Better late than never: Excuses, explanations, and the lies I tell myself

I am late.  Often.  Okay, all the time.  And when I’m not late, it’s usually because I’d planned to arrive 15 minutes early and then just arrived right on time.  So while it looks like I’m not late, I’m still later than I meant to be.

Sometimes I give excuses for why I’m late, “oh I’m stuck on the T.”  This isn’t technically false, but it’s more of a white like than it is the truth.  More often than not I knew I was already running late, missed the T I intended to be on, caught the next one, and blamed the MBTA for the whole ordeal.  I’m stuck on the T but it’s cause I was late getting to the T stop, not because the T was taking any longer than usual.  These are true excuses as distinct from explanations.  They have no real merit.

Explanations, while still insufficient most of the time, are usually more rational, logical, and/or out of my control.  For instance, if I got on the T that should have made it to the office on time but then there were signal problems or a car accident.  In my eyes, these are explanations rather than excuses and they carry a little more weight, but not much.  Rationally I know that one should account for unexpected delays.

Finally I come to the lies I tell myself.  And there are a lot.  Most frequently it’s related to an underestimation of the time it will take to get ready.  My mother and assorted significant others have been telling me this for the better part of 25 years, but it hasn’t stuck yet.  It takes longer to get from out of bed to out the door than I think it should.  This may be related to the fact that I keep adding tasks in the morning.  But that’s just another excuse.  By way of explanation, I offer that my cat woke me up, so I needed more sleep in the morning, so I got out of bed later, so I caught the later T, etc. etc., and so on.  I also do my best to convince myself that no one will notice or care if I’m 10 minutes late to work.  The worst part is that when I do finally walk in the door, just out of breath enough to make it look like I was rushing, I always feel compelled to explain why I was late.  I give the excuses and explanations and tell myself and my coworkers that it wasn’t my fault, when of course I know it was.  The irony of it all, is the fact that if I didn’t say anything that I’m sure most people wouldn’t notice.  Or maybe that’s another lie I tell myself.



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