Chronically Being Late Could Actually Be a Disease

Is an inability to be on time (ever!) a bona fide illness originating in the brain or just a bad, annoying habit?

We all have that friend who is always late. Maybe that late person is you. When we make plans with our perpetually tardy pal (we’ll call her Marie), we give her a bogus meet-up time, sometimes an hour earlier than the rest of us are actually meeting, so that she’ll be on time. But even then, it’s still no guarantee.

As horrible as Marie is about being punctual, her timekeeping skills are stellar compared to one poor bloke in Scotland, who can’t even make it to his job, a first date or even a funeral on time.

Fifty-seven-year-old Jim Dunbar, who has never been on schedule for anything in his life, has recently been diagnosed with the medical condition of chronic lateness. Never mind the fact that there is no such condition on record, he's going to go with it.

According to a New York Times piece, very little scientific research has been done on why people are chronically late. However, there are some experts out there who theorize that some people are hardwired to be late (just as some of us are night owls), and that the problem “may be embedded deep in the lobes of the brain.”

The Daily Mail reports that the “condition” of perpetually tardiness may be caused by the same part of the brain that’s responsible for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People like Dunbar, it turns out, cannot properly gauge how long things take to complete. It’s like having a broken internal clock. You see that you have an hour before you have to be at work, and you erroneously assume that you can go for a run, shower, eat breakfast, drop your kid off at daycare, stop at Starbucks for a latte and then battle rush-hour traffic to get to the office in time.

Dunbar is so bad about judging time that even when he gave himself 11 hours to get to a movie, he still arrived 20 minutes after it started.

As you might expect, Dunbar is unemployed and single, and we’re guessing doesn’t make it to very many social functions.

Whether it’s a bona fide illness or not, experts do tend to agree that the chronically late are almost impossible to change. They’ve been late their entire lives and are not likely to correct their ways any time soon. Even it if gettting somehwere on time was at the top of their to-do list, something tells me it would take a very, very long time to get it done.

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