People like you, who are always late, haven’t the faintest idea of the amount of damage (mostly irrecuperable in therapy) you cause to people like me, who are always early.
Yesterday, we made plans. You insisted we meet in front of a museum. IN FRONT. Not in the café, the exhibition or even the bookstore, no, outside. Here’s what I think about people who want to meet in the street: you’re sadists. You want us out in the cold where no plate of bread and butter, magazine stand, or Chardonnay can come to save us.
Incidentally, you people who prefer to meet outside are also always the ones who happen to be late.
So here I am, five minutes early, standing on the sidewalk at the cross street of so and so, the human traffic passing me by with an indifference that one would not hesitate to describe as “typically urban” and “absolutely symptomatic of our modern times”. I’m completely exposed and vulnerable and, let’s face it, I’m more alone than I’ve ever been. I’m at a halt, waiting for you. One, two, three, four, five minutes pass: you’re not here. Where are you? Aimlessly scrolling the hour away? Jerking off to some ass-cleavage on Instagram? Rehearsing the first 8 measures of Für Elise on your keyboard? I’ll wager you’re not solving climate change or curing cancer. Here’s what I’m certain of: you should be here, but you’re not.
I wait some more. Should I text you? Sure. Okay. Whatever. I’m not exactly hopeful but here goes: “I’m here! Smiley, Smiley!” (A little passive aggressive? I don’t deny it). And in return, you say—wait for it—nothing. Probably because there’s nothing you can say. I mean, come on, there aren’t that many suicides delaying the L train every day.
After 12 minutes, I realize there’s a great chance you’re not coming. Still, I wait, because that’s just who I am. And after an additional 5 minutes, I fall into an abyss of self-hatred so deep, I uncover a new stratigraphic layer in the ground.
But right then, boom, micro Eureka, the Second Entrance Theory falls upon me like thunder: What if there’s a second entrance to the museum?! My god my god, then you, my friend, have been waiting there all along, and you think I stood you up. I must run to you at once! I jolt out of the hole I had dug for myself, and take a few steps in one direction. I stop. Fuck fuck fuck. I curse my inability to be in two places at once because, though I clearly need to go around the block to find that mysterious entrance where you are waiting for me, I also absolutely need to stay put in case you arrive, here, at the exact spot where we were always supposed to meet.
My soul is torn apart, ideas 1 and 2 are battling it out in my mind: 1) It’s all my fault, I’m a fucking moron, I blame my hearing, my inner clock, I blame my poor sense of geography and my stupidity in the face of adversity, 2) It’s all your fault, you’re a fucking douchebag, I blame you, I blame the world, I blame that goddamn (!) entrance number two.
I’m paralyzed and do nothing.
After another 9 minutes, which brings your total amount of late-ness to 26 minutes and my total amount of waiting to 31 minutes, ta-da, you will arrive (having neither solved climate change nor cured cancer), gently trotting toward me (as in not fully galloping) brandishing some vague bullshit excuse (mumbled at a frantic pace so I don’t have time to poke holes in it) while remaining incredibly smug. You will have forgotten this minor incident in under two minutes.
But for me there will be no healing. Because of you, my lack of confidence will grow like a tumor. Appointment anxiety will assume total control over my inner clock, and I’ll arrive earlier and earlier to meetings where people like you will symmetrically arrive later and later. My life will become an ever-escalating wait. So, my friend, fuck you.
Also, quick reminder: you and I made another appointment. I’m waiting, are you coming?