Monday, August 17, 2009

Lateness Karma

Waiting on a friend is a power struggle. People take punctuality very seriously. But it is worse to be kept waiting or to be the one who is running late? Both are stressful. Traditionally, the person who is force to wait is considered to be the one in the inferior position because they’re stuck. When someone is running late they’re in a panic but at least they know they have the upper hand.

People who are left waiting have no choice other than to leave or to sit patiently at the table and ponder the question: WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT THAN ME?????. Usually the answer is traffic. This is the universal excuse that justifies lateness and reaffirms it’snot personal and beyond their control. Also when it’s raining, traffic gets bumped up to ‘nightmare’ status and being 15 minutes late is considered punctual. Another acceptable excuse is – work. Inserting ‘THE BOSS’ gives its even more legitimacy because no one can argue with “THE BOSS, wanted to speak with me just as I was leaving”.

Why is it that when I’m late, it’s my own fault, but when other people are late, it’s out of their hands? Maybe because most of the times, my lateness is costing money. Whoever I’m meeting has a babysitter. Or a meter running. Or a conference to get to. Someone is waiting for them, there is somewhere else they need to be.

I don’t get upset when someone keeps me waiting because I believe in “LATENESS KARMA”. I think if I don’t get mad when someone is running late, in the future, someone will be forgiving of me. When a man is late it’s because he’s busy. When a woman is late it’s because she’s slow. And if it’s a date, all is forgiven if a woman shows up looking good.

Of course I never seem to get it right. I arrive on time for people who turn up late, and turn up late for people who are on time. But given the choice, I prefer to be the one is waiting. I don’t mind (tapi jangan ambil kesempatan pula tau!). probably because I’m grateful when people turn up at all.