Sunday, 3 December 2017

Quite a stickler

I do have a thing about reliability. I pride myself on being reliable and I expect others to be reliable in return. People who're consistently unreliable drive me nuts. Why can't they just be better organised?

If I say I''ll be at the Dog and Duck at 6 pm, then I'll be there and I'll be on time. If I tell my boss I'll have a report ready on Tuesday, it'll be ready. I'd be mortified if people were saying, oh that Nick he's so unreliable, he's all over the place.

I just think constant unreliability is rude and inconsiderate and self-centred. How hard can it be to organise yourself properly, do what you say you'll do, and not keep messing other people about?

I hate it when someone turns up half an hour late, or pleads for more time to finish something (for no good reason), or says they'll ring me back but never do. I hate it even more when I complain and they don't know what all the fuss is about.

Some people do act as if reliability is just some pedantic, strait-laced notion that serves no purpose and should be treated with derision. They make a point of turning up at any old time, ignoring deadlines, and always doing something different from what they said they'd do.

It's especially annoying when those of us who're reliable end up carrying those who aren't. We're in the office answering calls and dealing with customers, while the habitual straggler is still casually trundling in from their suburban semi.

I guess a lot of people would see me as some sort of tight-arsed martinet, unable to relax, go with the flow and make allowances for human frailty. Well, I'm happy to make allowances for an emotional weakness - grief, anxiety, loneliness, despair, whatever - but unreliability isn't an emotional weakness. It's simply self-indulgence at other people's expense.

So I'll see you at the Dog and Duck. At 6 pm sharp. No excuses.


  1. My, my, you sure expend a lot of energy on "hate" and "hating". To what purpose? The only cortisol level rising is yours. Won't make the other person more reliable. What you do do is work around the unreliable. Because, on the whole, the unreliable can be relied upon to be unreliable. Get it?


  2. I am a stickler for punctuality and keeping one's word, I don't however think that people see me as some sort of tight-arsed martinet, unable to relax. They, by which I mean increasingly much younger people, simply credit my old worldliness to that value.

  3. I'm a pretty good time keeper. I will be on time. I will ring back. I will reply. Other than that I'm a bit random.... probably because I replying to all these other people and jumping to their tune!!

  4. Punctuality and reliability on our part is important to us. It isn't so much so for our oldest daughter and her hubby. When they lived in Little Rock, they thought it was kind of humorous. They old us that they knew that if we said we would be there by a certain time, we would always be a bit early.

    At work, classroom time management is really important. If one of the instructors runs over, it impacts the next instructor. Some of the instructors always run over. In the simulator, it gets really irritating. Even if the previous instructor is late finishing, the simulator still needs to be set up for the initial conditions for the next session and all of the procedures used in the last set needs to be cleaned up and put away.

    Fortunately, I'm pretty good at classroom and simulator time management. Even if I get a late start because of the previous guy, I will finish on time -- or early -- and I will cover all of my material and objectives.

  5. "old" => "told" in first paragraph of my comment

  6. My parents taught me to be punctual, and I am. I taught my daughters to be punctual and they are rudely late to a fault. I wonder how they get to their jobs on time.

  7. You're rght - it is very rude! My son had a marching band director whose mantra was, "To be early is to be on time; to be on time is to be late." I think that was the only practical way to run a 300 member band.

  8. Ursula: No need for the condescending tone. Trust you to notice the one reference to hate in the entire post. No, you probably can't change the habitually unreliable, and I don't try. I do in fact work around it, the same as you.

    Ramana: Indeed, just because we like punctuality doesn't mean we're stuffed shirts who can't relax. Being punctual is just a mark of respect for other people.

  9. Scarlet: You'll be on time and you'll ring back? That's my sort of person....

    Mike: To get a late start and still cover all your material and objectives is quite a skill. Interesting that your older daughter doesn't at all take after her parents when it comes to punctuality and reliability.

  10. Joanne: Sounds rather like Mike's daughter! They must have picked up the lateness habit from somewhere - from their school friends maybe.

    Bijoux: "To be early is to be on time; to be on time is to be late." Not a bad principle. I often leave such a huge time margin when I'm going somewhere that I roll up half an hour early!

  11. I dislike unpunctuality. I have set aside time for whatever it is and when laughing boy eventually turns up I am somewhat tight lipped.
    But by the same token I cannot volunteer as I would like because the unstable nature of my husband's health means that I cannot guarantee to be available as planned.

  12. Helen: As you say, you've set aside time for someone, time when you could have been doing something else, and you're just sitting there twiddling your thumbs waiting for them to turn up.

  13. My punctuality and reliability depend on the circumstances. Today I showed up an hour late to a networking coffee morning but nobody cared and it was horrible I was glad I hadn't devoted the extra time.

  14. Honestly Nick, that was almost as if I'd written it myself - I couldn't agree more!
    I consider being late the height of rudeness and I always make every effort to be on time. Well, to be honest I'm usually early because I've left extra time in case there's a hold up on the way.

  15. Dave: Flattery will get you everywhere! Yes, I'm usually early as well. I'm the one who's halfheartedly window-shopping because I've got 15 minutes to kill!

  16. Kylie: That's one advantage of being late - hopefully all you've missed is half an hour of vacuous waffling and whinging. I find that although publicly people seem unbothered by a late arrival, in private they may be more annoyed than they let on.

  17. It was a three hour event, I didn't need to be there for the vacuous waffle or the ordering of food. I am never late when it counts

  18. Kylie: "I am never late when it counts" Me too.

  19. raised by a strict military man.
    I learned the lesson early.
    I was so excited to be going to the 'big city' on a shopping trip. I was about 13 or 14.
    he said the car would leave at 0800 hours.
    I was still 'primping' in the bathroom with my hair.
    they left without me.
    I probably cried for half and hour. but it was lesson learned.
    I'm never late. or rarely.
    because I also tend to get lost I allow myself extra time...especially for appointments! meaning I usually arrive early.

  20. Tammy: You have to be cruel to be kind, so to speak. I'm sure that memory is still very fresh in your mind! It certainly was a lesson learned, as you say.

  21. Wow, Tammy, that IS harsh and, in my opinion, totally over the top. It would have done, if your father had a sense of humour and to give you a little jolt, by driving off, just out of sight, round the block and return to pick you up a minute later. I do not wish to malign your father but can't believe that someone can be so cruel. Hope is didn't also cure you from "primping".:)


  22. on the contrary!
    little did I know at the time that he was to die a short two years later at the age of 45. I was 17.
    some of what he taught me in what you might think of as cruel turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
    it's the world that is cruel.
    I adored my father. and if you read his story you will understand why.
    I wrote about him on the peanut.
    if you didn't read it you should!
    it's worth it.
    I doubt that works to take you there.
    it's in the alphabetical order of the past posts... the good ones. jim reed. I do hope you'll read it.

  23. Tammy: I just read the blog post. I can see how much you loved your daddy. He sounds like a wonderful person - a bit strict maybe but always fighting against injustice wherever he saw it. What a shame he died so young.

  24. I classify punctuality and reliability differently. I am a punctual person and it's all about respect for my own time and for yours. Relying on one's expectation of another's performance is different. I expect jobs/tasks/commitments to be performed well and if they are I then rely on that person. If not, I move on.

    But yes I can be pissed if others fall down.


  25. www: I would say punctuality is one aspect of reliability, which suggests a whole range of expectations about the other person's behaviour. Indeed, if people habitually let you down, you should just move on.

  26. I am heartened and even humbled that you would take the time to actually read it nick. thank you.
    I actually meant it for Ursula to read.
    you were gentler in your comments about him! :)
    he was one of what they call here "the great generation."
    whether or not that's true I'm just glad he was in my life. thanks again.
    you're a gentleman and a scholar as they say! xo

  27. Tammy: I hope Ursula reads it, it's a lovely post. A gentleman and a scholar, eh? That sounds very grand....

  28. I have friends who aren't punctual, but I can rely on them to be there for me if I needed help. That's the part that's important to me.

  29. Oh dear, I read your message too late to get to the appointment on time or let you know in advance — now what? *grin* I’ve encountered some reliability issues with some service workers which gives me reason to question the wisdom of hiring them if this is their best when coming to propose job estimates.

  30. Joared: That's disgraceful. You'll have to buck your ideas up! I never know if tradespeople are going to be totally reliable or a law unto themselves and needing constant supervision. But you seem to be sorting things out very efficiently.

    Thanks by the way for that comment on my old post "Laid Back Oldies". It reminded me how much I disagreed with Lynne Reid Banks!

  31. Jean: I agree, people being there for you in a crisis is more important than how punctual they are.

  32. Thanks for the link, Tammy. I read it

    I am now torn whether to say it how I see it or just make sympathetic noises.

    A lot of people, as did your father, go through tremendous hardships which may explain (though not excuse) some of their later actions, be they good, bad or questionable. Your father died when both he (and you) were young. No one easier to idolize than the young dead, not least when supported by family folklore. With the young dead there is, in our imagination, in our wishes, a lot of scope to paint our dearest to our wishes. Nothing wrong with that. Neither does my comment take anything away from your father's virtues, your love for him.

    Best I can come up with, Tammy, that your father, being human, great person that he may have been, occasionally tripped up too. And I am sorry, he may have been an amazing person, but what he did to you there is in no proportion to your "crime". There are a lot of people in my life (and, since we are talking fathers, mine too) who are great people. But they are not perfect. They have flaws. They make mistakes. Doesn't stop us loving them. And vice versa. What you can't do is deny them their humanity and all that entails.

    Some people can't live with anything other than their perfect vision of the people in their lives (which, oddly, usually doesn't include themselves). Let your father be human. In my opinion (and please don't forget you related the story) he showed himself from a side I don't like in anyone; you, his loving daughter, forgave him/got over it/didn't hold it against him/whatever.

    To conclude: Just because someone messes up once in a while doesn't make them a lesser person. I tend to be far more weary of the one on the pedestal.

    Tammy, I realize it's a sensitive subject to you, yet hope you take what I wrote in the spirit it was meant. Please do let me know.


  33. "What you can't do is deny them their humanity and all that entails."
    I agree with everything you've said Ursula. I do not have him on a pedestal. my mother died when I was 25. she was only 51.
    she and I talked about him at length. though I didn't have the opportunity to know him as an adult would know their parent. I was able to do that a little bit through her.
    believe me. I know his flaws.
    but those flaws were not what was under discussion here.
    thank you as always for your honesty and your need to make things clear from your perspective.
    and I appreciate your reading one facet of his story. he was a complex man. as most are.

  34. I'm a "silent" follower of your blog and I sometimes wonder if you are a real person or a robot? You appear so PERFECT. Your life seems without surprise to me , but maybe I'm wrong.
    Gerda from Germany

  35. Hi Gerda. No, I'm not a robot, and I'm not a perfect person either! If you trawled back through my archives, you'd discover all my neuroses and hang-ups, like anxiety, not liking the dark, self-doubt, insecurity, avoiding attention, sudden panics etc etc. Behind the cool, calm exterior is a confused individual muddling through as best I can.

    There are plenty of surprises too. Like being landed with the task of managing my mum's 30+ bank accounts. And being told by a surgeon that he had found a tiny trace of prostate cancer. And suddenly hearing from someone I was friends with around 50 years ago.

    Thank you for following my blog. I hope you're enjoying it!

  36. I think that unreliability is something that has psychological roots. I think I am reliable in that I don't miss deadlines etc. but I find it really hard to commit to something day in and day out. I don't know why, it is a feeling a bit like claustrophobia . So it is very, very hard to do.

  37. Jenny: I find it quite easy to commit to something on a daily basis. I suppose I find the routine soothing. But I also think I'll give up my work routine very easily when I retire.