Punctuality is for Losers

My strange phobia of being late means that I am often the first to arrive at meetings at the Institute of Artistic Endeavour. This can create an unfortunate false impression of keenness in the face of the dullest of administrative matters. Especially when making matters worse by sitting at the front with my eyes open at all times.

Today’s keenness, however, was genuine. I was eager to attend a creative writing workshop for staff and students, hosted by the newly appointed writer in residence, a famous author. The workshop was scheduled to start at 3:30. I arrived at exactly 3:27, just in case there were any free buns to be had, but this turned out to be so early that the door to the room wasn’t even open. Oh well, I thought, at least I can get a good seat, and I eagerly barged my way into the empty room. Once inside, I was rather confused to find my empty room filled with a group of strangers seated reverently round a large table covered in books and papers, and I paused momentarily as my eyes scanned the scene with great urgency in an attempt to work out what the heck was going on.

Empty room. Full room. Early. Late. Big group of art students. Silence. A table with no legs missing in an art school. Nothing made sense in the split second it took for my brain to catch up with my eyes. When it eventually did, the sight of the famous author at the head of the table confirmed that I was, in fact, in the right place after all, but rather late. Late! Oh no.  I made a desperate lunge towards the empty seat nearest the door, letting out a very squeaky and unintentionally loud “Hi everybody” as I did so. Strangely there was no reply.

Puzzled at the church-like atmosphere, I settled myself into my seat and tried to act nonchalantly, as if I was late for things all the time. It felt quite good, until my fantasy was interrupted by the rustle of paper and the faint sound of some occasional consonants from the other end of the table. To my horror, it was coming from the Type 5 Inaudible student, who had been reading her carefully prepared passage to the group, until the strange woman with the squeaky voice came in and talked over her.

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7 Responses to “Punctuality is for Losers”


  1. 1 not quite like beethoven February 25, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I don’t think that’s a strange phobia. I know it well and I suspect so does everyone with hearing problems who often frequents meetings, lectures etc.

    By the way, remember what you heard about musicians and analogue hearing aids? There seems to be quite a lot of them, or at least that issue roused emotions on my blog.

    • 2 moiradancer February 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      Ah, NQLB, you always make me feel better about my funny little ways.

      Thanks for alerting me to the new comments on the digital/ analogue issue, I’d got so absorbed in this week’s carousel comments that I hadn’t looked back the way, even though the Babelfish translator threw me off the carousel thread several times:)

      Re the digital/ analogue comments, the individual length of those from the people most affected, is a very visual reflection of the anxiety and distress caused by what is essentially a lack of investment in their needs. If I were a billionaire philanthropist, I know how I’d spend my money…

  2. 3 partdeafpartgeekpartgirl February 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Oh that must’ve been so awkward :-O I hope no one gave you a hard time. It’s made worse by being a hidden disability. I’m sure the type 5 will get over it……..!

    I’ve come to realise that it’s always good to be early for stuff if you have hearing trouble so you can choose where to sit. I’m personally finidng this quite tricky since my hearing trouble starting, being diagnosed & getting a hearing aid, as I’m naturally slightly late for everything >_<

    • 4 moiradancer February 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm

      Nobody said anything, but when somebody’s mobile went off in their bag five minutes later and they took ages to switch it off, everyone turned to stare at me. They must have thought I was so rude!

      It’s good to know that my lateness anxiety is now starting to come in useful for getting the good seat, provided one gets the time of the meeting right! Now if only there was a programmable timer on hearing aids that gave us secret prompts in the lughole to get us to meetings in perfect time. Mine could tell me to chill out and double check the start time, and yours could tell you to hurry up or you’re going to be stuck beside the person who loves to shuffle their papers every two seconds 🙂

  3. 7 not quite like beethoven February 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Glad you feel that way and, yes, being a billionaire philanthropist would be nice now. I still feel honoured that you take the trouble of using babelfish — and I’m not surprised that the carousel comments threw it off: They even threw me off!


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