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The Tyranny of the Tardy

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But what do you do about that Johnny-come-lately that can’t blame her harried state on an upper hemisphere IQ? You know the type: they say things like, “I’m an hour late every where I go” in the same vein as “I always put on my pantyhose before I put on my shoes.” There is no apology in her tone. She’s simply stating a fact. She’s not in the lab trying to find a cure for cancer, and she knows we know she’s not that smart! She’s late because she has no appreciation of other people’s time and doesn’t seem to mind if other people are waiting for her. It’s more of a Princess Syndrome. Making that dramatic entrance an hour late is, I don’t know, coy and adorable; inaccessible somehow. Actually, coy and adorable only works if you’re in junior high school. And inaccessible only works if you’re really a princess of some small country.

And the little problem with her tardiness becomes an even bigger issue when you add two other elements to the mix: 1) she is an immediate family member; and 2) other family members are getting downright sick and tired of her nonsense. So what do you do?

I suggested that we use the one-hour grace period. But this idea was shot down because, “it’s codependent behavior and it’s like lying.” Well, I happen to think “like lying” is better than “like eating cold dinner” or “like losing a dinner reservation” or “like the whole family getting pissed off and having a fight” because one member of the dinner party is an hour late—and it’s always the same member of the dinner party. Besides, what’s a little codependency between families anyway?

“Okay, so someone just talk to her about her tardiness and tell her it’s unacceptable.” Bad idea. Obviously the direct approach is considered an egregious offense when you live in the South. To confront someone, even a family member, and even in the gentlest of tones, with the slightest offense on their part is akin to burning a rebel flag in your front yard and inviting all your neighbors and relatives to a weenie roast.

So you can’t trick her into showing up on time (that’s codependent and dishonest); and you can’t be honest with her about her behavior (that’s uncouth and you’re a Neanderthal for even suggesting it). Oh, the question still begs for an answer: what do you do?

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By A.J. DePriest, DivineCaroline

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3:26AM PDT on Oct 7, 2012

Great article, and thankyou for the funny suggestions.

10:03PM PDT on Oct 4, 2012

I think being late can have a genetic component that causes time distortion or inability to judge time correctly. This runs in my family - 2 of my 3 children have it, the other does not. All of my siblings have it. I don't think it is environmental as I raised all my children pretty much the same.

8:09PM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

This is a common factor with a couple of friends of mine. I have given them the 1 hour, because nothing I said ever made a difference, and after 1 hour I go about my business. One of my friends got the hint and is now usually closer to being on time, 15 min late. The other will never change and I use the Jewish time on that one and say to arrive 1 to 1 1/2 hours early and it usually works. I have gone off without her, but that still doesn't faze her. Smile and choose your battles. Some are not worth the headache you will cause yourself if you get upset.

1:24PM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

The story of my wife.

7:55AM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

good idea

11:10AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

Hmm... seems rather passive-aggressive to me...

6:15AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

Noted,good ideas ,thanks.

4:57AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

Thanks for the great tips Samantha.

4:38AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

great ideas

3:01PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012


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