Thursday, November 13, 2014

rude and selfish and late

I saw this post on the timeline of someone I know about how chronic lateness is rude and selfish.

No, you are not ‘running late’, you are rude and selfish

I agree with the writer - it's horrible not to go to the party until it's half over, leaving the birthday celebrant stressed and lonely in their function room and frock while everyone else is down the pub. I hate that. I also hate how mobile phone culture has made it ok to ring the person who's standing on the street waiting for you and telling them you'll be there in half an hour. That's ... stupid.

And yeah, turning up 20 mins late for a meeting with a bacon sandwich is ridiculous. Does that really happen all the time? I've never seen that. I've only seen people arriving flustered and stressed and apologetic. Maybe that guy only works with rude people. I also hate waiting the extra 20 mins I usually have to wait in the dentist, but I read the paper and am glad I go to a dentist who gives people the extra time they need.

But here's the thing -  I feel shit today, and this post made me feel shitter. Because, as I said, sometimes people are always late because they're not coping. Not all of us deal well with life, work, kids, mornings. Some of us wake up in the morning just want to sleep. We have plans, we want to do things, but the energy just isn't there. I frequently think about going out at night, but the thought of the getting ready, the makeup, the efforts to look nice, get the kids fed, get clean, get the house ready for my mother in law... I frequently just stay home instead. I don't want to be rude. Or selfish. So I stay home.

Similarly, I want to have you to dinner, but I know myself - I know I'll put the cleaning off til too late, and then do a bad job, and cringe in humiliation when you arrive. I know it'll look like I don't care about you enough to make the house nice, and that's so not true. I just ... can't cope. I can't do it most of the time. So I don't invite you. Because much as I'd love your company, I don't want to be rude.

I think a lot of people are trapped in fear of judgement. Sure, if I'm late all the time I shouldn't get promoted. Sure, I don't want to leave you standing on the street. But for some people, getting up and out is an achievement, even if they just can't get themselves there on time. I don't want to sound self pitying, but I feel like this posts ignores a lot of people who really need... something more constructive. 


Ms. Moon said...

I certainly see a lot of myself here. Although I am rarely late. I have a bit of a phobia about it. But instead of being late, I so often just don't show up. This is probably worse.

Jo said...

Well, I think that might be quite common. Which is worse, indeed?