from my childhood where my dad would forget to pick us up and make us wait at an event/school inconveniencing everyone…but I digress…
    Now we operate on a dual time scale – we arrive we he wants for his events; and on time for my events. Happy Medium. xo

  6. I’m a late one. My mom was a ridiculous late one — always, always, always late & by late, I mean an hour waiting for her after school wasn’t uncommon. I am *never* that late. I am, however, 10 minutes late on a regular basis. I think it’s something from going to a crazy-diverse school & being friends with lots of people from other cultures where an hour late isn’t even comment-worthy — just assumed. Then I lived in an area with heinous traffic where planning ahead just meant making your best guess. And then we had kids. So basically, I just gave up. I always have stuff that I can do or use to amuse the kids & if we’re waiting in our house, there’s God’s plenty here to keep me busy. It’s no big thing to me. Truly. I will call if I’m going to be more than 10 minutes late, particularly if someone is waiting at a restaurant b/c that’s just painfully awkward. Otherwise, I figure the phone call just slows me down. I suck at multi-tasking which I know we’re not supposed to admit, but it’s true. If I call someone, I stop what I’m doing or else I just make a mess of things…

    And isn’t there some amusement to the fact your blog is called Late Enough? Literary allusions aside, come on! You’re tricking us! 🙂 Shouldn’t you be called Right On Time Dammit?

  7. Lol. “Early is on time” is the motto that was drilled into my head by my marching band instructor in high school. I tell people I have a bad habit of being early everywhere I go. But I have several friends who can NEVER be on time. I tell myself they have been given to me to teach me patience.

  8. I never ran late until I had a husband. A husband who refuses to believe how long it takes us to get out the door. And then blames me for being late.

    Oddly enough, the kid does not slow us down more than the husband.

  9. Nothing worse than the chronic late person. I was the person who was 15 minutes early, sit in their car and wait until the time I was due person. That was until I had two kids. One kid made me just on time more than early…but never late. Two kids….for some reason I can’t handle. I like to blame my husband who is a just on time person. I mean he times it down to the minute so he doesn’t have to converse or hold any chit chat with people he doesn’t really give a damn about. Add him to the mix and I am late. I hate it. And I always try to call…just depends on where I am late to. Usually my lateness is because of naps. With my first she was on one of those schedules. She was so predictable that I could tell you the exact time she would poop. Number two while being pretty flexible has the habit of needing a nap at the wrong time. I make appointments and then she blissfully fucks me up. What I hate more than lateness is unpreparedness. I was the person who always had my ducks in a row. All the paperwork needed was organized and ready to go. Yesterday I went to the post office and failed to bring the appropriate two forms of ID. The ones I brought were wrong or expired. What happened to the former me. I think it fell out with the placenta. How humbling an experience that was.

  10. Being married to a late-y has made me a sociopath, too, Alex. I used to be a chronic late girl, and I used to text instead of call. Less confrontation that way, ya know?

    Well, everyone in my husband’s family is so late that they often show up an hour after the stated time. It’s a phenomenon called ‘arab time’ or ‘desi time’ to those who come from such cultural backgrounds. And I’m supposed to understand it because, well, it’s a cultural thing and I should respect that. You with me so far?

    I have an undergrad degree in anthropology. I’m supposed to be a cultural relativist about these things, I suppose, and build in at least 30 minutes as a buffer. Ok fine.

    But my man (and he’s awesome in nearly every other way) straight up LIES or screens me when he’s late. Let me show you a scenario:

    [me, at 6pm, thinking it’s time to do dinner and bedtime routine. him ‘on his way’ an hour ago]

    cell phone dials, does not pick up (repeat 6 times)

    I text him “Where are you? are you ok?”

    I finally get a call: “honey, I’m five minutes away. I’m on [highway] 94.”

    [ten minutes pass] He wasn’t actually on “94.”

    And so you see, my husband and his family have cured me of lateness. I now hate it so much that I make a point of being on time. For everything. Even with two babies under two. Unless something happens and then I call.

    So I guess the upshot to this wordy comment is: I hear you I hear you, oh do I hear you.

    1. We call it Indian Time, but perhaps Desi Time is more appropriate? E’s godfather is Indian and explained it to us, which was good because at least I can laugh. Mostly because I’m not married to him or any of E’s Indian friends.

  11. Oh dear.

    I run late most of the time. Not by more than ten or fifteen minutes and never to a movie, but other than that…

    Guilty as charged.

    I would like to say that it’s a result of being raised by a woman who ran 30-45 minutes late almost everywhere.

    But two of my sisters are annoyingly timely.

    And it’s not because I don’t care about you. In fact, I hate when Timeys tell Lateys that little nugget.

    For me? It’s because I’m an overly optimistic time estimater.

    I’m always trying to cram as much into my days off as possible and sometimes, I think I have more time than I do.

    I know I need to be at the park for our playdate in 10, but I just need to throw this last load of laundry in the dryer before I head out or else my clothes will have wrinkles that will require me to pull out an iron.

    And yes, I know you don’t care that the present I bought for your kid isn’t perfectly wrapped, but this stupid bow is giving me fits and I want it to look good.

    My own foibles has made me highly tolerant of tardiness. What I can’t stand is early people. Because if I say that a party starts at 4, don’t show up when I’m still running around in my robe getting the last stuff out at 3:30.

    And yes. I’m always on time when I expect people to my home. And yes, I do call when I’m running more than five minutes late. Although I dread the…”Huh. Well. Okay.” I often hear on the other end.

    1. What Mandy said….except the Mom part. My Mom has always been 10 minutes early.

      Alex, this post actually makes me wonder why you still talk to me since I was late to our playdate and didn’t have your number to call. 🙁 I suck.

    2. Agreed almost entirely, except for the Mom part. I just appreciate you being my friend anyway. It really isn’t any lack of love, I promise! Can I blame ADD?? 😉 Hugs!

  12. I’m like most people who’ve responded here: always early. It’s annoying really. And I hate it so much when people are late and don’t even bother to call. Or worse when they only start getting ready when it’s time to meet. Really? Am I THAT important to them? And is their time worth more than mine?

    You’re not a sociopath if you respect other people’s schedules.

  13. I m always late. Always. On time for me is 10 minutes late. I do try, but have such a hard time getting everyone out the door. I budget a little extra time, and it is never enough.
    But, I promise, if we make plans, I’ll be early!

  14. My husband has a fear of being late to ALL social events and appointmnets. He said when he was young his mother would pull out the vacuum cleaner just minutes before they were suppose to leave. And of course the family would be late to whatever event. Now when the family schedules events, they ask “what time in mom time?”

  15. I, too, loathe lateness. And now that I have a kid, I especially hate it when we have plans to meet a childless couple and they are late, and we are not. So. Fing. Rude. Do thy not realize we have a short window for decent behavior? Before it all goes downhill? That said, my CHILD makes me late every morning. So now I have to hate myself, too.

  16. I would like to add that when Hubby makes me late it is because I give him the time we need to be there not the time we need to leave. You think I’d learn…I can not absolutely not mention the time we need to be there, because that is the only time he hears and at the time I need to leave or have the kids ready, he’s jumping in the shower saying, “I don’t have time to shower? You said 6:30” (It is say 6:00 and it takes 15-20 minutes to get where we are going…I give myself 10 minutes of load the kids in the car and run back in or change the last minute diaper someone has to pee time). Then I say, “We have to be there at 6:30.” Response, “It only takes 15 minutes to get there.” Me: “Yes, but we have two kids.” Then we have wasted said 15 minutes arguing and he still hasn’t had a shower. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Cause it makes me nash my teeth. And I like to be early and only make the “Just on time” concession for him.So therefore my lateness is now my fault. Crap…thanks Alex.

  17. I am obsessively on time for everything. To quote an old boss of mine, punctuality equals respect.

    This plan worked great until got married. My husband is obsessively EARLY for everything, so when I am ready at 7 PM like we said, he has been waiting since 6.45, and is steaming because I am late. Aaaargh!

  18. I am an on-time person.

    My husband is a late person.

    This has caused no shortage of arguments between us.

    More than five minutes late? Definitely requires a phone call.

  19. I’m an early bird. I’m always the one who gets ready for my plans way too early then sits around waiting for the fun to start.

  20. I am an on-time gal. When Ezra came on the scene it threw me off my game but quickly figured out how to toss him in the car and get where we needed to go without being late. Poo, however, is the curveball to all of this.

  21. I’m late by nature. I try to be on time but I hate to be early, so I often end up a few minutes late. Unless I can trick myself: I was thinking about dropping stuff off at the thrift store and accounted for that, but went straight to my daughter’s preschool and was just in time for pickup. We hit the thrift on the way home instead.

    I blame heredity (my mom was reliably 20m late everywhere), and also babies. Especially when you are planning around naptimes or whatever or when unexpected diapers or nursing need to happen.

    Those last 15 minutes of my get-ready time always disappear and I don’t know where they go to 🙁 I dream of being an earlyish person one day.

  22. When I was young, my aunt would take us to the movies. We always arrived late and this was before 15 minutes of previews and ads. So we would stroll in usually 10 or 15 minutes late. Once it was over, we’d stay in out seats until the next one started so we could see what we missed. Then we’d stand up in front of the people trying to watch the movie, and leave. It was funny then and I still laugh thinking about it. We could always count on her lateness!

  23. I always run early because I’m convinced something will go wrong and make me late. We have a family member though, who is Always Late. Hours late, not minutes. She very kindly will call 10 minutes before hand to tell us she is running late but on her way. And should only be another 45 minutes to two hours.

  24. I hate. Hate. Hate. To be late. Just ask my husband. If we’re going somewhere and we’re late (usually because of him), I get all anxious and crabby and sort of bitchy.

    Even if I’m headed to the dentist, I usually call and let people know I’m going to be late.

    It’s so bad that when I plan to show up at a party/evening gathering ‘late’, but at a specific time- I get anxious and crabby if I’m later than the late appointed time I came up with.

  25. I am neither.

    My friends have always said that I will either be 15 minutes early, sitting in a parking lot or driveway smoking a cigarette, waiting for the event to begin or I’ll be 30 minutes late, calling to let you know that I’m not even sure if I can make it.

    However, the addition of Corban to my life has pretty much guaranteed that being early will never happen again.

  26. I am all ways painfully on time. My husband on the other hand is all ways late to everything. I hate hate hate when people are late and its actually gotten worse since I had T.

  27. I used to be on time. actually, I used to be early. I’d rather wait on someone than have them be waiting on me. I still loathe being late. Like freak-out-at-my husband-sweaty-palms-hyperventilate loathe it. but anymore, since the kid, yes. I am late. A lot. I try to call but I can’t say I always do. but lately I have been noticing that I’m not the only one who’s late. I’m just the only one who seems to care about it.

  28. Well, now I’m trying to think of all the times I’ve been running late to meet you. I’m definitely better than I used to be (when I routinely was 30+ minutes late for pretty much everything) and I do feel bad and view it, generally, as selfish behavior on my part (even though I come from an always-late family, so maybe it’s inherited). I do call if I’m going to be more than 10 minutes late–5 minutes is tough, especially since it is illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving around here, and sometimes I’m just looking at a different clock or something.
    But it got worse again after having my son. For example, I am now late to work every single day, because my son’s daycare opens at 6:45 and I have to be at work at 7. I am self-conscious about this, but as a one-car, two-working-parent family, there is just no way around it, and I do a LOT to try to mitigate this (including up to an hour of preparations the night before, and the fastest daycare drop-offs EVER), and I still apologize to my coworkers every day.
    Given the amount of prodding and rushing and cajoling and begging (and diaper changing!) it often takes us to get out of the house for work/school, I feel bad being too pushy on our days off, like my son will remember his early years as always being yanked from one place to the next. I try to balance this by giving him lots of time to get ready and trying to keep from being too stressed myself, as I am pretty much always stressed when we’re going to work/school even when I try to be calm.
    And I never mind getting to movies late, but since I married an early person, it never happens anymore. So I have to watch 30 minutes of commercials and previews for the 2 times a year we get to a movie.

  29. I am a late by a few (1 to 5) minutes person, recently better at being a few minutes early. I finally found my formula! What works best for me is giving myself just enough time to get ready if I run around like a maniac- plus five minutes. It is worse for me to be ready extra early than to start getting ready late. I do better under pressure. Too much free time and I get into small projects and wind up late.

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