To My Chronically Late Friends,
As your “I’m going to be a bit late” text chimes in, I have already been sitting comfortably in this bar for five minutes. Yet, when your message passes across my phone screen, I freeze. It will probably be ten minutes until you arrive, but it will feel like a life sentence of suffering the cruelest form of social torture.
Don’t get me wrong, going to a bar, or a movie, or an Arby’s alone is an acceptable, and fun way to spend time. Yet, when I’m waiting for the arrival of a friend, being alone is an uttermost display of personal vulnerability; I’m popping my head out, looking to the door every ten seconds like a hyperactive meerkat. I might as well be standing in the middle of the room reading my old Harry Potter Fanfiction, or even better, spontaneously combusting.
I’m unsure whether to order a beverage or not. If I order something, then it’s rude. If I don’t, I’m loitering. I stare at my phone like it’s the oracle that possesses the answer to this moral quandary. The situation elevates from yellow to amber when the bartender walks over and asks, “Can I help you?” My quaint ethical pickle has now turned into my Sophie’s Choice.
Maybe it’s my fault for having such high standards for my friends to arrive to a location at a predetermined time. Maybe it’s my mother’s fault as she taught me, “Fifteen minutes early is on time, on time is late, and if you’re late, you’re better off not showing up, as timeliness is the only thing keeping Earth from erupting into a dystopian inferno.”
There is only so much I can look at on my phone before I begin to ooze woe and tragedy. The bartender smells my desperation. She tends to me by saying, “Awww, you poor thing….are you okay?” Although my name is Kristin, she starts calling me “Bella”. I am now her stray human that she has adopted out of pity.
I cannot believe the audacity you all have to waste my precious time! In the ten minutes I will be sitting on this cold, hard bar stool, isolated, and sad waiting for you, I could be on my comfortable couch, equally as isolated, and still very sad.
I go to the bathroom to seek refuge. I don’t have to actually go, as my mother taught me to go at home before I go out, but here I am, sitting on a toilet too low with a lack of toilet paper and a questionable liquid lining the floor. I would rather be sitting on this wet toilet in order to avoid feeling the awkwardness out at the bar I last felt as a six-foot-tall thirteen-year-old.
I emerge from the toilets determined to leave this blanket of loneliness which is only emboldened by the cold winds of the fun and light-heartedness of people enjoying themselves around me. I sit, and question every decision that has brought me to this point in my life. In a past life I must have used my cell phone in a movie theater to deserve this monstrosity.
But ALAS! You finally arrive! As a feeling of joy and relief hit me, I wonder what excuse you’ll give me for not arriving on time. The dog pooped in the house again? Traffic? “American Pie” by Don McClean was on the radio and you just had to listen to the entire song?
Regardless, I don’t ask why you’re late. Like my mom always says, life is too short to not be on time, but it’s also not long enough to be angry over your friends being tardy.
From your pal,