Blonde's Eye View: The importance of being late
COMMENTby Angela Clarke
"Punctuality is the virtue of the bored," said Evelyn Waugh. And that was long before you had to deal with topping up your Oyster card, when all the machines are out of order and it's a Monday. Insightful man that Waugh.
I was born two weeks overdue and I've been trying to catch up ever since. You're either a late person, or you're one of those insufferably smug creatures that pop up at each appointment five minutes before they're due.
My partner is punctual. He believes arriving late is bad manners. I find it's the opposite. If you appear bang on the dot for supper at mine I'm likely to run past you, clad only in magic knickers, curlers in hair, cursing.
Everyone knows "seven-thirty for eight" means eight o'clock. Otherwise why would you mention eight at all?
Prompt people may be self-satisfied, but they are also flawed. The tiniest hint of something standing in their fastidious way, and they go all John Cleese in Clockwise.
You know the odd bods who twitch when the Jubilee line stops between stations? Those are the on time people. Us latecomers are used to... well, being late.
We're relaxed. We savour the here and now, we don't thrust ourselves forwards into our next destination. Besides we know those we're meeting probably won't be on time either. This is London, guys: nothing works. Chill.
Hence reports of a late passenger setting off the fire alarm at City Airport in a bid to catch their plane have it all wrong.
A late person would be used to that pressure: they'd board the next flight. Been there, done that. The passenger that freaked out and caused a full-scale evacuation of the airport? That was a punctual one.
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