Dispelling the fashionably late culture
It’s a pet peeve of mine, but I’m being a hypocrite because I’m sometimes late myself. Recently I’ve waited for someone for an hour – my friend got on the wrong train and we were late for a bridal shower. I spent the time perfecting my gift wrapping skills and writing in impeccable penmanship the card. There are always one or two in our social circles who are branded late freaks. Or perhaps your entire group is prone to this tardy culture and habitually arrives, together, an hour late to the show?
We’re late for a few reasons. Here are some thoughts:
- Miscalculating time. I tend to misjudge how much time I need to look the way I want. My head tells me I need 15 minutes to shower, dress and set my hair. But once I’ve started on the eye-liner and hiding my dark eye circles, 20 minutes have already passed. Panic. What about the rest of my look?
- Fear of being alone. It’s scary to be the first at a party, or be alone at a busy joint waiting for friends. No one wants to look like a loser, nevertheless a friendless loser. Being the last one to arrive ensures that you’re walking into a room full of people you know. It also eliminates the chance of having to have an awkward conversation with another early arriver you don’t know.
- Sign of importance. There’s a view that the later you arrive, the cooler you are. Fashionably late culture on crack. The problem is, if everyone thinks the way you do, the party will only get perpetually postponed. I’m guilty of this. There’s been more than one occasion where I’ve arrived late purposely to an event just to show how much I don’t care / care enough to be super late but still show up. Not proud of it.
- Traffic jam. Yes, this does happen in Hong Kong. We are one of the most efficient cities in terms of transportation, but there’s still a chance that buses get stuck in traffic or the MTR breaks down. Though if you are using this excuse every time you’re late, there’s probably an issue with your time management.
Leaving out force majeure events like typhoons. I’m sure there are other good reasons too, but bottom line is, when we’re late, we’re wasting the time of the person waiting for us. Everyone’s time is equally precious. Agreeing to be somewhere at a certain hour is a promise. There’s nothing shameful about being punctual. It’s a commendable character trait and it shows you are trustworthy. It also shows you care about and respect the person you’re meeting.
Next time I find myself agreeing to meet someone somewhere, I’m going to try hard to be on time. I hope they think the same for me.