I am not obsessive about punctuality, but I am pretty close to being so. At some point my Mom and Dad taught their little Bubba that it is very rude not to show up when you said you would.
My bride, on the other hand, has an entirely more relaxed approach to punctuality. Being on time is like horseshoes - close enough and you score. She points out, for example, that showing up at a party at start time usually startles your hosts and forces them to seat you alone in a room with a drink while they continue preparations. She would insist that it would be rude to be punctual to a party, and most hosts would probably agree.
As you can imagine, this has caused a wee bit of tension in the time we have spent together. Well, early on it may have, but over 25+ years we have both adjusted. I have learned to relax if LK isn't quite ready when I am (well, at least most of the time). And on more than a few occasions lately, she's actually been ready on time.
But as different as we both are in our approach to punctuality, neither of us can quite get our heads around people not showing up at all when they have said they would be here. Not showing up isn't the same as late. It's I don't care or couldn't remember or - even worse - something more important came up.
This morning a tradesman was due between 9 and 9:30 to give us a quotation on some work we need done. At 9:35 I started grumbling, but LK didn't seem phased at all. She started getting cross around 10:30 when he was an hour late. By the time it became apparent that we were being stood up, she was singing with the chorus that the guy was a jerk.
It might not have struck us as so bad had the same thing not happened Thursday night. Our accountant had said he would stop by to work on our accounts and finish off our taxes. We treat visits by Bob the Accountant as a mini-party, and I had opened a nice wine in anticipation of an hour with him.
He stood us up, too.
And in both instances, it's not just that they did not show up when they said they would. They didn't even call us up to tell us something had come up.
I have no idea if this is a trend, a coincidence, or people have just started humoring us by saying they will come but in fact we are so awful to visit they have no intention of actually showing up. I do know that right now we are both starting to feel a little fragile. If you say you're coming over and change your mind, please just give us a call and make a good excuse.
We won't believe you, of course, but we will feel better about it all.