Have you ever been that awkward kid standing around at the school dance, music blasting and lights flashing, but the only one there? Have you ever been that athlete who has shown up to practice well before the coach did? Have you ever been that person standing by yourself at the movie theater, looking around nervously, playing on your cell phone or rummaging through your bag while waiting for a friend? These kids all have one thing in common; they were all early. While it is a very bad habit, it can be easily broken. Being late is an art; an art that very few people appreciate. It takes careful planning and is dependent on a variety of factors, such as who you may be meeting, why you are meeting them, and how many times you have met before. These factors are why being late requires patience and dedication. It’s not going to the easy to learn, especially if you are notoriously punctual. But with a lack of timing, some disorganization, and a bit of exaggeration, you’ll be flying into that PTO meeting with mere seconds to spare in no time.

The first step in being late is not allowing yourself enough time. This crucial first step will throw your schedule off completely, practically forcing you to be late. Because it is a known fact that boys can throw on jeans, a button-down shirt, and some deodorant and be ready to go within seconds, we will focus on the girls in this essay. Throwing your schedule off, however, is dependent on a few factors, like what state you are in. Getting ready all depends on how much you need to prepare for, so it matters whether you are just waking up for the day, you are getting ready to go out for the night, or you are coming in from doing some yard work. For all intents and purposes, let’s say it is a Saturday morning and you are just waking up and have to go to your grandparent’s house for the afternoon. The next key element in this process is knowing how long it takes you to get ready. For me, it takes about an hour and a half to shower, change, do make-up, dry hair and straighten or curl my hair, depending on what I feel like doing that day. Iin order to throw my schedule off, I am going to start getting ready an hour before I have to leave, as opposed to the hour and a half I should have allowed myself to do so.. The key component in not allowing yourself enough time to get ready, is picking the amount of time where you are physically able to get ready, but that it is rushed and chaotic. Ways to delay in getting ready can include: not getting up, eating a big breakfast, watching television while you eat, or get a random drive to clean your room. Almost anything can be done to avoid the task of getting ready and save it until the last possible minute. As a side note, however, no matter what the event is, leaving yourself time to brush your teeth and put on deodorant is one hundred percent necessary anytime you leave the house. If there are only two things you do before leaving the house, it needs to be these two. So, now that you have successfully started digging the hole you need to crawl out of to make it to your grandparent’s house on time, let’s go and try to find everything you need.

You are now behind schedule, so congratulations! You are headed on the right track. The next step is to physically start finding all the items you need to get ready and look presentable. Everything must be in a different place and they must be in places you would never think to look. This process will be prime for running up and down stairs, rummaging through drawers and closets, and constant muttering with the occasional scream of frustration. In the most ideal situation, your shirt should be in the dirty laundry hamper. Your pants should be halfway dry hanging up in the laundry room. Your bra should be on the floor of the bathroom, partially wet from stepping out of the shower in a hurry. Underwear is not a necessity at this point, so you can forget about that; besides, who wants panty lines anyway? You can’t find your earrings, so you have to borrow your mother’s, which leads to a brief argument about responsibility and messiness. You run everywhere and anywhere to find your shoes, checking every closet and every car trunk. Eventually, you wear different shoes anyway, in which you get another lecture from Mom starting off with “You’re wearing those shoes?”.

Okay, so now it’s officially five minutes past the time you’re supposed to leave. You just need your purse, which you thought you hung up on the back of a chair in the kitchen. You look and its not there, causing you to let out a sigh of frustration, which causes you to look right a your purse, hanging on the coat hook. Grab it and now you are set to leave, but not without your keys, wallet, and phone. Your phone is plugged in charging upstairs in your room, and as for your wallet and keys, you frantically run around looking for them for about 5 minutes until you look in your bag and realize they were in there the whole time. Wasn’t that fun? Keeping everything in one, proper place is too easy. This strategy allows you to appreciate all the good karma you have when you find something in the nick of time that you thought you lost. With a huge thank you to some greater power, you jump in your car and speed off (going no higher than the speed limit) to your grandparent’s house.

Finally! You’ve arrived. But now you need an excuse. Excuses are tricky, as you can’t keep using the same ones over and over again. You also can’t make them too exaggerated, or else you will get the “It’s always something” lecture, where people will point out that there is always a reason for you to be late. For a good excuse, it needs to be detailed, but vague at the same time. Too many descriptive details, especially using people, can lead to suspicion and even follow-ups afterwards, which is when everyone starts asking questions. Providing enough details about what happened so that it seems believable is what you’re aiming for. Also, make sure it can relate to your life. Do you have younger siblings? Use them to your advantage. Is your car a piece of crap? Say you had car trouble.Car trouble is awesome, especially if you can show it worked afterwards, so that way Dad can save his money for something else. Create scenarios you generally cannot have control over. Just be careful you don’t get caught in the blame game, otherwise people might start to think that you are hiding something else from them when you constantly blame your faults on other things or people.

Alright, we have gone through every exhausting step in being late. But what if you can’t drive? What if you are close to the place you have to be at with not enough time to go back home? What if you are a key part to the event you have to be at? What I’m trying to get at is: what if being early is inevitable? Do not worry, there are some tips to help you pass the time. Bring something to do. Almost everyone has some sort of technologic device; use that to your benefit as a distraction. Use your extra time to your benefit. If you are early to practice, take the time to stretch or work on your foot skills with a soccer ball. Or simply observe your surroundings. You never know who you might see and can strike up a conversation with.

Being late takes practice, but the more you do it, the more habitual it will become. Of course, you never want to be late for events that could provide you a better future or that are extremely important, like college interviews, presentations, meetings where you are in charge or meetings with high authority. And as one last side note, never put your life at risk if you are going to be late. It’s better to get where you need to be not on time and in one piece then not there at all. So try this sometime, and hopefully it works out for you!

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