The reply hit my inbox a full three days after I had emailed a contract requiring a simple electronic signature, a legally binding image created after the world got tired of searching for pens.
The contract was attached along with a message: “Sorry it’s taken me so long to get to this. It’s just been CRAZY around here.” Yes, crazy was typed in all caps.
Later that day, as I waited in a bar for an old friend, I glanced at my watch. Did he forget about our dinner plans? It was 45 minutes after our scheduled meeting time.
Five minutes later he breezed in. “Sorry man. My life is just so crazy right now.”
I tried to summon a smile to hide my annoyance. It didn’t work. He noticed.
“What? I’m here. Let’s have a beer.”
Not so fast, buddy. Same goes for my supposedly haggard contract recipient. It’s 2017, and I have grown weary of everybody assuming they are the only ones who live in a world of permanent madness and are therefore entitled to be tardy whenever they choose, chalking it up to “craziness.” Our morning routines — particularly those of us with school aged children — are crazy; our jobs are crazy; our weekends, designed to be 48-hour respites of relaxation, invariably feel like workdays. We arise at 6 to shuttle our kids to all-day sporting events, deal with at least one technological failure and invariably answer multiple work-related emails even though we vowed not to.
And speaking of crazy, we have a new president.
While many of my friends resolve to lose 10 pounds beginning January 1, each new year I choose a long simmering internal grievance and vow to take it public. In 2016, I decided I would publicly shame anyone who barged into an elevator before letting others exit. A businessman staring at his cellphone in a Miami Beach hotel most recently incurred my wrath.
“Would it kill you to wait?” I asked, purposely bumping his shoulder as I stepped into the lobby. He glanced at me briefly but didn’t respond. He was most likely having a crazy day.
This year, I will not-so-subtly remind everyone that there is no excuse for using the “crazy” excuse. I may have to embellish my own life events, but it will be so worth it when I finally receive that long-awaited email from that individual who feels only his or her life is running at warp speed.
“Talk about crazy,” I’ll reply. “A meteor just crashed into my house, obliterating the second floor. Lucky for me, I was downtown organizing a 20,000-person fun run for prostate cancer awareness. Sorry this response is so short. Right now there’s an insurance adjustor, three NASA employees and some dude from CNN standing in what’s left of my driveway.”
The next time my friend enters the bar late, blaming a crazy day for his lack of punctuality, I’ll fire back. “Yeah, I can relate. My car, with my cellphone and wallet inside, got stolen about an hour ago. I had to borrow somebody else’s phone so I could call an Uber. By the way, do you mind paying for dinner?”
Finally, a word of warning to all physicians, cable repair technicians and auto mechanics: Do not for one moment consider it OK to make me wait more than 15 minutes past our agreed upon appointment or pickup time due to the “craziness” surrounding your place of business. For I will delay payment for your services well into 2018 due to my “crazy financial status.” While you unsuccessfully attempt to decipher that phrase’s meaning, I will escort you out the door or exit your premises, leaving you to contemplate the absurdity of your defense.
Please stay out of my way if you see me in an elevator.