This blog is dedicated to my long suffering friends, lovers and family both biological and non biological, who have been on the receiving end of my queer temporality (lateness in common parlance) i.e everyone I have ever met.
As an anthropomorphic guinea-pig I generally tend to eschew further labelling. The human part of me does though like to celebrate being a particular kind of queer cosmic femme – A ZenFemme if you like. One of the essential components of being a Queer Zen Femme is a persistent and endemic aptitude for lateness. One of the first indications of this condition is when every watch you wear on your manicured hand slowly starts losing time, your own electro magnetic energy exerting its own form of time drag on inanimate objects around you, regardless of your stress levels. “I’m not late, my watch says 4.05, oh!
I am overdue, am in a rabbit stew….Call it Queer time or Femme time, I am endemically and systematically persistently late and the more I try to marshal time to fit into any kind of regimented schedule where conventional time keeping might be possible my circuits pop and I get totally stressed and thus more late.
Hah what a great disclaimer… sorry I am late, I got so stressed about the prospect of being on time that it made me late!
Sometimes this ability to create a muddled chaos out of relative calm is so strong that it influences and shapes the time around me in a feat of magical thinking any child would be proud of… …….. from the domestic chaos of spilt nail varnish, mascara wands in eyes, washing still not dry on items of clothing I HAVE to wear, sudden memory loss of the whereabouts of keys/phone/wallet/travel pass, my boots not being where I left them (what a curve ball)…..to the the phone ringing, or a crucial button violently liberating itself from my trouser waist as I bend down to put on afore mentioned boots that then has to be either sewed back on or a safety pin found… before I can finally leave the time vortex that is my home.
Yet the distance from the house to the tube can be fraught with randomness from my elderly Irish neighbour of 17 years, a spectre of sociability either cutting the hedge outside, chatting to other neighbours outside, waiting at the bus stop, coming back from church, always coming to greet me whilst gripping my arm in a vice like affection “you’re such a good neighbour, you must never leave” and my courteous and languid social inter-reaction suddenly morphing into remembered time keeping, disengaging myself from her charm… sorry I have to go I’m laaate …….I’m late, for a very important date no time to say hello goodbye I’m late I’m late I’m…
Among the Kelantese people of the Malay peninsula, haste is considered a breach of ethics, and time is prioritised for friends and neighbours * which sounds pretty good to me, I am clearly happier chilling guinea-pig style than running around like a stressed out rabbit. My more punctual friends though would make short sharp thrift of the above descriptions and lame excusing. I mean what would happen if everyone was late – the trains wouldn’t run, nothing would get done. It would be the end of civilisation as we know it. Well, yes. Quite.
I love the idea posited by Eva Hoffman that time is not our keeper but that time is open, loose and subjective with potentiality in every moment. And this thinking has definitely contributed to my health status, but over the years I’ve come to realise that punctuality has its merits and strengths – and is necessary sometimes – not least of all to keep friendships and relationships healthy. I guess it’s time for some anthropomorphic bi-temporality on my part, and hey thanks family and friends, for your exasperations, tolerations and love over the years.