My buddy Ivon sent me the following article today: The Psychology Behind Why Some People Are Late. It is, when all is said and done, a nonsense article that seeks to excuse rude and disrespectful behavior as the product of fear (an inability to control their lives leads people to subconsciously act in ways that allow them small control over others). While I’m not saying this isn’t necessarily true, I am saying that this probably accounts for a small minority of cases. The rest, I’m afraid, you can chalk up to ego, selfishness, and a complete disregard for others.
Now I have a lot of pet peeves, but topping the list is people who are late. I can’t stand working with them, and I hate socializing with them even more. And both are instances I can do something about.
I once had an old friend visit Vancouver who asked to stay at my place while in town. I said sure, no problem. He did his thing. I did my thing. It was all good. Until the last day when he told me that he wanted to take me out to dinner to thank me for my hospitality. Now I’m not a late diner, so we agreed on 6:00 p.m. Until the appointed time, I worked on a script while he went upstairs to his room and got on a skype call.
6:00 p.m. rolled around with no sign of him. Not a total surprise since, as long as I’d known him, he’d never been on time. Besides, we weren’t rushing to catch any reservations and I was making headway on my script. I could wait.
8:30 – At which point I headed into the kitchen and made myself dinner.
10:00 p.m.(!) he trots downstairs like nothing is amiss. “Alright, let’s go!”he says.
“Go where?”I asked.
“Dinner?! I had dinner an hour ago.”
As I said, even though he was a notoriously late arriver, I’d never had it impact me to the extent it did that night. And that night was dealbreaker for me. Since then, I’ve avoided all social outings with him.
I’m also reminded of a couple we used to know in Vancouver. A party was planned at a local restaurant to celebrate their recent engagement. I had a feeling we wouldn’t be eating at the appointed hour since the male half of that relationship was another notoriously late arriver. Only, on this occasion, his indifference was particularly shocking as he rolled in THREE HOURS LATE! I remember approaching and informing him I was genuinely considered because he was so outrageously late I naturally assumed something terrible had happened to them.
Needless to say, another two people I have phased out of my life.
In my line of work, time is money. Our days are tight and the last thing we need is someone rolling onto set late. Or keeping people waiting. It’s a power move and it really pisses me off.
Another flashback. This one to many years ago in L.A. when I was in the back seat of a limo, chatting with the driver. He told me that, for the most part, his clients were very nice and respectful – but there had been one woman, a high level studio executive, he had picked up the day prior. He pulled up at her hotel fifteen minutes before her scheduled pick-up and waited for her to come down. And waited. And waited some more. And waited some more. Eventually, she rushed down, flustered, and ordered him to step on it because she had to make her flight. Unfortunately for them, they hit traffic. As time ticked down and she realized her chances of making that flight were growing less and less likely, she ordered him to make an illegal u-turn and drive on the sidewalk. She promised to pay the cost of any potential tickets. He politely informed her that he was not going to risk his license. She was, by all accounts, miffed.
And, oh yeah, she did miss her flight.
So all this to say – don’t ever show up late if we have plans. Sometimes, circumstances beyond our control may affect one’s ETA. I understand that – which is why I give people ONE pass.
After that, I’m starting dinner without you.