As far as I’m concerned, there are two types of people in this world: folks who show up on time and everybody else dreaming to be like them. I jest — a little.
Growing up I thought there was only one acceptable way to behave. If anyone in my family was to be late, they had better be incarcerated, dead or pregnant. Being late was not acceptable and improper for anyone in my limited world.
So to make life challenging, I married into a family that didn’t agree with this rule of etiquette. They believed it more appropriate to not be early in many situations, and for them, showing up to a party fashionably late is preferable. I’m pretty sure both families will go to their graves standing behind their belief; and since Miss Manners won’t take my calls to break the tie, I’m questioning which is correct.
My husband rarely is bothered by anyone showing up late. How blissful it must be for him. I don’t get it. Maybe I shouldn’t argue that being late is disrespectful and wasteful of other people’s time, but it’s ingrained in my brain.
When children entered our picture, we had an excellent excuse for arriving late to everything. Diaper explosion, spit up on my silk blouse, baby locked in the bathroom by toddler — typical new parent reasons. But I figured when our daughters grew older, they would choose to follow my rules.
I know: When do children ever follow the rules?
Now I’m raising two girls who think it’s fine to walk into church after the welcoming words and a song or two. It’s also not a big a deal for them to arrive at school right as the drop-off lane teacher is closing the doors to the building. It’s stressing me out, people! I’m losing sleep and hair from their tardiness.
But once school starts in the fall, I’m planning on treating my eye bags, thinning hair, and an impending stomach ulcer to the spa.
Even before I had a family of my own, I had issues with people being late. One time my boss had sent an email to the staff stressing we attend a mandatory seminar. He was a fun and playful boss, but he strongly emphasized how important it was to be there for the entire class. Of course I was there early, with copious amounts of coffee in hand. He, however, didn’t appear until the first session break. Waltzing in so casually, I had to give him trouble.
“Running a bit late are we, Mr. Late-ey Pants?”
We had a snarky relationship, so I expected a return comeback that was snort-worthy. Instead he stared at me with his mouth gaping, unable to speak.
“Oh, my gosh! I said, ‘Late pants!’ Not lady pants!” After my 50 shades of red faded, and I had backpedaled enough, I needed a nap.
So now I’m learning to take things in stride. If I’m going to be late, I just take a deep breath and remind myself there’s no reason to speed. Getting a ticket would only slow me down more.
I’ve also learned that male bosses don’t appreciate being told they dress girly. This morsel of wisdom could save your job in the future.
Don’t worry. You can thank me later!
Reach Stacey Hatton at LaughingWithKids@yahoo.com.