Last week, my world crumbled. It was handymen week, one of my very favourite times of the year as some of you may recall. But shocking as it may be: Everybody showed up on time! I know, I still have to pinch myself really hard, but it most definitely happened.
The guys beamed at me when I breathlessly (I had to hurry downstairs, who expects anyone to be on time for heaven’s sake?) pointed out a miracle had happened. And that made me think (once again) about punctuality.
I am a very punctual person. Full stop. That might not surprise you given that I am German and those are famous for being on time, aren’t they? But I haven’t always been this way. As a matter of fact, for most of my adulthood, I had considered running late quite fashionable as did most of my friends at that time. The question would always be, who comes in last? You know, it seems so much more interesting when you rush into a bar with this diva-like air of stress. Everybody is looking at you while you get to tell the most amazing story about why you are being late. After you’ve ordered the champagne that is.
So this pattern worked just fine for me most of the time. However, I had one very friend who refused to be anything like a diva, and she was always, always, I mean: ALWAYS on time. And although I knew this, I couldn’t snap out of my habit, so when we had agreed to meet at 8, I knew I had to leave my home at 7:45. But mostly, I had just started to get dressed at that time and would only be ready to leave at 8 – by which time my friend would have already arrived at the bar. Every time I felt bad, yet I somehow just didn’t manage to get out of the house in a timely fashion.
Until I read an article somewhere that quoted someone saying that it was a matter of respect to be on time. If I come late, I consider my time more valuable than somebody else’s for I expect the other one to have nothing better to do than to wait for me. Whereas I apparently have something better to do than to hang out with that someone. Made sense to me. All of a sudden, this whole diva thing wasn’t so appealing to me anymore, and ever since reading this statement, I have tried hard to be annoyingly on time. And if I cannot help it but run 5 minutes late, I at least let the other one know.
And so here I am in one of the most unpunctual countries in the world… But I don’t give up, I still haven’t given in to tardiness – and there is a teensy-weensy hope that it might rub off on some people…