I once read that Miami is where punctuality comes to die.
After about 6 years living here, I think that’s fairly accurate. I have had to change my formerly punctual ways to assimilate to the society where I live. Here, even those who complain about other people’s tardiness, can’t manage to make it on time. Still, business gets done, kids get to school, friends find each other, and life goes on because for better or for worse tardiness is embedded in the culture.
Normally, I wouldn’t give this much thought (at least not anymore) except for the fact that I am still bent out of shape over the fact that I was locked out of my cooking class because I was 5 minutes late. FIVE MINUTES.
I often look at things from an evolutionary perspective. It is my belief that perhaps the reason why being somewhat late is normal to the point that it’s almost expected, is that we know that we live in a city where traffic is bad, parking is a nightmare, the weather can be a bit extreme, and quite frankly, most people aren’t big on efficiency. We accept tardiness because deep down we know that it is possible we will be late too.
I know, I shouldn’t have been late (and I wouldn’t have been late had I been able to find parking). Still, by being so strict about punctuality, I feel like they violated our social contract; and quite frankly, I was offended by their course of action. By not letting me enter, I felt that this business (which is neither small nor local) was judging our lifestyle. And this is not okay.
Part of the fun of living in Miami is how laid back it is. Even when something is urgent, it somehow doesn’t seem so pressing. I am not justifying tardiness but by the same token, I think that those who can’t tolerate it are probably in the wrong place. It is doubtful that you’ll find many locals eager to live in a hurry just so they can make it on time…