Miss(ed) Manners

December 10, 2004

Miss(ed) Manners: Running Latté

Filed under: Column — missedmanners @ 9:02 pm

Hey! I’ll be there at 6!

Awesome! See you there, don’t be late!

Seriously, don’t be late. I swear to God, there is nothing on this planet that annoys me more than people who are late. When you make plans to meet someone at a certain time, you’re making what amounts to the modern day equivalent of a blood oath; cut finger, medicine man and shrunken head, the whole works.

When someone’s late, that basically signals to me that they either a) don’t care enough to make the effort to show up on time, b) lack the basic eye to mind ability to read a fucking clock, or c) are a simpering slack jawed mentally retarded yokel who thinks they’re above the common decency of living up to their word.

If you’ve picked up that I’m a little pissed off, then congratulations, you win the prize, tell the kid what he’s won, Bob. Everything else I’ve ever written about, unappropriate touching, talking too loud, the mistreatment of pack donkeys while trekking through the Andes, it all pales in comparison to brain breaking discomfort I feel when I’m waiting around for someone to show up.

This has happened to everyone. Unless of course, you’re the person that’s always late, in which case, fuck you dude, get a watch and allocate more time for the subway than five minutes, it’s not a time machine, jack ass.

You know what I’m talking about, when you’ve made plans to meet someone, someplace and they don’t show up for like two hours. So you just sit there, not knowing anyone, and just stare at a wall, maybe sip a drink. Oh man, if it’s a bar you’re meeting someone at, and you’re all alone, that’s the worst. All of a sudden you’re the lonely sap who likes to drink alone. You slump in a bar stool and fondle your drink like it’s grown breasts and you’ve got Dad’s car for prom night, vodka’s almost as good as a hot russian chick.

I’ve always wondered why this doesn’t annoy more people, and why it’s always been such a problem for me. Fortunately, I think enough about myself that the answer was readily forthcoming. I grew up in a large family, four kids, and we were constantly late. Church, school, dinners, picnics, dentists appointments, folk rock concerts, animal euthenasia ceremonies, you name it, I missed the beginning of it.

I don’t blame my parents, like I said, I had three siblings who were enough like me to make child wrangling a living nightmare for my mom and dad. You try to make it to church in time for the children’s story when your two older sons have hung their little brother from a door knob by his under wear and are pelting him with legos. I’m constantly amazed that I was spared serious parental beatings.

No one to blame or no, it still made a serious impact on me. As soon as I got a car, as soon as I was in control of where I was going, I made certain that I would never be late again. I’ve been through about fifty six alarm clocks since the age of sixteen, I’ve tied ribbons around my fingers, I’ve had a watch that talks, I’ve put ben gay on my balls. OK that last one was more of a curiousity fries the cat’s nutsack sort of thing, but you get my drift.

Recently I made plans to meet a friend out and about, and after waiting about three hours for that person to show up, I was reminded just how angry lateness makes me. I mean really now, three hours? My scale of outrage shoots up asymptotically as time goes by. Fifteen minutes late? You’ll get the old stink eye and about half an hour of me lying and saying it’s alright. But around and hour and a half, as my perceived self worth drops through the floor, I start getting Popeye mad, steam out the ears and massive forearm mad.

Anyone who mentions the term, “fashionably late” is going to get a sharp stick in the eye. Let me give you a little background on being fashionably late. The term was made up by a half crippled socialite who had to crawl to every party she was invited too. When she’d show up and take off her back brace, everyone would just laugh it off and say, “Oh, Mabel’s just fashionably late.” So basically it equivocates to you being a hump backed social pariah. That’s right, think about that next time you show up and hour late and act like you it’s alright.

Help me out if I’m wrong here, but I guess I’m the only one to whom time means anything any more. For myself and most of my friends the majority of the time we see each other is out at parties, so everyone’s at least an hour late, which is fine, it’s a party, you don’t have to be there from open to close. We leave that up to guys like Bart and Carey.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I take all of this a little to personally, and certainly far too much to heart. After all, there are always reasons for being late. The train took too long, I got hung up at work, I cracked my back and had an acid flash back where I chatted with my hangnail for half an hour. Sure, I understand all that, but I think that we can all agree that the generally accepted time for a courtesy call is around thirty minutes. We all have cell phones, I mean we are super trendy urban hipsters after all.

As anyone who’s ever had to wait around for a friend to show up, you don’t spend that time waiting for them thinking about the comic genius of Joey on NBC, no, you generally cover that area in the time it takes you to order your second drink. You should understand that the whole time that person is waiting they’re wondering why you didn’t think it was important enough to be on time or at least let them know you were going to be late.

I know everyone loves to be thought about, but who wants to be thought of that way? Not me, I’ll leave fifteen minutes early.


  1. I have always liked cotton my self.

    Comment by peter — January 5, 2007 @ 7:30 pm | Reply

  2. I always get pissed when people can’t make it through the day without saying ‘basically’. What a useless word. It means nothing, adds nothing. But it does imply a sense of arrogance (or maybe it’s stupidity). The ‘I’m smarter-than-you’ syndrome.

    Comment by dp — December 12, 2007 @ 9:20 am | Reply

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