I used to be a very punctual person. I considered being on time a virtue and strived to show people I loved and respected them through little politenesses like punctuality and opening doors. Perhaps it was my Spanish teacher of 4 years always talking about Hispanic culture being more laid back, perhaps it was always being on time and feeling disrespected myself while waiting around for the "others" to show up...whatever it was, I'm no longer a punctual person. In fact, I'm chronically late.
I don't mind being chronically late, except that it has almost cost me my job, creates tension in my relationship and reflects badly on me professionally. I work part time in a retail shop with what are probably the most lenient work policies in the city and the one thing they will "let someone go" for is repeated lateness. To make it easier on them, the manager doesn't even have to notice your being late and it becomes: "just business, nothing personal" since the computer manages your tardies and the policy is firm. I'm an excellent employee, but I may be fired if I'm late 2 more times.
I'm also always late to class, and although no computer is tracking me, I'm sure that my instructors have noticed that I come into class up to an hour late and return from each break 5-10 minutes late. As many of them are Chinese and very traditional, this is taken as a great disrespect, though none is intended.
Lastly, my relationship is affected by my chronic tardiness...although I believe my boyfriend is a little crazy on the other side. After a very stressful day yesterday, I rushed home to take care of my dog(s) and get dressed for a double date - my boyfriend made plans with his coworker and her husband for us to meet at a lovely little restaurant for dinner. Knowing him well, I called him to ask that he not "yell" at me about getting there on time [note: to me yelling includes using tones of voice that house disapproval, not just raising the volume of one's voice], but apparently I didn't know him well enough. He was running late, on his way out the door with his hands full and was I ready yet because we had to leave as soon as he got to my house. When he called a few minutes later from the road, it was again with the query "Are you ready yet?" though he was stuck in a traffic jam at least 20 minutes away.
I was indeed ready when he arrived, we weren't the least late to the restaurant and we sat there for 30 minutes waiting for his friends who were in fact late. We did end up with time for a much needed cocktail, a delicious round of mushroom and Gorgonzola stuffed wontons and those little "I love you"s that we needed to share after not seeing each other for two days, so maybe punctuality is a virtue I to which I can again subscribe.