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He was always late on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.
Oscar Wilde

If timing is everything, punctuality ought to be the freshest breath of the sublime.

Twelve months ago you couldn’t have found a more ardent exponent of this thought. Timeliness was a mark of respect for the other person, a sign of an ordered mind and the grip of a disciplined person. It displayed the ability to plan and manage contingency, to deal with the vagaries of time and not be defeated.

I prized punctuality as the mark of an exceptional person.

I strove to epitomize punctuality personally. The thought of being even five minutes late for something, or for that matter five minutes early would evince protracted self inflicted reproaches.

If something was to start at 1:00 I would be there at 12:59, punctual. The manifestation of the starting time in living flesh. A chastisement to all those who dared to come late. A rebuke, living and breathing.

I dare say people felt it.

I knew this wasn’t common. Most people are some species of tardy. They’re content to fudge starting by a few minutes and accommodate the late comer. Even indulge the late comer at the expense of the punctual. Chronometric precision was a trait idolized only in Rolex commercials.

I have converted to their view.

I’ve had enough of waiting around MTR Stations and shopping malls. Tapping at my watch, restlessly pacing, leering into shop windows at things I’d never buy and perusing people I’ll never see again.

Killing Time.

Now, I can’t be arsed to be punctual. Five, ten, fifteen minutes late is just an inconvenience. Nothing hinges on the arbitrary times we set for things. If lateness is inevitable, I’d rather it inconvenience them.

The phone call I always get that they’re running late meets with a shrug of the shoulder. I’ve already anticipated not being there on time. Instead they wait, and they’ll keep on waiting, and never apprehend the silent judgement passed.

My time is too valuable to me. I have too little of it. What little I have flies by every day, every month at a blinding pace. I will not waste it on the ingrates who show it no respect. Who spend currency of mine for their ill conceived needs.

I don’t go out of the way to be late, I’m not glamour model aiming to make a fashionably late entrance.

But I’m no longer fussed either. 

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2 Comments

    • Hunaid
    • Posted June 11, 2007 at 10:16 pm
    • Permalink

    Your post is worrying to me. The person i once knew who had steel principals is now indifferent towards the things he believes in or used to believe in. I dare say, the working world has slowly but surely started the process of tranforming you. I believe change is good but only if it benefits you and others.

  1. The “art” of being punctual for me is arriving just before the other person or slightly after they did, rather than in relation to the agreed time. The rationale behind this is neither party has to wait a long time, a win-win situation.

    Like you, I too value my time, so the trick here is to be as late as possible without looking like you are late. E.g., 5 minutes late can be passed off as missing the MTR but it’s harder to find an excuse for being 30 minutes late.


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