"Late is the New Black"

After a few weekends with some really inconsiderate behaviour on the part of guests, I wrote this article, which I have submitted to the New York Times. 

“Late is the New Black”

You’ve received an invitation to a wedding, a Bar Mitzvah, a significant anniversary. ; in short, an event that includes a formal ceremony. If you don’t inhabit the frenzied social stratosphere that views such missives as annoying encroachments on your private time, you’re excited and you say yes, “We would LOVE to attend! Count us in! ” Ideally, you’ve replied before the RSVP deadline, without the stylish invitation languish on your desk or refrigerator until the hosts need to call you, (I digress; that is an entirely different rant).

You select the perfect gift (even if that perfect gift is a check or a gift card), assemble your outfits, Mapquest the directions and happily anticipate the event. And arrive 20 minutes late. with no apologies, reasonable excuse, or remorse.

You know who you are. You’re the guests sneaking through the squeaky rear doors, stiletto tapping to your seat, turning off your cell phone so the “turning off the cell phone” chimes punctuate the ceremony in progress. Sometimes, you’re the guests so dear to the family that you have been entrusted with some vital component of the celebration, say, the wedding rings. Or the ice, or the guestbook; items that need to be there, and items that are probably vastly more important than your presence.

I’m a civil officiant. I get to see the day from the another point of view, that of the lucky couple or family. Maybe it’s time you saw it too; that highly orchestrated iceberg that lies beneath the tip of your rented chair.

With their milestone to celebrate, they have labored for months; maybe years. They have spent time, energy, creativity, and often vast sums of money to create a magical day. They have booked a lovely venue, considered four different hues of ink for the invitations, selected the perfect menu, hired musicians, and hoped for sunny weather. They have collaborated with a minister, a rabbi, or a civil celebrant to say meaningful, inspiring words to touch your heart , soul, and mind.

In short; they’ve considered every aspect of your experience, while you have not considered the most basic of theirs. They wanted you to be part of the community celebration. Now, you’re late and it’s become all about you. The guests who cared enough to arrive on time are in place; cell phones off, greetings dispersed. Wondering why you aren’t there yet.

You, on the other hand, are speeding towards the fete, perhaps calling to say you’re late.

So why is that? Why can’t you manage your time so you arrive with time to park or valet your car , exchange niceties with the family, and be seated when the curtain rises?

We don’t care. None of the other 200 people do either. They only know that your hair, , your shoes, your dog, or some other controllable factor has botched a perfect day. And you were selfish enough to think that doesn’t matter.

It does.