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?