Embarrassment in Punctuality – By @eudaimonicr

By Rachael Simoes


Embarrassment in Punctuality


Time is something that’s on everyone’s mind, whether it’s because there’s not enough of it or too much left to pass until we can get that thing that’s making us anxious over and done with. We have books to organise our time and calendars to prioritise it. Having only come out obligatory education a year ago, it’s been interesting finding my balance with organising my own time between unemployment and intensive courses.


 Growing up, my family was iconically late to weekly religious gatherings that took place a 10-minute walk away. Being a first-generationer in East London pleasantly came with all of the stereotypes of being tardy that the ethnic melting-pot could offer. In year 10 (during the 3 years I spent studying in Spain), when I moved somewhere walking distance from my school and had no pressure to rely on the schedule of the school bus, my independent habit of arriving late started developing. I went to a very small and rural school in the north of the country that gave no attention at all to my consistent 15-minute late arrivals. The cause of my lateness was the typical up-all-night-on-my-phone teenage habit.


In year 11 I came back to East London and went to a school held in a youth centre (which I must share that it was called “The Vibe”) where they punished lateness with detention. Although at times it was difficult to arrive on time due to the wonder that is the Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s inconsistent buses, I usually arrived promptly. Until they imposed the rule that we, the students, must line up outside The Vibe in a straight line every morning in silence due to our reputation of having disruptive noise levels. Being the rebellious 15-year-old that I was, I would rather have detention during school hours than stand still in silence in what was technically my own time. One was far more humiliating than the other. Thus began my intentional late arrivals.


The following year in education, now at a sixth form college, was an additional year to catch-up with GCSE’s, where my punctuality depended on the strictness of my teacher. In my final year of A Levels, it got to the point where I would arrive, expectedly by my teachers, 25-50% minutes late into my lessons. I arrived late because I felt that I studied better independently and that I was easily distracted by peers in lessons when I was present. Arriving on time felt like a waste of time. Luckily for me, my teachers saw the effort I put into my work, and never gave me a hard time for being late.


Things started to change the day after my last day at college when I had my first day at work in retail. I would arrive at the time my shift started, and, of course, quickly got bollocked for doing so. I couldn’t give my slimy manager any reason to talk down to me, so I began to arrive with just enough time to change into my uniform. To this day I find it hard to arrive with more than 5 minutes to spare to anything. Unless I’m unemployed and my need for daily stimulation possesses me to arrive the recommended 15 minutes early to the interview, my body will not allow me to leave my door earlier than necessary. 


There’s no reason for being late now that I’m a student to a quality school and work in retail. If I’m late to school it’s my own misfortune to miss out on any masterclasses or explanations of assignments. If I’m late for work enough times I could lose my job. The importance of punctuality in my life is at an all-time high. In addition to this pressure, earlier this week Marc introduced the recorded dance penalty for being late. 


It’s interesting to look back at my relationship with punctuality versus humiliation and internal conflict. I suppose as I get older and the responsibility and choice increasingly become my own, it’ll become healthier. For now, this SCAB itself is past the due date, and I’m glad I randomly declined the photography and filming consent form for this year.


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