Last Friday I attended a ward activity. Good for me, right? Shore! Good for me! It’s always a ‘righteous point’ (1/2 a point?) upstairs when you support the varying activities put on by well-meaning ward members; particularly in Singles Wards where “mingle” is the best avenue to “marriage”… or something like that. It makes sense in theory…
The activity was an “Urban Lounge” sort of theme in the Relief Society room of the Church building. Folks were to sign up the previous week to share their poetry, short stories, musical talents, and yoga chants (yes… it happened) with their fellow wardies in an atmosphere of Urban cool; fruity drinks provided. The event started at 8:00… so… naturally… I showed up at 8:20.
Was I very busy doing something else and therefore, had to show up late to said event? Um, negative. So why then, when I was very capable and able to make it on time to said activity did I show up 20 minutes late? Me! Who has been known to rant and rave about her low-tolerance for “lateness” consistently shows up to Church things late? Mormon Standard Time. Yep. This is the reason I am late to church things (church itself excepting). I blame Mormon Standard Time. What is Mormon Standard Time you ask? Well, translated, this means “late.” And truly, why? Why are we always late? Are we so inundated with our very important lives, very important jobs, very important TV programs, that we are consistently 100% always late to everything? In family wards, perhaps, there are legit excuses for consistent tardiness. There are kids, vans, car seats, and casseroles involved. However, might I make the argument that in Singles Wards… it’s much more about the "cool" than it ever is about the "busyness."
You wanna be cool? You show up fashionably late. NO ONE shows up on time if they have any dignity at, all right? Why would they? What’s the good in that? Psychologically broken down, in a ‘hip’ singles mind, showing up to activities ‘late’ means you are ‘like, so very busy with your very busy and totally cool life’ however ‘ you wanted to show you still put church stuff as a priority so you squeezed it in between 30 Rock Hulu episodes and the gym.’ Singles showing up late means “hey, I got stuff to do… and that’s because I’m awesome… so I showed up late.” Late=higher cool factor. This is the formula in practice. Does it work? I don't think anyone's undertaken such research - but I have theories. Boy do I have theories.
Speaking of theories, another theory I’d like to offer for the Single’s Ward MST (Mormon Standard Time) conundrum is “I don’t want to look too over-eager for particular ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ who I know will also be there.” Yep, it’s back to that old meat-market, dating game, trying to play it ‘cool’ thing again. I mean, if dude see’s that you’ve shown up ON TIME to an event – automatically you are over-eager and ridiculous. No one wants to date a punctual Petunia or Peter (except when it comes to dates – then you darn well better be there at 6:02 SHARP!). Naw… it’s that whole ‘cool’ façade again. “Yo, like… I knew you’d be here but like… I totally showed up late because hey, I want to show you I may not really care… but I’m here… but I’m LATE so it’s…(yep) cool…” Makes complete sense (cricket chirp).
Point of the story and theories and general babblery (babblery?): all this went through my mind as I schlumped in front of my TV at 8:00, ‘killing time’ , before I could legitimately show up to the Friday Night church activity fashionably, cooly, awesomely, late. Where does the madness end? I mean, I wasn’t doing anything at 8:00.I had rounded out my homework nicely so I could be ready by 8:00 to attend this event. I could’ve been there at 8:00... even 7:58 (early?!?! DOOM!). But no, somehow I too have been sucked into this idea that if I roll into activities late, it makes me cooler, it makes me appear like “yeah… I got stuff… and you’re lucky I’m even here at all!” Being late makes me seem like my life on Friday nights is tough to give up but hey, I'll do it for you, church activity. I penciled it in (ironic note to late comers on Friday night church activities – no matter how late you are – it’s still a Friday night and you’re still attending a church activity which means you DEFINITELY had nothing else to do… I’m just sayin… undermines your whole ‘cool’ plan a little… a drop... not that church stuff isn't cool but you know what I mean...).
Now listen, I am aware that sometimes, with some things, you’re gonna be late. With church activities, it seems to be the theme that if you show up at all you’ve given the time required of you. We are busy. I do get that… but it’s painfully obvious that when one is late to every. Single. Activity. no matter where, when, who, or what, then that person(s) likely COULD be on time too many of these things but, instead, watches 20 minutes of HOUSE before she decides “alright, this is stupid… I’m going…” and grabs her laptop bag so it looks like she just rolled in from the library (thus legitimizing lateness) and heads to the church house. Uh… not that I’m referring to anyone in particular… just a general example. It's all a ruse.
Consistent lateness is the price of coolness in Singlehood Church activities, and I’m seriously considering giving up my “coolness” factor for punctuality, a virtue much more praiseworthy in my mind, and truly, not as ridiculously contrite. No one notices when you were there… and no one thinks you’re cooler for ALWAYS being late (in fact I will now think you rather stupid), because we all did the same thing with the same assumptions in mind. It’s a vicious cycle, and really, it wears on you. With 8 years of Singles Ward's games behind me, I think I can afford to give up THIS one and just show up on time when I can legitimately show up on time. I may even add "puncutual to church activities because he’s not overtly concerned with us ‘super cool and too busy but not really" façade to the list of amiable attributes in a date. I mean, I think it says something about someone’s self-esteem showing up on time to stuff… particularly church stuff. Ya know?