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            The world, I've decided, is divided into two groups: those of us who arrive on time, and the people who keep us waiting. The first group contains a subset: The people who are early. (Let's face it, if you're going to be on time, why not get there five minutes ahead of schedule?) The people not in this first group are already scratching their heads and saying, "Huh?" They're thinking, "Never mind. I'll read this later." That's just fine; you all find something else to do. This essay is really for the early birds. It'll give you something to read while you're waiting. What is it about waiting that is so - how shall I put this, annoying? Is it the waste of time, the edginess it engenders? Or is it just the fact that the people you are waiting for has, unintentionally or not, given you the impression that they think you have nothing better to do? Can you tell from this that I really hate to be kept waiting? Yes, I'm sure you can. But I digress. This is meant to be a helpful essay. It is not meant to change on-timers into late-arrivers (heaven forfend!). And I'm not so unrealistic as to believe one essay could transform that other group into responsible, punctual citizens. On the other hand, it's worth a shot. So Part 1 will be an impassioned plea for promptness. Part 2, the realistic part, will offer things to do while you're waiting for that friend or family member who's never on time. Let me begin with a confession. I used to be a tardy person, always running behind the clock. I told myself it was one of my more endearing qualities. It wasn't. It led to people thinking of me as flighty at best, irresponsible at worst. And then I got this flash of insight that said, "If you're early, people will think you like them." And since, as a rule, I do, I found it easy to change my non-post-haste ways. Once I made the decision to get there on time no matter what, it became easier until finally it was second nature.

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