Chronically Tardy

Who’s chronically late out there?

I’m pokey. I take forever to get things done. To get my ass in gear.

I know I am not the only one.

My chronic tardiness annoys the hell out of people, especially the Hubs, who is very punctual.

Bless his heart, he’s put up with this for over 33 years.

Virtually anyone who knows me IRL will say that having a relationship with me, the kind where you go places in public together, requires patience.

I’ve become more self-aware in the last year, however, which is why I aim to be purposefully patient when I’m interacting with others. Whether it’s my immediate family, the neighbor I just met in my driveway, or my favorite female friends, I try to pay it back.

Yet, my frequent tardiness causes unnecessary stress. I don’t like feeling like I’m disappointing people. But know this: I’m continually running late not because I don’t value your presence and don’t have a feeling of adrenaline running through me in anticipation of whatever we’re doing together.

I like to think those who know me best sense this vibe coming out of me every which way in these moments and choose to love me anyway.

I believe my chronic tardiness is how I’m wired.

Bear with me here.

I was born late. About 6 or 7 years late, I’d say, based on what my Mom told me often when she was still alive.

I was the baby my parents hoped and tried for, after my sister was born. I just took my sweet time getting here. I was born just a bit over 8 years after her.

It stands to reason that my late arrival into this world has at least something to do with my chronic lateness. It’s a theory anyway. Not an excuse, mind you, but an explanation.

I kid you not: I recently perused my old high school yearbook. On one page, there was what can only be referred to as a rambling mess of inside jokes written by, I imagine, a small group of nerdy yearbook kids. At the end of this “piece” is written “and Rhonda K is still eating lunch”.

That, of course, was me they were referring to.

I read an article on NPR earlier this year about chronic lateness. I found it really interesting, and you may as well. Click here for the link.

According to the article, time is a social construct. How cultures view time varies, though essentially one’s view is either “event” based or “clock” based. I clearly fall more into the “event based” camp. If I tell you I’m going to meet up with you today at 11 a.m., I will meet up with you. I’m never one of those “no show” people. Yet, perhaps largely because I am an American living in the U.S., I understand and appreciate those in the “clock based” crowd.

Would you consider yourself “clock” based or “event” based when it comes to time? And what do you make of it?

While you consider those questions, I hope you take the time to enjoy this “timely” cover of a fantastic pop song by Chicago, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?”

***Header image courtesy of

13 thoughts on “Chronically Tardy”

  1. I tell people I was born 10 days late and haven’t been on time since. That’s not entirely true; sometimes my anxiety gets the better of me and I show up insanely early. And sometimes I catch the traffic lights just right and burst through the door precisely on time. But usually I am late. Anywhere from 2 minutes to an hour — the latter especially since I had kids. (They are even less on time than I am, because it takes them forbloodyever to find their shoes.) I do try to be on time, but the truth is I have no idea how long anything takes. I’ve even tried timing myself: How long it takes me to get ready, how long it takes to drive to this or that location. I gave up when I realized that my answer to the former is always 15 minutes and the latter an hour. I am wrong on both counts. Things could be worse, though. A guy I once dated was late to everything, even his own parties. I learned to add an hour to any time he gave me, and I still always arrived first. I could waste time getting upset about his chronic tardiness, or I could see it as a gift: an appointment I could never be late for. What’s time to a hog?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me too, it’s like my sense of time is unique to me. And what is with kids not being able to find their shoes? Or socks for that matter? I run into this with my grandson all the time. Thanks for your comments; they’re appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the fun reminder of the Chicago song…I remember! And, I say, you-do-you! My best friend has a well-earned reputation for tardiness, and it’s become one of her charms…well, except for the time we nearly missed our flight…but still, I joke she’s got her own time zone…and navigates accordingly. She doesn’t intend to be late but is forever finding someone, something to help and it slows her down. 😘

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Sure thing and — and I keep forgetting to thank you for the “Poker Face” recommendation. Hubs and I have been watching — so much fun. Natasha Lyonne is a talent — wow – she does it all! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your post reminds me of a Ross Gay essay I recently read–in his new book, INCITING JOY. His essay is all about how time is a construct and really favors capitalism and is basically just trying to kill us (or that’s my takeaway!). He’s a fan of “the hang”–hanging out with no end in sight, no checking the time, etc. Really hard to operate outside of time constraints in our society but it’s nice to try! And I’m generally 10 minutes late everywhere–usually because I decide to wash a couple dishes before I leave the house. You’d think I’d catch on and just keep them dirty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the idea of “the hang”. Some of my best memories with friends and family had that aspect. We’re just laughing, shooting the breeze. Such a wonderful gift, when we can just enjoy each other’s company. Thanks for your comments, I may check out Ross Gay’s work.


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