I have a friend who, if she tells you she will be here at seven, may make it by nine. Ten minutes mean an hour; "on my way" does not imply imminent, it's a manner of saying " first, I have to take a shower, then feed the cats and go to the gym." Appointments made in the morning are regularly cancelled in the afternoon. She sees nothing wrong with any of this--life is full of unexpected demands (on time) and you have to roll with the punches.
I am thinking of giving this friendship up. We've talked about it, she and I, and on more than one occasion after waiting much longer than I thought necessary, I've cancelled whatever was planned. I see it as a control issue--whoever keeps the other waiting is actually holding the person hostage. There's also a question of respect involved. If my friend is not respecting my time, how can she respect me?
The other side of the coin, of course, is that by insisting on a measure of punctuality, I'm the one controlling the situation, forcing the other person to do my will.
It's all very confusing. What I have found, though, is that people who are messy with their time are messy with their lives. Things that need to get done are endlessly put off until what should be a random chore becomes a critical event, and I don't care for critical events. Daily existence has a way of throwing enough of those around without my manufacturing extra ones. I also find that people who are compulsively late leave a vacuum behind them that sucks in bad things, like cops and speeding tickets, fender benders and small expectations unmet.
What I've often done is planned to do things while I'm waiting--a laundry, vacuuming the kitchen, preparing coffee for the next day--but that somehow does not feel right. I am no doubt anal retentive about many things--punctuality being one--but it's hard for me to launch into even a minor project if I know I'm going to have to put it aside when the late one finally shows up.
So this is the quandary for the last day of the year. Things could be worse....