Sometimes, maybe more often, I will be late for recreation meetings or medical appointments or anything there is a timeline for. I’m not late intentionally but my fear of being early outweighs the lateness. Maybe I was born too early or left out in the cold at one time!
Of course, no one bears a grudge if you are just five minutes late as that is not really all that late. Being later than five minutes is when people start getting annoyed. Many think it betrays a lack of respect – and so they even get more annoyed. Being late may insult others, but it also undermines the person (myself) who is late, because it may betray a lack will power, which it definitely isn’t.
Last week I made an appointment with my friendly computer service shop for 2:20 pm. I didn’t arrive until 3:05. My explanation for being late was being caught up listening to a confusing explanation of Renfrew County moving into the green category.
Anyway, I was there with my laptop because its camera wasn’t working. The tech opened the cover and within 10 seconds removed the transparent tape covering the lens. The camera worked like a charm and I behaved like a chump for not noticing that.
My next stop was at the place where I had bought the laptop. I called aside the salesperson who had sold it to me and gave him heck for not telling me about the tape. He started to say he was sorry but just as he did, he began laughing so hard he had to walk away.
A job interview was arranged for the opposite side from Scarborough where I lived. Time had slipped by until I was almost certain I’d be late. I drove fast on the way over. Exiting the car in a hurry, my shirt caught on the doorframe and ripped it half off. There was no point in putting on my suit jacket, so I went to the interviewer’s office like I was. Even though I was 15 minutes late by now, I figured he might see the funny side of my situation. He didn’t and it was the briefest interview ever.
Another interview was set with a promising employer – not to far from home. I was ready in plenty of time but nevertheless the telephone rang at 2:30 jolting me out of a daydream. It was the receptionist from where I should have been. She said, “Mr. Grylls, are you still coming for your interview?” I said, “Of course, I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” I had what I thought was a good interview but didn’t make the short list. My interviewer told me the reason. “You apologised for being late four times and that shows lack of confidence. It only takes one apology.” That’s what I get for trying to be polite.
Unless you present an incredibly good excuse for being late, preferably something that is out of your control (horses loose on the 401)), being late sends out the message, “My time is more valuable than yours” or “I am doing you a favour by turning up at all”. There are probably as many reasons for unpunctuality as there are habitually late people.
By far, the biggest disappointment I had for being late was an opportunity for a military plane ride form the Pembroke Airport. It was arranged for someone at the Cobden Sun and that person invited me to come along. I was so excited, but my impatient temperament ruined it all. For some reason there would be thirty-minute delay. I decided to take a 10-minute walk along the incoming road to the airport. When I returned in what should have been plenty of time, the plane out on the tarmac was already loading. I raced form the terminal yelling at the top of my lungs trying to get the pilot’s attention, but it was too late – the plane had made liftoff.
I’ve been told it is only when latecomers make a conscious decision to be punctual that they can change. Just making woolly attempts to be on time like I do, doesn’t work.