All The Cool Kids Are Doing It And It Drives Me Insane

I am consistently behind the curve on every single trend ever. I was into trading Pokémon cards when I should have been into Yugi-Oh. And I was into Yugi-Oh when I should have been interested in boys.

In typical fashion, I am just coming to the realization that I am behind on the latest fad: never being on time. I am coming late to the party where being on time to said party is unacceptable by contemporary social standards. So does this mean that I am arriving on time when I should have been earlier? Or does it mean that I’m arriving too early to the party when I should be late?  Or am I too early to be considered late? Is this how Stephen Hawking works?

I am not exactly sure when it happened, but I think it may have been some time after 2009 when it all of a sudden became cool to completely disregard punctuality. Call me old fashioned, but when you say that you want to meet for an afternoon of parlor games and pianola playing at 4 o’clock, I expect you to be there at 4 o’clock.

What’s that? People don’t play the pianola on casual summer afternoons anymore? Gah. Damn it. I am always so behind. What do people listen to now, like, Hanson or some No Doubt?

The other day my friend texted me to meet her for lunch at 11:45 at this cool little local place that I just found called the Applebee’s.  This friend is notoriously late, so I knew to get there at 12 because I am clever in a Nancy Drew sort of way. I arrive, I am seated and I order a Coke and stare at the Moby Dick of menus. By the time I get done reading through all of the appetizers, I notice it is 1215. So, I have been waiting for 15 minutes but my friend is technically 30 minutes late. More pressing a concern is that I do not yet have my Coke.

I ask the waitress for my Coke again and I call my friend to see where she is. She doesn’t answer, but as soon as I hang up, I immediately receive a text that reads, “hey sry i knw im lte but i lft lte.” Apart from this being the worst excuse I have EVER heard, someone texting you right after you just called them also infuriates me. And whatever happened to vowels in text messages? But these are rants for another day.

My waitress comes by with my Coke. She sighs in a sympathetic way and says, “Hi. I feel bad. Are you hungry or something?” My response, “No. I’m good. I am just gonna wait. Thanks, though.” “Are you sure he has the right place?” “Oh, no it’s a girl. I’m waiting for my friend.” “Oh thank God! I thought you got stood up or something.”

She walks away. It’s 12:27. I take a sip of my coke. Insult to injury: it’s diet.

Ten minutes later, my friend walks in the restaurant mumbling about how she was late because of a gluten allergy or something like that. I don’t know. A lot of problems seemed to be pegged on gluten lately, so why not.

I wouldn’t be upset f this was an isolated incident. I get it. People can run late. Things, gluteny things, can get in the way. But, I often find myself sitting alone in an Applebee’s-type scenario, getting sympathetic sideways glances from the other patrons, when my cell phone vibrates and reads, “b thr in 5, sry.” And I sit there thinking the exact same thing: “Where the HELL are the vowels?” and “Maybe that 500 pack of Yugi-Oh card wasn’t such a sound investment after all?” and “When will being on time become cool again?”

I know that being “fashionably late” is a thing. But to me, “fashionable” constitutes an arrival 10 to 20 minutes later than the time the party technically starts. 45 minutes to an hour is no where near the realm of “fashionable,” it is nearer to the land of rude and adjacent to the shire of annoying.

There is a definite possibility that I am just not cool enough to see the appeal in being late. Or maybe being late is actually the norm and that I need to ditch my Leave It To Beaver mindset and enter the world of Technicolor. I don’t understand a lot of things like string theory or memes, but I really don’t understand this new-found indifference to arriving somewhere on time.

Image via thesparksproject.

  • Colleen Sweeney

    I definitely am an early person. Always have been. My friend is notoriously late for everything. We once arrived at the movies during the previews because she was fifteen minutes too late. And the one time I went to the zoo with her, she was an hour late. No excuse or anything, just very late.

  • Marie Medina

    Barely two paragraphs in I’ve already laughed maniacally and whispered “She is the sister of my soul” after reading “I was into trading Pokémon cards when I should have been into Yugi-Oh. And I was into Yugi-Oh when I should have been interested in boys.”

    And being that I am 21 yr-old granny, I am still always crazy on time. Crazy being the operative word. Unfortunately everyone in my life, from family to friends, are late-comers. So basically I lie about when movies start and always tell people an event starts an hour before it actually does so they’re there on time. Once they noticed I’m screwed, but then I’ll just change my name and relocate to a place where people are on time. Like Canada.

  • Rachel Mitchell-Foust

    I would rather be an hour early and sit around by myself than be 10 minutes late. I have to tell my mom something is 30 minutes earlier than it really is so she is either on time or only a few minutes late. It drives me insane.

  • Bekka Laird

    Aww, you’re not the only polite one in the world who shows up on time. I do it too! I was always taught if you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late, you’re fired. It should be natural to be on time.

    • MacKenzie Emery Foster

      That was our marching band’s motto for practices in high school! I learned it from my dad, who is obsessively punctual, and taught it to everyone. This phrase is also the reason I’m habitually at least 10 minutes early for everything.

  • Mary Biesecker

    I can’t say I am always on time but I definitely make an effort to be. When I am late it’s only 5 or 10 minutes which I think is still a little rude but at least understandable (or so I tell myself). Usually when I’m late I just misjudge traffic but when someone is close to an hour late they obviously weren’t trying very hard and don’t value the other person’s time. I think fashionably late can only be used in terms of large parties because otherwise it is really rude. Especially in the case of restaurants because the other person or people are waiting for the late attendee to order. Obviously life happens but if somebody is habitually late by over 15 to 20 minutes I would reconsider if that was someone worth having as a friend. It would make me question how much they value my time and in turn me as a person.

  • Sara Zarate

    I’m an early bird too. When I was younger I use to have nightmares about being late, and they were proper nightmares i woke up all shaky and nervous. I have to be on time or 10 minutes early all the time or I get really anxious.

  • Hailey Case

    This happens to me all.the.time! It feels like I’m waiting for Godot sometimes!
    And I also am wondering where in the world the vowels have gone!

  • Katie Sumner

    “nearer to the land of rude and adjacent to the shire of annoying.” I entirely agree and thanks for making me laugh!

  • Kristen Haynie

    NO! Being late is absolutely NOT cool. It never has been, nor will it ever be! You’re not “late to the party” or anything like that, you’re just one of the few sensible people left in the world. Many people I know are like this, and I just don’t get it. If you make a lunch date with your friend at 12:45, then be there at 12:45! If you know you tend to run late, then set the date for 1:30, and plan for 12:45. It’s just plain rude to be late… especially THAT late! By the way, I totally agree with your gripes on missing vowels in text messages, and I LOVED your phrase “nearer to the land of rude and adjacent to the shire of annoying.”

  • Sharon Tan

    Totally know how you feel. I used to be the notoriously late friend, but still get pretty miffed every time I get somewhere “early”… !

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