I used to think that being late is not that big of a crime, especially when the appointment is in Jakarta.
Sue me for being late, but do you have a big enough prison in Jakarta to lock almost 3/4 of its citizen?
However, my current and previous boss are very particular about being on time. Current patron always says, "Don't gimme 'macet' as an excuse because that's just poor planning."
So for the last couple of years I have been giving more efforts to avoid being late and to my surprise, there are a lot we can do. Negotiate meeting point, never underestimate traffic, think of alternative trasport just in case (gojek!), check national/city calendar because Indonesians like to do epic celebration in city centers, put all meeting in your calendar, include transfer time while planning your day...
And so on.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still late. But not that often, and it would be a 10-15 minutes delay as opose to the old 45 minutes late me. I even arrive early for appointments!
Another discovery as I'm transforming myself to this miss not so late anymore is, waiting for your appointment to arrive is painful. It hurts. You'd feel worthless and shitty. Ever see that scene in movies when someone is being stood up by a blind date? Yes, that.
Some of these people you're meeting would have the courtesy to text "really sorry, bad traffic", some of them would apologise as they arrive. But no matter what you'd still feel, slightly or clearly, sad. Them being late is an implicit way of saying, "You are not THAT important."
Call me a drama queen, but answer this: Will you be late to an appointment with Mr. President? With Bono U2? With Haruki Murakami? With Hilary Clinton? With Woody Allen? With Anderson Cooper? With Rupert Murdoch? With Ryan Seacrest? With Giselle Bunchen? Did I write her name correctly by the way?
No, you won't. Because: They. Are. Important.
I KNOW, these people (who are late) didn't do it in purpose, and they certainly don't think that I'm less important compared to Woody Allen (doh!). Whenever I'm late, making the person I had appointment with to feel worthless was never my intention.
But no matter my intention, my lateness would hurt them in various degree, while the truth is: To me they're as important as Bono U2, and I have this hope that I'm their Anderson Cooper.
So let's try and plan better to be on time, if anyone is to be late--don't let it be us. Be the better one, at least try.
It's just a good way to extend our respect to each other, an important one too. Now I truly believe that "Fashionably late" is no longer relevant, "On time and prepared," is the new normal.
And you remember what they say, "A good start is everything."