At a morning lecture, we are surrounded by groans of ‘I thought I was going to be late! I overslept, was sooo hard to get out of bed this morning’. As we grab our pens to start scribbling down the first 10 minutes of lecture notes, a few stragglers sheepishly slide through the doors and flop into the nearest possible seat so as not to attract attention to themselves (you know who you are). We agree a time to meet friends at the pub and there’s always that one person who strolls in half an hour later than everyone else. The thing is, I have the opposite problem. The bane of my existence is that I’m always early. It’s quite pathetic. Even on days that I try to be late I rock up dead on time. It’s exasperating and often pretty embarrassing. Why do people put a certain time on a Facebook invitation if everyone just shows up two hours later than the specified time?! I clearly had not received the memo that it was ‘uncool’ to be on time. Everyone’s obsessed with being fashionably late. Countless times I have turned up to a party clutching my bottle of rosé to discover that I am in fact the only person there, and have to wait at least an hour until a few more people arrive. ‘Oh hey, guys… I’ve just been helping set things up… you’re early!’
I am fully aware that my ridiculous punctuality is extremely anal. It’s important to be on time for things like job interviews, but sometimes I have to remind myself not to get my knickers in a twist if my sister is an hour late to meet me at the shopping centre. When my OCD was at its worst, it used to take me three hours to get ready in the morning. Three hours. Getting up at the crack of dawn for school in order to accommodate my many bizarre rituals was not fun. I think half of my brain still accommodates them, even though I don’t feel the need to do them anymore. The other half of my brain is just anal. I wake up at least half an hour before my alarm goes off every morning like my brain is already panicking that I’m going to be late. I often have nightmares about oversleeping and wake up in a cold sweat. It’s insane. But at least I can definitely list ‘punctual’ in my personal qualities on my CV and know that it’s 100% true. My future interviewers will know that too when I rock up to my interview half an hour early.
I do find it funny that we have a need to be late for social gatherings. I always feel embarrassed when I’m meeting a friend and I’m the first one at the meeting point, because it implies that I’m overly keen or that I don’t have enough things occupying my life that would make me slightly later. But why do we care? Presumably if we’re attending social gatherings we’re meeting up with people we like and who also like us? So they shouldn’t judge us anyway on what time we show up, the fact that we’re there at all should be the most important thing.
I know I’m anal, but I don’t have time for this ‘too cool for school’ attitude. I’m going to be fashionably early.