Peole say life’s a marathon not a sprint, but those people underestimate the Disney Christmas 2020 Disney Christmas Friends Matching Disney Shirt and I will buy this ecstasy toboggan of lateness. Of that little walk-run you have to do when you’re beating the clock as tentacles of takeaway coffee run down your knuckles. Of McCallister family-ing passport-first toward a departure gate with a wheelie suitcase nipping your heels. Of pelting toward a closing elevator door. Time is a quiche, and it’s all about that slice of the morning when you’re making up lost time and chanting “keys, money, phone” as you panic-shimmy into your jeans. Lateness breathing down your neck. Triple-checking the time in the back of an Uber, willing the numbers backward. The key to feeling alive isn’t being in the moment—it’s being a few minutes behind it. You can’t have Danger as a middle name with ample wriggle room in your commute. Running late is a drug, and I microdose myself behind schedule in pursuit of the next fix. It’s the specific texture of a dash that’s addictive, that anxious will I won’t I?, the jeopardy.
I love the Disney Christmas 2020 Disney Christmas Friends Matching Disney Shirt and I will buy this running of running late, but I don’t love the being of being late. I do not want to enter a meeting with a wet brow and a profuse apology as I try to revive a dormant laptop to project a 50-slide PowerPoint. The desperate hoping my nose doesn’t Pinocchio as I say the train never came or the dog ate my MetroCard. I want that embarrassing possible future dangled over me while I scoot through town, only manifesting if I don’t make up the time. Actually being late is a flex of superiority over the date you have, and it stinks. Kings and queens can be late because kings and queens can do anything they want without reproach. (See crowns, gout, and foxhunting.) Late royals are seen as eccentric—the rest of us don’t have the clout. In the granules of self-optimization is this ambition that everything runs smoothly, a due course that we meander with precision and confidence. Nearly being late is an act of resistance. A backlash to planning and premeditation. A game of chance in a world of sensible decision making. Deliberate inefficiency channeled into manageable anxiety. We all have calendar alerts and apps that mean never missing a connection, but near lateness is anti-accuracy. It’s coloring outside the lines with thick Sharpie. It’s a poetic nod to cave people, measuring time in day and night. A love letter to a time of sundials. I miss the hubbub of my life before COVID, the tonic of moving through my city at a fashion-intern-with-a-stern-boss pace. Nailing my to-do list and tweeting incessantly. Posting a selfie for solidarity. Freeing Britney. Delivering the unpublished Harry Potter manuscript to the twins. These months of timely movement and relaxed scheduling are insufferable, and there’s no fun in that. We’re not poised like cats ready to pounce. I miss the dash. I miss the scrabble. I miss cutting it fine.