Oh, man. Can you believe this got on Ellen? She sounds like me (bad enough) doing karaoke while being waterboarded.
For those of you not familiar with Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kim Zolziak is the one with the wig business and the married boyfriend she calls “Big Poppa.” Big Poppa, if you couldn’t guess from the name, gives her money and stuff.
Anyone can pay big bucks to spend time in a recording studio and lay down some truly ear-killing shit. But I don’t know how it came to pass that she got this on the airwaves, or on Ellen. Oh wait. Ellen: NBC. Real Housewives: Bravo, as in NBC. OK.
Well, NBC Universal doesn’t own me.
The reason “Tardy For The Party” made it to my blog is twofold:
- I love truly awful stuff
- It made me think.
Not the lyrics – they’re all about bein in the club, sippin wine lookin fine like a covergirl covered in diamonds and pearls. A lifestyle I put behind me several years ago. (Though I do like to cover myself in glittery, precious jewels at home and just order some takeout).
No, it’s the title. It shames me every time I hear it, because I AM tardy for the party. Or the dinner, or the doctor, or the wedding, or the train or the plain, or the airport car that’s waiting downstairs.
It’s true. I’m a late person.
Whenever I get somewhere early, I give myself a little party in my head. And yes, i cover myself in diamonds and pearls.
Though most of the time, if I’m early, it’s accidental – it almost never happens unless I get the time mixed up.
“Hey, I’m here for the 11 am meeting.”
“You’re not late, the meeting’s at 11:30.”
And then they’re wondering why, if I thought it was at 11, I’m there at 11:10.
They say that lateness is an act of arrogance or control.
“They” being psychologists and people who have been mad at me for showing up late.
For some late people that may be true: my friend Tanya*, though not a celebrity, considers herself one and thinks that we should all just chill till she shows up, understanding that her hair and makeup take a little longer than a normal, less-fabulous person’s. You might say that’s arrogant.
According to my sister, who lives in LA, people there don’t apologize for lateness either. Not because they’re celebrities – though some may be – but because being stuck in traffic is such a given that no one is expected on time. They don’t even try. They’ll leave you waiting an hour, then show up and just say, “hey.”
But when I have somewhere to be, I’m well aware of the time and the person on the other end.
The responsible part of me has every intention of being punctual. And then this other part of me takes over — the part that likes self-torture and mind games. I tell myself, “I need 30 minutes to dress and get out of the house.” Then, when I have 30 minutes left, i say, “actually, I just need 15 minutes.”
Then, at about T-15, I say, “ten.” Which is when I realize the shirt I’d planned to wear is balled up in the laundry, and begin the 20-minute process of finding something else that looks good.
Once I’m out of the house, I’m in a panic the whole way. I picture the person I’m meeting looking at their watch, shaking their head over how hot-mess I am. I run through potential excuses.
Possible reasons I was late:
- “I was stuck on a conference call for work.” (Doesn’t work with work people)
- “I got stuck in the elevator.” (Hasn’t happened to me since the 70s)
- “I got mugged.” (Hasn’t happened to anyone I know since the 70s)
- “Traffic was insane.” (No good. Traffic doesn’t make people late. It makes LATE people late)
- “Sorry, stuck on the subway. A passenger got sick.” (Legitimate, but best saved for when it really happens)
- “Diarrhea attack” (Too personal)
- “Zombie attack.” (Overused)
I only cycle through these in my head. I no longer use them. I used to, until I noticed how utterly stupid they sounded coming from other late people.
My friend Jen*, who, like me, cares a whole lot what people think, always shows up breathless as though she ran the whole way – even though she just stepped out of a cab.
While she’s hugging me hello, she’s saying, “I’m so sorry, the babysitter got there late, and then my kid wouldn’t eat his chicken fingers, and my stupid cab driver went the dumbest possible way, I think there’s a parade or the president’s in town, aren’t cab drivers supposed to know that? I gave him a really small tip.”
I don’t need to hear this. It usually turns out that I just got there, myself. If I’m late, I’m thrilled to find out that someone else is more late.
What I’ve discovered is, it’s best to just shut up and say:
“Sorry I’m late.”
After all, there’s rarely an excuse that makes it more OK. If the other person is thinking, “she better have a good reason for being late,” then the chicken fingers and bad cab driver aren’t going to cut it. And if they don’t care, then they don’t need to hear it at all.
Another helpful thing I’ve learned:
Let it go.
Once you’re running late, no amount of worrying and looking at your watch will make you less late. In fact, if you’re walking, it’ll make you a fraction of a second more late. Or even more if you trip while looking down, or knock someone over and then have to help them up and apologize. (And no, knocking someone down is not a legitimate excuse.)
The best solution? Don’t be tardy for the party. Thank you, Kim Zolciak. Working on it.
*Names have been changed to protect the tardy. Actually, to protect me from the tardy. They get pissed when you out them.