Register Tuesday | June 18 | 2019

The Art of Being Tardy

Have you ever been late for work? Not late, really late. Okay, so make that negligently late. Blatantly late. Nefariously late.

That’s the kind of late I was today, without explanation or excuse. I wasn’t drunk the night before, I hadn’t stayed up all night or had insomnia, as is my habit of a lifetime. Rather, I passed out at midnight, hit the pillow and instantly slumbered off.

At 6:45 my alarm went off. I’d set it early on purpose to go for a run. But when my alarm went off I was still exhausted, too tired to exhume myself for a run, too tired to do much at all except, apparently, to turn my alarm off. I think at the time I thought, I’ll just lay here for a few more minutes, hop in the shower, get into work early. After all, there was a lot to do today. Perhaps that was the beginning of a bad idea. I immediately fell back asleep.

By the time I woke up, it was 12:00. “Nonononono… fuckfuckfuckfuck!” I said. “Nononononono… fuckfuckfuckfuck, this cannot be happening, this cannot fucking be happening. Nonononono!” Despite my protests, it was happening alright. I wasn’t just late, I was probably criminally negligent. Fuck.

On top of that, my mobile broke two days ago, so I had no way of calling my work and saying, “Sorry, don’t worry. I’m alive, I’m just retarded today. My bad.” So instead it was a quick whore’s bath. Water on my face. Splash, splash. Water under my armpits. Splash, splash. Water down there? Don’t be stupid. I threw on clothes, with no particular fashion concern, and donned my uniquely hip truckers cap as it was an understandably bad hair day.

The whole subway ride in and the N I readied myself for the shitstorm I was due. You cannot be this late and not get your ass handed to you. I had to admit, I had it coming. So I steadied, prepared. There was no excuse to make, and besides, I hate fucking excuses when I get them from people who work for me, I wasn’t about to make one now.

Still, I’ll admit I started a tiny speech in my own defense, in case the ass chewing started in on more than the required pound I owed. “I’ll admit to being late,” I’d say, “But I think we probably have gone too far. You know how much I put in here. You know how many hours I work for this place. There’s no way I’d ever be this late on purpose, and I never have been. I understand you’re upset, you have every right to be, but I’ve apologized already. There’s nothing more I can do but get back to my desk and work my ass off, as I always do.” I think by the time the subway hit my Prince Street stop, I’d partly convinced myself that, in showing up 3 hours late, I was somehow being wronged. I’d talked myself into the worst place. Great start to the day.

“Jarret, can you come in here?” My boss.

I closed her door.

“I’d just like to apologize for this morning.”
“Are you okay?”
“Everything okay personally?”
“I just ask because you’re never late. You sure nothing happened last night that you don’t want to tell me about.”
“No. I set my alarm to get up and go for a run this morning. When it went off, I was too tired, turned it off, and was going to come in early when I fell back asleep. No excuse, it’s my fault. I’m really do apologize.”
“No need. I know how hard you work.”
“No. You don’t have to apologize again. I know how hard you work. I know you won’t do it again, and if you apologize again it’s going to piss me off. I was just worried. I’m glad nothing’s wrong. Now go back to work.”

And that was it. Sometimes people surprise you, even after you’ve worked for them for over 2 years.

So now I have a tumbler of whiskey as I sit here, hoping to ease into bed in a few minutes. Even with my gross negligence this morning, I still put in a 12 hour day. You do the math.

I have a 9AM interview tomorrow with an actress in Paris. Being late tomorrow could actually lead to the exchange I’d anticipated today. Sleep well.