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.