25. CPT Abusers

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“I’ll be there in five minutes … five hours later, I’ll be there in five minutes …” ~K. West on “Late” from Late Registration.

Dear CPT Addicts:

Habitual lateness is an ultimate sign of disrespect. You should know that by now.

Funny, I didn’t know about your kind growing up. See, I stayed involved in baseball, choir, theater and journalism. Those activities often meant being on time was showing up an hour early for preparation. I didn’t even hear about  “CP time” until college. I begrudgingly acclimated.

For those who remain clueless, CPT is an acronym most often associated with the phrase “colored people time.” So you know, I prefer the racial designation of black over any other, especially African-American. But on the CPT issue, I’ve come to understand that there are plenty of whites, Asians, Native Americans and Hispanics fruitlessly stuck behind schedule. My one true Asian friend is NEVER on time.

Thus, I think the acronym is better associated with this phrase: cotton-picking time. Yes, the hands of blacks have picked the most cotton in this country’s rich history. And that infers that black people are most egregious in this CPT dilemma. But it takes some of the edge off, and besides, everyone needs to share in the CPT blame.

I mean, if slave owners didn’t have slaves picking cotton for most of the 18th and 19th centuries, maybe blacks wouldn’t be two or three generations behind the rest of society (think that one through). Who knows?

I digress. I’m ranting like the black militant I swore I’d never become. Back to the CPT abusers.

I abhor you people. Why can’t you be on time for anything? In college, your kind pushed back the start of every event by an average of an hour and 12 minutes. If a flyer listed a start time as 7 p.m., everyone knew said event inevitably would begin after 8. So people would show up at 8:15.

It snowballed out of control. We event planners started purposely listing early times on flyers so people would show up at the time we wanted to kick things off.

Make no mistake, this problem translates into the real world. For three years, I attended a Monday morning work meeting that NEVER began 45 minutes after the scheduled start time. Of the eight regular attendees, only two of us were black. So I could write 50-page thesis about people who are habitually late to work. But I won’t.

I’ll just tell you who I fault. There are only a few people.

The Wu Tang Clan — all 596 members — heads the list. The Wu never starts a show on time. Then there’s Michael Jackson. How are you two hours late to your own press conference? Comedians are next in line. Even Larry the Cable Guy’s shows start late.

Lastly, I blame President Barack Obama. I’ve attended my share of Obama events in the last year. They’ve all started after schedule. Mr. President’s inauguration even got behind.

I don’t know if he’s trying to authenticate his blackness or just keeping in good standing with the Black Card Express. But Obama is a habitual CPT abuser. If you ever made it to an Obama rally, you know what I’m talking about.

Then again, being a CPT abuser, you probably never saw him. You likely got turned away because the rally or arena filled to capacity before you arrived. Too bad. You missed out on history because of your affinity for tardiness.

Hopefully that will teach you that being on time is change you can (and should) believe in. Even you, Mr. President. Please acquiesce.

Sincerely,

Damon

Note: This is Monday’s letter. It was posted Sunday to prove it’s OK to be early.

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18 responses to “25. CPT Abusers

  1. I loved every single word of this!

  2. Ditto….I’m habitually 15-30 minutes early and you can see how this can be problematic with those who are on CPT. My bitchy attitude when they violate the 5 minute grace period has gently disciplined my friends into shaping up. Gently, is used lightly…*chuckles*

  3. I love that you wrote this. And yes, I’m about to write a paragraph to show my passion about this. I am punctual like military. My mother raised me that to be late is to show unprofessionalism and disrespect. I LOATHE people who are late. Let’s not get on isolated situations like a fellow college friend (mutual between you and I) who had to tell his family that his graduation time was 2 hours earlier than it actually was so that they would arrive right on time, or my fiance’ who seems to think that it’s ‘ok’ to make an entrance into every event we attend together. I digress. Yes, Latin American cultures actually give punctual people the side eye because even in their corporate america, no one shows up on time. So I think that may be why the ‘cpt’ term exists because it applies to all ‘colored people’….lol….smh

  4. @ JLBD: but if you think it through, we’re talking about habitually slow people. People who pick cotton MUST take their damn time unless they want to screw up their hands even worse than they already are.

    I just think someone got wise when our grandparents were called “colored people” and realized that the initials matched up, and black people not named Cool Papa Bell were hellafied late 24/7.

  5. I’m like jlbd, I HATE people who are always late. I hate having to make up earlier times to make people be on time, I hate showing up on time and being punished for it, I hate people who waste my time… it’s a serious pet peeve of mine. I’m getting a little heated talking about it.

    Great post, Damon.

  6. Yeah, I’m not a fan of tardiness. Unfortunately, it’s a way of life for my wife, and I think it might be rubbing off on me.
    At the very least, it’s hard to be on time for anything we go to as a couple because she’s constantly dragging me down.

  7. @Big: I find that most women that I’ve been with tend to slow me down. It’s extremely annoying. But when you truly love someone you tend to put up with (some of) their annoyances.

  8. I, too, can attest to the tardiness of Wu. I went to their show in Columbia in 2002 and if my memory serves me correct, they came on TWO HOURS after the opening act. Don’t get me wrong, it was a phenominal show, but where was their hotel? St. Louis?

  9. @RVS: The Wu is no joke when it comes to being late. I saw them in 2000 for a review I was writing for an internship in Pittsburgh. They were so late starting their show that they made me miss my deadline.

  10. I attended an Obama event. It was on time.

    I attended a Clinton event. It was late. But we all know that Bill is one of us.

    Anyways, I was chair person for black history programs at my school one year and I overheard some 2520s talking…they came for an 8 event at 755 and of course I started at 8 promptly…at 8:10 some of people arrived and marveled that I started on time.

    I, in fact, predict that every moment of my life will be on time…other than my wedding (but I am going to try) and my funeral (I won’t be in charge)

  11. if you think i was a late Asian, imagine what Latin America will do to me! besides, stop being so American. there’s always tomorrow. ps. i went to a funeral here that was 2 hours late… even in death.

  12. people, that was my one true Asian friend that chimed in just now.

    Note: she’s justifying that Hispanics are late as well. lol.

  13. *Gets up with head bowed*

    Hi, my name is Luvvie and I’m chronically tardy
    Everyone: *ice grill*

    Damn. I have to admit, I’m one of them always late fools. Iunno why either. I just find myself unable to be anywhere on time (apart from work. I’m seldom late. Guess the $$ motivates me).

    But methinks its because I’m African. Africans aint got no sense of time and we are even worse than CP time. In fact, I’mo have to write a blog post about African People time. Be on the lookout.

  14. @luvvie: lol … that’s hilarious. thank you for your honesty. It’s appreciated. lol.

    on the work thing, I don’t get how people are late like that. it makes no sense.

    And i will definitely keep my eyes open for the African People time piece (no pun intended). lol. That seems like it will be unadulterated hilarity.

  15. U know as a habitual procrastinator and a delivered CPT abuser I want to get mad at u for picking on me….you know, on second thought, it can wait until 2mrw.

  16. @mschelle: you are a CPT abuser to the core. But I still love you, though. Always, Dame.

  17. My name is Ishea and I’m stuck on CPT time. lol…

    I have come to terms that while I do have a great sense of time, I have no sense of urgency. Things just aren’t THAT important to me. I don’t feel like there’s any need to rush. Now, I will make sure that I get to a movie early so I can get a good seat and see the previews, but umm…that’s about it.

  18. @IB: You need to learn about MLK’s “fierce urgency now” immediately… lol …

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