Thoughtful Not-Thursday: Late

May 15, 2010

Thoughtful ThursdaySorry to be late posting Thoughtful Thursday this week. I spent Thursday on planes and in airports, then Friday I had limited computer access.

I’ve never been this late posting Thoughtful Thursday before, but a couple of times I’ve posted on Friday instead of Thursday. Whenever that happens, I receive a handful of comments and emails asking if I’m okay. While I appreciate the concern, it also amuses me. Personally I’m not quick to worry when anyone is late, whether with a blog post or an in-person appearance. Plenty of people in my life are quick to worry, though — my mother, my mother-in-law, and my other mother-in-law are at the top of the list.

I’m even less likely to worry when dealing with someone who has a tendency toward tardiness. One of my husband’s friends is so perpetually late that we’ve established a rule: take the time the guy says he will show up and add 90 minutes. It’s like he lives in his own time zone. We call it Edgar Time.

Though he’s no Edgar, my husband is not great at estimating time. If he says he’ll be there in 20 minutes, it will probably be 45. I don’t start to worry unless he’s more than an hour and a half late.

His mother, though, is quick to worry and slow to figure out lateness patterns. If we’re 10 minutes late she starts to freak out and calls all of our numbers. We usually arrive before she starts calling the hospitals and morgues. DH finally set her straight by having a talk with her about the odds. What are the odds that he’s lying in a ditch by the side of the road? Very small. What are the odds that he’s going to be late? Almost 100%. If a very punctual person is late there might be cause to worry, but with some people, worry would be better replaced with exasperation.

How quick are you to assume the worst when someone is late?


15 Responses to “Thoughtful Not-Thursday: Late”

  1. Two Kayaks Says:

    Firstly, I’d rather be two hours early than even five minutes late. I have a difficult time with people who are late. I mean, we ALL have the same 24 hours…but I digress.
    While I don’t necessarily assume the worst, I do begin to worry about someone’s safety if they are more than 30 minutes late. Above worry, though, is irritation.

  2. Kristin Says:

    I do not automatically assume the worst just because someone is late. It all depends on the person. I have one sis that is perpetually late. In fact, we are shocked if she is ever on time. There are a few people I start to worry about if they are even 10 minutes late.

  3. Rebecca Says:

    I don’t, because I am always late myself. I assume they’ll turn up at some point.

  4. Ha, excellent topic. I’m always early but DH is always late (so if we go somewhere together we balance each other out a bit). After over 12 years together I know that when he says “I’ll be there in 5 minutes” it will more likely be half an hour. So I don’t worry that something terrible has happened when he’s late (but I still hate it that I always have to wait for him), but I would if it would be my parents – as they are like me (or better: I’m like them) always early. So I guess it depends on the person and his/her habits whether I’ll worry or not.

  5. Staciet Says:

    Glad that all is okay on your end. πŸ™‚

    In the past I didn’t automatically assume that something was wrong when a person was late. When my dad died, that changed some. Now I go to the dark place and think the worst, especially if I know the person is/was/will be driving. I try not to, but I do anyway! (Issues much?)

  6. Ana Says:

    I’m also super-punctual, I got more annoyed than anything with more casual acquaintances (esp if they are habitually late). I used to worry a bit with people who are not prone to tardiness or ones that I expect to call or text when they are going to be late; but now that my life is a lot more complicated, I realize how many things contrive against anyone ever getting anywhere on time! I still worry quite a bit when someone is doing something that I find somewhat frightening (flying, driving in bad weather or when really tired, going to an unsafe part of town, being out really late alone). In those situations, with very close loved ones, I can get a little frantic until I make contact.

  7. strongblonde Says:

    lol. so…i guess you can tell i’m a worrier!

    i’m a very time conscious person. i arrive everywhere early. i get stressed out when OTHER people run late. i like things to start when they say will and end on time. especially now….my time is important and i just want other people to respect it the way i respect theirs.

    so i do worry. i start to get nervous that something bad may have happened when someone is a couple of hours late. do i call hospitals? no. i’m not that bad yet. but i do let my imagination run a little too wild sometimes when i’m worrying about someone being late/not calling on time/etc.


  8. Elana Kahn Says:

    I start to worry at different times for different things. Obviously for a blog post it’s different–being a day or so late isn’t so bad. But if I’m waiting for someone to pick me up then I’m freaking out if they’re 1 or 2 minutes late! If I’m waiting for my hubby to come home, I start worrying when he’s 15 mins past usual time…and then I’ll call him. For other stuff–like waiting for a phone call–then I don’t worry until it’s been an hour or more.

  9. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    For myself, I prefer to be early rather than late…I would add my own margin of time, to the actual travelling time.

    Ummm…For someone else, I do not assume the worst, though I get very irritated at the lack of sense of time.

    I have relatives, who always come waaaay after the actual time of the event, and I have something akin to Edgar time associated with them.

    As such, no, I would not assume that something bad has happened. It is probably surprise guests at their home/traffic etc that would cause the delay…that would be my thought…

    Thanks to modern communication, it is easy to be in touch with people…

  10. Idraena Says:

    I never used to be one of those who are habitually late, because my mother freaks out when she is even a little late and I learned it from her. So yes, I used to worry when others were late. Especially if they were coming to pick me up — I have one particular friend who always calls to say she’s “right outside”, by which she means that she’s somewhere close and she should be there in the next few minutes. (That one irritated me, I have to say, as well as freaked me out. She’s right outside?? Did I miss her or something?!)

    But I have relaxed over the years, and now I am habitually ~10 minutes late to everything. We’re in college. We’re pretty much all habitually late to everything. So no, I don;t tend to worry unless it’s over half an hour, in which case I call the person.

  11. coffeegrl Says:

    I almost never assume the worst. I just figure that everyone else in the world is promptness-challenged while I’ve always been just the opposite (although having a child has changed that a bit!). What makes me crazy is the abuse of cell phones for this purpose. Cell phones are HUGE in Japan and my in-laws use them all the time. This means that while you’re on the way home (as planned might I add) they’ll call you twice just to see where you are. WHY?!! I ask. If it’s to offer a ride from the subway station (and once in a while it is) that’s one thing. But very often, it’s strictly a “where are you and when will you be here?” query for purposes that I simply do NOT comprehend. Makes me nuts.

  12. a Says:

    I have only gotten worried about someone being late once. I was not worried as much about what had happened to him as I was about what he was up to. But anyway.

    I usually just get irritated by lateness, since I am habitually early. My in-laws are always late by 10-30 minutes. But I never think anything happened…it doesn’t take too long to figure out if people are just not interested in being on time or if they are punctual.

  13. Photogrl Says:

    I strive to be early, and not late but I can’t always manage it.

    As for others, I don’t start really worrying unless they are an hour or more late.

    This probably comes from my mother and her family. She was habitually late in picking me up from school practices (which is why I HATE being late) and her family is full of late people. We joke that when you have a get together, you tell every family a different time (based on their avg. lateness) so that everyone arrives at once!

  14. Cat Says:

    Since I’m so often late myself and was raised by chronically tardy parents (though it may have just been my dad), I only get worried when my friend “L” is late. In the seven years I’ve known her, she’s only been late once. Literally, once, and I did assume the worst because it was so out of character for her. Luckily she showed up about fifteen minutes later.

  15. I’m black, so unless someone is like hours late and I can’t reach them, I figure everything is all right. However if my timely husband is even 20 minutes late, I call and call until I get him, assuming that he is in a ditch or something. This has only happened twice in our five year relationship though..

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