I’m on time. In fact, I’m early. In fact, I was here 10 minutes ago.

Where were you?

You’re never on time. You’re never ever early. You are frequently … what’s the word I’m looking for here?


Now, I’m not naming any names here — except, of course, for the repeated references to my wife, Carol — but there are certain people who just can’t seem to be on time.

They show up for Saturday dinner on Sunday. They hear “see you at 7” as an invitation to “try to get there by 8:15.”

They are the people who will walk out the door at 7:55 for a meeting at 8. Across town.

In Lima, Peru.

They are the ones who are heading out the door to meet someone at 6 but decide to change clothes because “it looks like rain out there” rather than just grabbing an umbrella. But they are also the people who then spend 20 minutes looking for their umbrella but can’t find it because they’ve left it in Lima.

They show up just after the movie has started — and the friend of the hero has already been killed by the guy working for the guy who looks like Kevin Spacey — and decide to sit in the row right in front of you and ask loudly if they’ve missed anything.

The reservation is for 7:30. When you ask, “Are you ready to leave?” they are the people who will respond, “almost,” not realizing that “ready,” as a question, is an either/or proposition.

Either: You are ready to leave, meaning not still looking for your phone or wondering where your blue shoes are. In fact, you have pretty much left.

Or: You still have to find the right shoe, decide that both shoes, as an ensemble, don’t go with the black pants, then find your keys, send a short e-mail while continuing to look for your phone, which now may be in the black pants you are no longer wearing.

You have not left, and will pretty much not be leaving for another 16 minutes.

People who are habitually late are, most of all, people who have timed things out so tightly that if everything goes perfectly right and there is no traffic and the lights are all perfectly green and the perfect moon is in the seventh house and everyone else is perfectly delayed by a sudden outbreak of epidemic giggling, they will arrive where they are supposed to be at exactly the perfect time.

When it doesn’t happen perfectly like that, they blame the giggling.

If you are, in fact, a person who is perennially late, I have a few suggestions.

Wear a watch. Look at it occasionally.

If you’re meeting someone at a particular time, it’s useful to know what time that is. And it’s always better to know that kind of information before the appointment.

Never schedule that appointment with someone like me, who is always early.