It is 8PM sharp and I have a date tonight.
Actually I have a date now, if you take into consideration that we agreed upon 8 as our meeting time, but 8 felt a little stifling what with its sharp and relentless arms pointing to the lower-left half of the clock. If 8PM were on the NY Mag Matrix it would fall just below the line that separates Highbrow and Lowbrow Brilliant.
What happened to the forgiving beauty of “a quarter past?”
Anyway the reason I’m “late” is because I work, you know, and even though I was supposed to leave the office at 6:30 I got this really annoying and urgent email. That I ignored. But I only ignored it because my friend sent me this dumb YouTube link that I had to watch immediately, otherwise it would be yet another open tab weighing on my conscience, right along with that Times article I meant to read and the credit card I never picked up from this bar on Leroy. So whatever, I watched the video and then I had to watch another one because you know how that goes, and then it was almost 7 so I ran out the door like a maniac while cursing about how I was going to be late, and then I stopped for a quick snack because you never want to enter a date on an empty stomach.
I got home at 7:30. Just enough time to body shower since you and I both know that one of us got a blowout this morning. Also just enough time to lie down for a minute and scroll through Instagram while trying not to drop my phone on my face. Then I stared in my closet for 10 minutes which brings us to where we are in this immediate moment, at 8 PM (now 8:02), me standing in a bra that I might have to change depending on the top I choose. I have zero clue what to wear.
That shirt sucks. I hate those pants. A skirt is like, calm down. Dress? Maybe I do a dress. I call to my roommate — “Lev!” — he’s a guy — “Lev! Can I wear a dress?” He ignores me. It’s 8:05 so I take that as a yes, but with this dress, I don’t have to change my bra.
My reflection approves but my face needs work so I lean in like Sheryl and survey the scene. We can do this in two minutes easy and suddenly I am playing surgeon and nurse with myself:
Now it’s 8:09 which is the perfect time to send everyone’s favorite lie, “I’m on my way!,” buying me just enough time to fix the frizzy bit in the back of my hair and quickly look up the actor’s name from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” who later played the stepdad in “The Santa Clause.”
It takes two minutes to get down my five flights of stairs in heels.
It takes three minutes to hail a cab.
It takes ten minutes to get to the restaurant, one to banter with the cab driver over cash versus card, which means I’m 25 minutes late by the time I’m officially, “Here.”
This isn’t so bad if you consider the fact that everyone knows 8PM means “a quarter past.” And besides. What was that Holden Caulfield line? “If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she’s late?”
It’s 8:31. I hope he likes Salinger.
Collage by Charlotte Fassler