Monday, November 17, 2014

Punishment for the Perpetually Late: The Red Light

I've got a confession to make: I have a problem with being on time. In previous posts, I have hinted at my tendency of never being prompt, but I have downplayed how chronic my condition is.

Ever since I was a child and well into my adulthood, this self-imposed burden has at times rendered me a pariah among my punctual acquaintances. While they often assure me that arriving a few minutes late is no big deal, I know that in my heart of hearts, as they stare at me with their critical eyes, they lie.

You would think the solutions to this tardiness would be simple. "Get a watch!" a member from the invisible audience suggests.

But I've already got one.

"Set the alarm for an earlier time than the actual designated time!" shouts another as a helpful proposal.

Nope. Doesn't work. On the contrary, it's worse! Knowing about the extra time will further perpetuate the lackadaisical response on taking my sweet time.

"Well, then," the frustrated audience member exclaims though gritted teeth, "why don't you simply stop being so lazy, get off your butt and just GO?"

You are asking me to demonstrate non-existent motivation. Fat chance.

At this point, the audience gives up on this hopeless situation of expecting me to arrive on time and instead decides to claim that I am simply "fashionably late."

But there is no reprieve for the perpetually late. Trying to fight against what comes naturally to us is futile.

Yet despite our stolid nature at habitually disrespecting opening and closing hours and respecting appointments, people can witness some rare occasions in which we make the effort to arrive on time by leaving our homes early.

When those infrequent moments happen, an unfortunate circumstance will occur that impedes our otherwise timely arrival. It discourages us from ever trying to be prompt again.

However, I do not believe that these circumstances are purely coincidental.

Call it what you want: atonement, comeuppance, karma, just desserts, sweet vengeance. These earthly punishments are manifested in a variety of forms.

Today, I shall cover the first form, which involves facing a delay while waiting for a pedestrian crosswalk light to change.

Inevitably, on the one day you find yourself speeding to an appointment as fast as your legs can carry you, heart pounding furiously in your chest and your lungs strained to their full capacity, there will be a red light that brings you to a halt.

To make matters worse, the nefarious soul who was in charge of programming the light has deemed that said light will display the crimson feature for an indefinite period.

An entire lifetime can pass before your eyes as you wait for the little strutting green man to flash into view.

By the time the light changes to green, you'll have aged to the point in which your hypothetical future grandkids will need to assist you in crossing the street.

Realistically, this situation would never happen in France for the French are avid jaywalkers.

Barb the French Bean


  1. I'm not always late but for me traffic lights are the leading cause. On the way from where I live to the town centre is not one, but two crossroads. If you get unlucky you can be stuck in traffic lights either as a pedestrian or in a car for over a good five minutes.

    1. TWO crossroads? You poor soul...knowing what that is like, I sympathize with you in this struggle.

  2. But at least you had a nice family. And took a stance against those awful hybrid vegetables. Stop messing with nature, jerks!

    Have you tried driving an obnoxiously large vehicle? One that doesn't have to stop for mundane things like stop signs or crosswalks or these so-called 'pedestrians'? You'd get to your destination not just on time, but early, and you'd look like a complete badass doing it. Smoke stack exhaust and 50 inch tires optional but strongly encouraged.

    1. I also got to see the first Zombie Woman president and robots be overthrown. My life was a great one.

      While living in Miami, I did have the habit, nay, necessity, to use a car. Since everyone else travels by gas-guzzling SUVs and $50,000 vehicles (while earning $20,000 a year), NO ONE is ever on time.

      Nor is anyone ever a pedestrian. It's too risky to cross the streets in Miami.

      I've taking to saying that in Miami, a pedestrian is nothing but a speed bump with two legs.

  3. My family is always late. All of us. It's like a genetic disease. We even tell each other wrong times we need to be places, just to see if that will help us move faster. (It doesn't.) I don't know why we suffer from the late plague, we all just do. It's a bad, bad habit. One that I have yet to break.

    1. Hm. I'm beginning to wonder whether or not our families may be related to each other in some manner...

  4. I don't remember you being 'that' late when we met up :p In fact, I think you were there before me both times.


Apparently, leaving comments on this blog is a hit-or-miss game of Russian roulette: you are either lucky and can comment away, or you are required to log in when the settings are CLEARLY set to allow trouble-free commenting (sorry 'bout that, folks). If anything, the Facebook page is always a viable option. :) -Barb