The ability to avoid being late and to keep good time is a highly valued attribute in a personality. It shows that you value not only your own time, but also the time of those with whom you choose to spend it.
When people are late it’s a sign that they disregard your own time. I hate it when people are late, and likewise, I hate being late myself because I assume that other people would place me in a lower regard as I would them if they were late.
Sometimes though, lateness can’t be helped. Indeed, other people may cause it, or even make alleviating the problems being late causes, worse.
The pupil silently cracked the door open at the back of the classroom, spotted his seat, sidled his way into it and laid out his books.
A silence filled the room as the teacher glared over the top of her glasses.
“You’re 3 minutes late!” she snapped.
“Sorry miss. I -”
“The clock over there”, the crooked finger waggled, “is there for all of us to see so that we all know what time we begin.” she barked. “And that’s 9 oclock. What time is it now?”
The pupil bit his lip. He summoned his courage and opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted.
“Don’t mumble in my class! I asked you what time is it. Well then?”
“A bit after 9 o’clock miss”
“A BIT AFTER. Yes. Now go back outside and come in properly.”
The young boy walked outside and closed the door softly behind him which he then knocked on. His teacher’s voice came through.
“Who is it?” she screeched.
The boy called out his name through the closed door. The children in the class giggled; other children in other classes heard the noise and looked up.
“Settle down!” barked every teacher in every class room.
The voice though the door continued. “Well come in then. You’re late and you’ve disrupted the whole class. Now get your books out.”
“I’ve got them out already miss!”, said the boy, hoping that he’d be appeasing the wrath.
“Don’t answer me back! Now we were talking about [some crap or the other] before we you interrupted us.”
“Well for your benefit, I’ll say it all again.”
“Thank you miss.”
Paul picked up his pencil and wrote the date in the top left corner and underlined it. He remembered the date well, for it was the date that he’d both been dreading and looking forward to for the past two weeks. It was the date of his early morning dental appointment which was needed after a football had been kicked in his face in the playground by an over zealous PE teacher. The anaesthetic was beginning to wear off now and his mouth was feeling sore.
Well, that. And it was also his birthday.
From memory, this kind of thing happened very frequently at the school I went to. I’m not excusing being late, but sometimes it does just happen. My question is this: Why spend a minute complaining about 3 minutes, then spend a further 3 minutes repeating what’s already been said to the majority of the class?
Or alternatively, why after 30 years would my stupid brain still think to remember Miss Glazard? It’s ironic that out of all the history that Miss Glazard tried to drill into me this is the bit that remains in my head.
Some people and some experiences are best forgotten.