I’ve joked on here before that my ability to be permanently 10 minutes early or late seems to be hereditary, or at least a shared one. My apparent temporal aphasia a.k.a. “Lateness” doesn’t just relate to bus times and work deadlines however, but extends out to include a general cultural ‘huh?’ when I hear people discussing that latest Netflix thing, or Hollywood Scandal, song, twitterstorm, or cultural icon, [nb. I only just found out about that whole Qanon conspiracy thing, and now wish I hadn’t.] partly it surfaces as a pop-cultural blind spot owing largely, I’m sure, on owning neither a twitter or a facehack account.
Being late is usually regarded a civic nuisance; as a sign of moral ineptitude – a lack of respect for the social strictures that we live by, or a psychic unwillingness to be a ‘team-player’. In this respect tardiness can range from being a sort of disability to a moral sin. Consider the variety of terms used to describe being out-of-step with the modern world: belated, backward, slow, retardation, missed-the-boat, lagging, dawdling, procrastination, filibuster, cunctation. When compared against Modernism’s need for functionality, delay itself is a form of heresy.
But I wonder if delay could be deshackled from the notion of avoidance, to one of emancipatory experience. Jerome K. Jerome, that famous loafer declared that;
It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen.