In Mike Birbiglia’s most recent comedy special “Thank God for Jokes,” he perfectly articulates what on-time people honestly think about late people:
What late people don’t understand about us on-time people is that… we hate you. And the reason why we hate you is that it’s so easy to be on time — you just have to be early. And early lasts for hours. And on time lasts a second. And then you’re late forever.
But what Birbiglia doesn’t realise, as a chronically on-timer, is this:
Some of us completely do know how much you hate us. And we’re really f*cking sorry about it.
“It’s selfish,” one of my colleagues says. “Because it says you care more about yourself than the person affected by your lateness.”
“You’re a time thief,” another remarks. “You can never pay anyone back with time.”
“A one-off I can understand, but if it’s every time… I need you to get out of my life,” a third person concludes.
Holly Wainwright, Jacqueline Lunn and I fiercely argue about the politics of lateness on this week’s episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.
The thing is, I completely agree with them.
It’s rude. It’s inconsiderate. It’s unacceptable. Yet I am precisely who they are talking about.
Being late is the quality I hate most about myself.
In Tim Urban’s viral article “Why I’m Always Late,” he writes, “I’m not late because I like to smell the roses, or because I can see the big picture, or because the future is full of infinite possibilities…
I’m late because I’m insane.”
Oh goodness, yes.
Urban argues that there are two distinct types of late people. The first don’t think it’s wrong/don’t feel bad about keeping people waiting. They are assholes. We can all agree on that. The second group feel terrible about it, and are stuck in a cycle of self-loathing. These people are, like Urban and I, legitimately insane.
So, on behalf of all people who are perpetually running late, here’s what we really want you to know.