Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Being Late: I hate indefinite waiting

I can't claim to always be on time, but I really hate it when people are late. No, really, I hate it when people are late and won't let you know that they will be late. Especially with cell phones. There really is no excuse for not calling and saying you are running late.

I'm not anal about it. Certainly, with variations in clocks and people's watches, it isn't unreasonable for someone to be 5 minutes late and think that they are on time. That doesn't really upset me. But when it goes over 5 minutes, and where there hasn't been a call ahead, that really bugs me. What makes it worse is when I then have to sit and wait and wonder when or if someone is going to show up. I hate indefinite waiting. Waiting sucks, but at least if you know how long you have to wait, you know when to expect it to be over and can do other things. Indefinite waiting is like torture. You sit and wonder how long you'll be waiting. Uncertainty leads to stress and worry.

If the time was an important one, like, say, the start of court or a movie, then I am less forgiving of being even 5 minutes late. But then in that case, I'd try and make the meeting time early enough that even 5 minutes late is not too late for the event in question. I'd try and meet 30 minutes (or more) before court. Or at least 15 minutes before a movie start time (at the movie theater).

C'mon people. If you are running late, at least call. That is the police, responsible thing to do. I understand that unexpected delays can happen. They happen to me far too often, especially dealing with two small children. Just call. And call again if anything changes. Information is power. Information can also help defuse irritation.

One last note. I really don't care if other people are late for something when it only hurts themselves. Like if someone else is late to a class I'm taking. They miss some class. So what? It only hurts them. They're paying for it. They are the customer. If they want to flush money down the toilet like that, that's their business. What annoys me, actually, is when the instructor makes a big deal out of it. Like when they lock the doors, or something like that only an asshat would do. Or when they start talking to the person walking in and chew them out, complaining how it interrupts class to have someone come in late. The thing about that was, when someone walks in late and no one says anything, it really doesn't interrupt anything. You can tune it out and ignore them. The REAL interruption is from the teacher yelling at them. And guess what, teacher, that is YOUR fault. You may not be able to make a student arrive on time, but you can certainly control your reaction. If you want to chew out a student for being late, do it on your own time, don't waste MY time for it. I place the blame for that squarely on the teacher's shoulder. While I can understand the irritation at the late student, class time, which is MY time, which I am paying good money for, is not the appropriate time to express it. It is unprofessional and childish and I expect more for my money.

Now, someone might argue that the display of childish yelling at a student for being late during class serves as a deterrent to others being late, but to me that only makes sense as an argument if there is a real distraction caused, and again, there is none if you just never yell in the first place. So there's really no savings to be had. Just ignore them. They paid for it, they can show up late if they want. If you really want to say something, do it privately.

Thus ends my rant.

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