You Call Me 'Compulsively Late,' but You Should Really Look on the Bright Side

Because the Internet is a safe place that guarantees discretion, I'm going to admit something: I have a tardiness problem. It's unhealthy, and all my friends should probably give up being my friend because I'm rude and terrible to them. But isn't being chronically late just a byproduct of extreme optimism? You're shaking your head no, but I think YES.


First of all, let's be clear: I'm not denying that I have a problem. I mean, one time, I was three blocks away from a bar 15 minutes before I was supposed to meet someone, and I swear I felt actual relief when I took a wrong turn and got lost.

I just admitted to you that I prefer to be lost, alone, confused, and, as on that particular day, cellphone-less, rather than 15 minutes early. I am aware this is problematic, and I am also aware I'm about to make a very structurally unsound argument to defend myself.

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But here it goes.

I truly believe that I can start making cookies two hours before I'm supposed to leave because I believe they'll bake all the way in the 12 minutes I allot them in the oven, and I believe they'll cool completely and the dog will choose another day to eat them off the table.

A pessimist believes her baking soda is already expired and her cookies are doomed, and a practical person assumes the cookies will take 15 minutes to bake because she knows her oven isn't as hot as it should be, and she knows it never cooks things all the way. But me? I believe this is the day the oven steps up its act and cooks things at a normal temperature.

I, the optimist, always assume my commute will take a snappy 45 minutes, and that there will be no sick passengers on the train, and that there will be no 12-block traffic jam clogging up the roads.

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When I look at an hour, I see time to snooze, time to shower, time to dry my hair, time to eat breakfast, and another 15 minutes to skim Facebook. When I look at an hour, I see possibility. When you look at an hour, you see yourself walking out the door at a perfectly boring speed, 10 minutes ahead of schedule. What kind of a life is that? Where's the thrill? Where's the suspense?

My life as a late person is shrouded in a haze of excitement. Your life as a punctual person is very up to date because you always have time to check Twitter while you wait for me at the bar. I am sorry for keeping you waiting, I swear. Someday, that trick where you set your watch ahead will actually work.

But for now, you're happier the way you are, and I'm happy here, five minutes behind.


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