Opinion: I’m ALWAYS late

Melissa Schwachenwald

Melissa Schwachenwald

Melissa Schwachenwald is a senior fine arts major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

There’s an art to being on time that I will never fully understand. The individuals that have their life on a planned track, guided by the hour and deadlines, carefully and neatly organizing their calendars; these people amaze me.

I’ll admit this amazement isn’t wholehearted though; the concept of arriving on time to work, class, a date or anywhere really is boring to me. 

There’s a dramatic sensation to thinking I left at a reasonable time, realizing speeding is necessary and rushing into work, attempting to narrowly escape without my boss noticing. 

He usually does though, and so does my professor who is much more difficult to avoid if I’m late. After working somewhere for a while and attending classes regularly, the excuses have all been used.

The explanations range from: “I had to fill my gas tank before I ran out”; “I’m stuck in traffic”; “Everyone sucks at driving”; “This weather is terrible, I can’t maneuver my automobile in a safe manner”; “I got pulled over”; and pretty much anything to do with the car. 

Other reasons have been slightly more creative: “I don’t know where my cellphone is; therefore I have no concept of time.” “No I don’t own a watch.” “Oh, daylight saving time happened, right?” “I thought I was scheduled at 4?” “Wait, I’m late? I thought I was early for once!” “Well it’s kind of a long story; my cat ran out of the house and I tried to catch her and then I ended up in mud which ruined my clothes so I had to change and … ” My favorite reason is that I think I’m destined to live on an island; it’s innate for me to be on carefree island time.

I’ve been scolded and threatened about my delays but unfortunately nothing has cured it. Working under pressure has always been successful for me. 

There’s 10 minutes left to turn something in and I complete it, almost like winning a game. I no longer attempt to defend why I’m always late; people just expect it. 

My friends accept my constant tardiness and my family hides their frustration, knowing it is unlikely for me to be somewhere early. Usually they will tell me to come an hour before the get-together starts, however, I recognize this trick and can’t help but be at least five minutes late. 

I have attended a time management class, set alarms, bought planners and changed clocks to make me believe it was 2:15 rather than 2 yet I knew I had 15 minutes to do whatever it is that makes me late.

That’s a good question; what the hell makes me late all the time?

I can’t come up with legitimate logic as to what would be more important than showing up early or at the expected time.

I may move slower than most, or just not particularly care about continuously being late; I’ll get there when I get there, no harm done.

I do recognize the insincerity in not being on time. The gesture is rude and sometimes lying is involved. I’m in no way impressed or proud of my tardiness … although I could amiably take the most absences and late deadlines award.

Recently, I had a temporary but elated feeling of being early. A good sleep and coffee was involved, the sun was out, birds were chirping and then … the triumphant awareness that I was 15 minutes early!

Man it felt good, almost like an out-of-body experience. Maybe it will happen more often, who knows?

I’d write out a list of goals and techniques to being prompt but I’m 20 minutes late for class.