23 October, 2009

On Being Late

Some of us are always early.  We make a point of being early for everything – giving time for traffic, to get settled, to be comfortable, allowing for the unforeseen events.  We are just early.  

Others, such as myself, are prompt.  If I say this time, I will do everything I can to be on time.  If something says that time… I will be there.  For me it is a matter of respect – respect for another’s schedule and respect for myself.    Allow time and be prompt.  (Social events excluded as sometimes fashionably late is prompt).  A scheduled time is scheduled for a reason – and I plan my day accordingly so respect that others might or do as well.  

Others are late.  Habitually late.  If the appointment is at 5, they will arrive sometime after that.  If the meeting is at 11, it is a given that they will walk in late.  Being late is part of their lives.  It is part of their MO.

At some point I started wondering if we use time and schedules as a means of control?

I can admit that I find it frustrating, on occasion, to be late for something.  If the lateness is something unforeseen, that is one thing, but if it is a means of something  else… well, it can be frustrating.  It’s something I am learning to let go.  Perhaps there is a very good reason I am supposed to be late – probably a reason I will never know, but I am sure there is a reason all the same.  

Then I wonder if being late is a control issue?

When we are late, we control the meeting or the appointment or the interview.  We set the tone immediately because we are keeping the other person waiting for us.  We are asking them to push everything back or put everything on hold while they wait.  We become the focus of attention as we walk in late, start the meeting late, arrive at the appointment late… Does that lateness serve as a means of control… if even just a tad?

I am not sure about any of this, but it is something that occurred to me earlier in the week as I found myself late!


1 comment:

Martian said...

Oh, it's totally controlling behavior! I've actually thought about this a lot (in general terms, not just wrt timing). People say and do things specifically to assert authority or influence others' behavior, and it's largely unconscious, imo. I'd add that the people to whom I'm closest (outside of family) are those people who understand this, and who actively endeavor not to engage in passive-aggressive behaviors....