This may be tantamount to exposing a deep psychological flaw in my make up, but I loathe being late for appointments. I would rather be half-an-hour early and have to kill time than be two minutes late.
I do not see my obsession reflected in the behaviour of many others. I am frequently kept waiting, sometimes for surprisingly long periods, by people who seem to have a very elastic concept of timekeeping. Very often I don’t even get an apology. Apparently moaning about one’s own problems, “What a lousy day I’m having, everything has gone wrong; I haven’t even had time for a coffee this morning.” is deemed enough of a justification.
Yet consider what it means to arrive late. It probably means you are disorganised. It probably means you have little regard for the people you have kept waiting. It may mean you are insecure and need to boost your confidence by making “an entrance”. Or you wish to emphasise your status by being the last to walk in (which also indicates insecurity).
Also, of course, it is simply bad manners not to make the effort to arrive on time.
But let’s be charitable and assume that, like me, you do intend to be on time but are often thwarted by circumstances beyond your control. “The train was late.” “The traffic was terrible.” “The sole fell of my shoe and I had to stop for repairs.”
All pretty lame, aren’t they? And none of course passes the million-pound test. The what? That is the ultimate test – would you have been on time if you had been promised a million pounds, forfeited if you were even one second late? You bet you would – you’d have jumped into a taxi at Paddington and offered the driver thousands for a quick trip; you’d have abandoned your car in the middle of Manchester and legged it to the venue; you’d have arrived barefoot.
Be prompt; it’s only good manners. And you never know – there just might be a million pounds waiting for you one day.