I’m a pretty punctual person (even if my posting schedule alludes to otherwise). I think it’s a northeast city thing, most people are out and about with somewhere to go, something to do. I’m a black person, so it runs counter intuitive to CPT (colored people time, for white readers. And no, you can’t say it.). But like Daylight Saving Time, even if it doesn’t make sense to you, if you don’t set your clock accordingly things are only going to get confusing for you. For example, day parties start at 2, but don’t start until 5. Get there on time and you and the promoters going to find out if it’s ever gonna start at all. Show up to Thanksgiving dinner before 5, there’s at least 3 different things that aren’t done. Show up at a cookout before 3, congratulations you’re now on set up duty. (I’ve learned all these things the hard way). Even if you’re typically on time, if you primarily associate with black people you are indeed, on colored people time. Whether it me or you, your mama and your cousin too, everyone has or is (I’m judging you if you are) that late friend.
So when I saw this tweet making the rounds:
As a punctual, I kinda got it. Late people get on my got damn nerves. Respect. My. Time. There’s degrees to it, a happy hour I’m fine to pull up early and wait. If we supposed to be hitting the road already? I’m catching an attitude. Like, if you live 20 minutes away and you leave the house at 11:55 you’re not making it by noon. That’s literally not how time works. 60 seconds is always a minute. We all have the same 24 hours and your ass acting like you got 26.
Which brings about the big question; why are black people always late? Like most questions involving black people, the answer is slavery. (don’t quote me on that). Studies show that chronically ate people are optimists, multitaskers, hopeful…they believe they can do everything that needs to be done in the allotted time. Their gross misunderstanding of time aside, they’re less stressed, and in general happier (while annoying timely folk and pushing us to an early grave). Most late people aren’t trying to be late or disrespectful, they just are. Life be lifeing, relax. Late people sound so chill, so optimistic, so care free…but I gotta say, that doesn’t really sound black. How did *we* get the stereotype of being late when being late all the time sounds like white privilege?
Well, for that I’ll just quote my mother…”Don’t be rushing me”. School, work, practices, movies, birthday parties, dinners my mother like most black mothers operated on, we’ll get there when we get there, it’ll be done when it’s done. My father not much unlike my mother, don’t be rushing him, you know how damn annoying it is to be told be ready at 1, it’s 2:15 and there’s no cell phone so you just got to eat it? No matter how much I fret about something being important, my parents were there to grab my hand, look me in the face and tell me, no the fuck it isn’t. (Also, they were both veterans so I never got how they wasn’t on time). CPT is not so much optimism as much as it’s, “fuck it”. Black people don’t assume everything is going to be fine, they just don’t care if it isn’t. Like that rapper I used to like once said, my presence is a present kiss my ass. (He also has like 5 other lines of similar subject matter, North West’s daddy really wasn’t here for being rushed. Too bad he’s dead to me now.) Personally, when I AM on CPT, I too have fuck it levels off the charts. If I’m going to be 15 minutes late for work, I’m going to be 45 minutes late because I’m already late, can’t be late twice so I might as well grab some breakfast. Rent due on the 1st, yeah well you bout to get it on the 5th and don’t ask me shit about it. I absolutely get being late for some shit you only half heartedly want to do in the first place, which circles back to my original gripe. When people are late FOR ME.
People do what they want to do, make time for what they want to make time for. Perhaps it’s arrogant of me to assume when we have plans it’s the top priority of the day (it should be, I’m dope) but it does say a lot when you don’t leave the house until the last minute. Punctual people don’t want to always be waiting on late people, late people don’t want to be rushed by punctuals. A fair enough middle ground is, well, CPT. I assume you gonna be like 30 minutes late, I tell you to come like 30 minutes early and see if it all works out. So to answer the big question… I guess black people aren’t always late, we just show up when we think everyone else is and that way no one is really late or really early, we all just on CPT.