I’m running late. Again. My heart is pounding as I power walk to the theatre production I’m supposed to be reviewing; I dodge in and out of the crowds of slow walkers. A quick glace at my watch shows that I have four minutes to get to the theatre and pick up my press tickets, which, I estimate, should take ten. I shake my head, not in disbelief, but annoyance at my continued unpunctuality.
Now, I know that lots of people have this problem. And they have their reasons for it: a consequence of parenting, a serious lack of time-management or the student disease known as procrastination. Unfortunately, I have none of these symptoms to use as my excuse. I manage to complete essays days before the deadline, I am single and without children (thank God!) and I am always doing something productive; procrastination just isn’t a problem for me. So I am clueless as to why I am always late.
I have tried all the usual techniques that are thought to remedy tardiness. My watch is programmed five minutes fast, and my alarm clock at ten. Despite this attempt to match my internal clock’s inclination for lateness to standard time, I continue to be five minutes late.
Last semester, I had the pleasure of a 9am seminar every Tuesday. I tried my best, getting up half an hour early and setting off on my walk through Marchmont earlier. Yet I still arrived to the class at 9.05am week in and week out. It got beyond the point of apology. It became an integral part of the class. It became the norm.
I guess university tutors become accustomed to the tardiness of students. By mid-semester, they probably even expect it. Yet society has instilled a sense of guilt into me, when I attempt to sneak into a class mid-discussion and make a point that some punctual geek made ten minutes before the class was even due to start. This guilt makes me think that my fashionably-late syndrome is something that needs to be fixed. It’s a new year and a new decade after all. Maybe this is my time to be on time.
Yet the only way I think I could accomplish this would be with the help of teleportation. Imagine it. You could programme it before you went to bed, and it would magically zap you to your 9am seminar, just as the second hand was about to hit twelve. There would be no more racing down Jawbone Walk, no more sleepily-mumbled apologies as you race to the only empty chair in the lecture room, no more frantic phone calls to let your friend know that you are going to be late to their birthday celebrations. You would be everyone’s punctual best friend.
On second thoughts, however, you may not want to be zapped to your required destination on time. You are running late for a reason. Envisage a typical Monday morning. You have slept in; yet, with the teleportation device, you would find yourself making that early morning lecture complete with fluffy-bunny slippers, bed-hair, snoring et al. Now for those students who do not identify themselves as a ’Rah, this outcome would be worse than the reputation for belatedness. In fact, it would be a fashion victim’s hell.
So, after accessing all of the antidotes for my tardiness, I must admit that my destiny is to be a ‘habitual unpunctual’. My hectic, on-the-last-minute lifestyle is a part of my personality and friends, lecturers, doctors and employers must accept, or tolerate, me for what I am.
Therefore, this year I will not be making any new year’s resolution, but will continue to do things my way. After all, it has worked for me so far.