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Sorry I'm Late: A Vituperation, July 27th, 1997 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

the soapbox @ benturner.com
archived soapbox: July 27th, 1997
"Sorry I'm Late: A Vituperation" [permalink]
    keywords: society, people, tardiness, late, personality
    soapbox #: 95
    written: July 27th, 1997
    words: 1544

"Sorry I'm Late: A Vituperation", an Essay

"Aww, Ben's in love and he can't stop writing about it. He writes ad nauseum about how he's feeling and I can't stop wondering: maybe this will temper his little teenage mind (one day he'll grow up like me <snort>) and he'll calm down a bit."

Not a chance.

People would want that.

Can't have that.

There is a practice that utterly repulses me, and at the same time, wears me down. It's becoming more and more common and more and more accepted, like murders that are only in the media because a celebrity died (as if celebrities are the actual decent human beings on this planet).

What it is is the practice of being late. People show up to appointments late. They arrange plans lazily, as if it's not important. They don't get their jobs done on time, no matter how important it is. They're slow when you ask something of them, and you know their pathetic shells of lives are just searching for excuses why they didn't get the one task they were assigned to do done correctly. People (and I refer to them as a collective) hold me back, they hold my friends back, and they hold this world back.

Usually, here's how it goes: you initiate contact with the party, they act casual about it, assuming they have plenty of time. You ask them to get a job done and they take their time with it. Meanwhile, you wait. You're at their mercy. Yes, being late is one of the main ways to immediately gain power in a situation, since everyone else has to wait on you and what happens is dependent on your presence. But the people I am referring to do what they do because they're pitiful, not because they're trying to take advantage of the situation.

Then your deadline rolls around and you need whatever you needed from this person. You point it out to a supervisor or whatever, who proceeds to either make you look bad by telling you to calm down, or verbally reprimands the person for not getting his job done. But that person, who has lived a life of being late and has become good at sucking up and lying through his broken, jagged teeth, convinces the supervisor to let him off and he's then allowed to get his job done. He gets it done, of course, now that the stakes are high, and he gets away with it. Every single fucking time.

People live their lives coasting off others' inabilities to remain fast to the rules. They understand that they don't have to do much work at all until it's demanded of them. They practice deceit when they're young so they're experts when they're old. It's a lifelong process. They know they can get away with whatever they like because there's always someone gullible enough to believe it instead of relying on rules.

I'm not being vitriolic at all to those who care about being late, those who sometimes have things happening in their lives so that they can't guarantee to be on time. It's a busy world and sometimes even the best fail. I'm attacking the people who make being late a science, a profession.

Those specific people have been so influential in my life that they've probably shaped my personality. I've had to deal with the worst of the worst almost everywhere I've been. I grew up loathing those people, wishing for a time when my life didn't overlap with theirs. But now I realize that I'll never have that. No matter how introverted and solely dependent on myself I become, I'll always have to wait for that damn coworker to get his task done so I can continue, or for a lazy programmer to finish the next version of the software I need, or for some high school twit to stop slacking off and pull my dental history file.

And high school is rife with this. Parents and adults are so naive. Children aren't clueless anymore. They develop a keen sense of streetsmarts and they've always taken advantage of parents for thinking they're innocent children who just want an education and a comfortable life. I've been there -- teens especially will lie and cheat and do anything to avoid doing the right thing. I have little faith in teenagers to do things right consistently. They just don't care. They don't care about anything. There's no meaning in their lives yet and so the lives they live are small hall closets full of multicolored lights and shiny balls to look at. Now, I think those kids grow up eventually and my generation will become a fine generation for the world, but that's only when they grow up.

Perhaps what I'm trying to say is that certain personality types (as I rely on them so often for reasoning things out) have learned how to control and oppress other personality types. A little paranoid to say, but I think it's true (or I wouldn't have said it, would I?). I think some personality types, particularly those of feeling, rely too much on others' words and trust too willingly. Combine this with someone who isn't very intelligent or streetsmart, and you have someone who thinks they're safe from the dangerous world we live in. They're suckers.

And the more independent, usually introverted personalities have learned how to take advantage of that naivety. They see deceit as a powerful, yet legal weapon in the war they wage. They know someone will buy into what they're saying. And they have no remorse for employing such a tool of destruction.

The reality is that deceit is the most vile tactic to use against other people. Dante had it right. When the naive discover through first-hand experience that they have been manipulated using deceit, they lose trust and faith in the world. They feel betrayed by everything that surrounds them and they might choose to use deceit as their weapon for revenge. It becomes a vicious circle. The world becomes more full of deceit exponentially, as it is now, until...well, I'm not sure I want to think about what it could become if the pendulum of history doesn't swing back and we return to a period of faith and trust (most likely through a convergence of religion and science). I know this rant sounds a bit Milleniumish, but let's face it, Frank Black knows what he's talking about.

I've touched on a lot of issues that could be discussed ad infinitum, but that's just a result of rambling and rambling without any clear goal, something I do often. So...

Let me regain focus. I'm shaping my life to be as independent of you as possible, so I don't have to rely on anyone who won't do things efficiently and so I can succeed in life. My life will only include those who get things done, whether it's the project we're working on or the friendship we're trying to foster. For those who are lazy and who don't care, you're out. Sorry, I don't have time for you.

And I must admit: yes, being late is a particular thorn in my side for another key reason. I'm quite guilty of it too. Not so much as I used to be, which is good, but I'm still a bit lazy. Ask my parents. I'm much more responsible now (but I had the excuse of being a young teen then ;) ), but I still have many flaws to improve. I sometimes forget things and I sometimes don't get favors done for my parents as quickly as they'd like it (I attribute that to my pace not matching theirs), but there are some things I never forget to do for people. If someone asks something of me which is urgent, when they are desperate for help, when they need me to pull through for them, I'll be certain to do it. If someone needs me to help them fix a server or fix their computer or whatever, I'll be there for them. Not all people are that generous.

As I grow older, I'll become stronger than I am already, getting closer and closer to flawlessness, improving my work ethic and efficiency. It is a constant process and I'm willing to take part in it -- I see the importance of it.

Others will do the same as well, hopefully, but there's always going to be the people who won't. They'll live the rest of their lives riding on peoples' backs, waiting for their jobs to be on the line before they do anything, decaying and rotting away in a mush of organic matter, festering with the maggots of sinful deceit and tending to the paleness of their skin, more deathly than even Life-in-Death's.

You just sit back and suck on the infection of laziness and pus and I'll continue to add something to humanity and to this planet.

And the Soapbox is on time. Are you?


 
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