As I’ve said before, I tend to be ridiculously early for things, primarily so I know it’s all sorted well in advance.
However, I find it utterly amazing how many people appear to be so chronically ill-prepared for just about anything and everything in their lives.
My primary office is near(ish) to the local test centre for the theory part of the UK driving test. By “nearish” I mean “it’s walking distance, in a straight line, but over a significant road, so maybe five minutes walk”. On a regular basis I get stopped outside my office, and asked where the test centre is, by people obviously already running late, and get this “Oh shit” look when I tell them it’s still five minutes away. These tests are renownedly run punctually, and they don’t have much tolerance for lateness – but from memory, it makes all that very clear on the paperwork that tells you where the test is to be taken.
So because they haven’t checked where they’re supposed to be, they’re now running the risk of not even being allowed to take the test – and you don’t get a refund on it for being late and/or disorganised. I’ve never seen it as all that difficult to do, to be in the right place at the right time, but it’s obviously an issue for some people.
Similarly, a couple of weeks back I was with friends in London, and their son was meeting other friends of his so they could go to a concert/festival thing in Hyde Park. We’d got other plans once he was in the venue, but they were somewhat dependent on the friends actually having IQ points of their own. They’re similarly pathologically early to me, which helps – but the son’s friends…. weren’t.
Despite the concert tickets telling them where they needed to be, which entrance to use and so on, they decided to turn up to the wrong Underground station, at the wrong time, and at the wrong entrance. There’d been no preparation, no thought, not even an understanding of how best to get around, yet still left it all to the last minute, as if expecting some fairy godmother to wave a wand and everything would be All Right.
And it kind-of was. They got there, and we got to where we were going, but a couple of minutes late. (Anyone else, it would’ve been late by twenty minutes or more, but we can all shift our arses when necessary) So it did work out OK, but only because we knew more about where they were than they did, and walked the extra to find the fucking idiots.
All told, it’s just an attitude I don’t understand. I know I’m at the opposite end of the scale, but still, it never seems that difficult to me, to be prepared, to know what you’re doing, and get wherever on time. But obviously it’s more of a challenge for others…