30 Days of Carol: Day 21 – I Regret to Inform You That Carol is Always Tardy to the Party

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One, if not the only, perk of watching the same thing every day for months (no one explicitly said I had to watch it every day but here I find myself doing it anyway) are the details that seem to reveal themselves when they feel you are ready. For example, I missed Carol winking at Therese outside The Cape Cod Room at The Drake Hotel in my first viewings, perhaps because this particular detail knew that I wasn’t going to be prepared for its simultaneous casualness and glamour while in the middle of some existential reeling. Patiently it waited for me to find my footing.

Well into this journey, and many viewings over, I thought everything that could have revealed itself had. I was wrong. The detail that revealed itself 20 days into this challenge was one that wanted to make sure my dedication as a Carolhead had became unconditional. One that knew I was capable of accepting Carol as a fully-realized person – flaws and all. Because what it revealed to me was something damning, and something particularly crushing to my sensitivities: that Carol is chronically late.

We know that Carol was late for Glove Lunch at Scotty’s. It’s not specified how late, but late enough for a nervous Therese to get inside, try and appear cool in the waiting area, and then give that up to watch out the window. What I didn’t know until recently was that Carol was also late for their second date.

According to Therese’s planner for December 21st, the Sunday of Sundays, the agreed upon time for Carol to pick up Therese at the Frankenberg’s 7th Avenue entrance was 2pm. But according to this clock on the side of the building that I’d missed dozens of times, Carol didn’t arrive until 2:25pm. Ouch.

Not only does Carol show up 25 minutes late, Carol doesn’t apologize for it. She doesn’t even mention it! This is a move of someone who has folded being late into a part of themselves as gently as they would egg whites into a custard. C’est la vie; there is no other way. For a chronically late person to acknowledge and apologize every time they were late would be a round-the-clock task, and so rarely do they mention it. They have rationalized with themselves long, long ago that it’s fine and that being late is “a part of life” and “no one’s ever always on time” and they’ll get there when they get there.

It’s the same kind of misguided spirit behind seeing my reflection under airport lighting and convincing myself that it’s the mirror and that this is what everyone’s skin looks like and therefore no more attention to the matter is needed, for example more water please: it’s a bit of a yikes.

But of course that’s how it would be. Everything is on Carol’s terms, and so why not the time, too? Should have told her to wait indeed.

Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 207 articles for us.

16 Comments

    • I am often late, it’s something I’ve had to accept about myself. Getting a move on can be difficult, or if I’m doing something, I have a hard time stopping that to do something else. But I try to be more respectful of other people’s time and commitments. The journey never ends.

  1. Therese’s was probably thinking Eastern Standard Time and not Eastern Paula Time that is actually 15 to 20 minutes west of EST and its the typical late time of femmes on a date like Carol for example.

    In my book Carol was right on time.

  2. Here’s what I think Carol’s morning/afternoon looked like that day:

    8:00am- Wake up
    8:15- Brew a pot o’ Joe and stare pensively out a window while sipping your coffee and munching on a scone
    8:30- Brush teeth
    8:45- Change into the 1950s equivalent of Lululemon athletic gear and do 632 pull-ups. (See also: Day 7) I’m almost certain there’s a bar hanging off a Mahogany door frame at Aird manor
    9:45- Shower/shave/pluck/moisturize
    10:45- Dry/Set hair in rollers
    11:25- Touch-up red nail polish
    11:45- Style hair
    12:00pm- Beat face
    12:20- “Would Mademoiselle be so kind as to apply to her pulse points only”
    12:21- Protein shake
    12:49– Pick outfit and dress (which includes putting on pantyhose with seams up the back. I imagine this takes AT LEAST 10 minutes alone)
    1:19- Accessorize
    1:21- Retrieve mink from coat closet and glare a goodbye at Florence as you head out
    2:21- Saddle Brook, NJ to Manhattan takes approximately 40 minutes…but it’s a Sunday around Broadway matinee times (1-3pm) so I’m sure there’s 20 minutes worth of traffic congestion in midtown where Frankenberg’s is situated
    2:25- Pull up to the Seventh Avenue entrance, open passenger-side door for Therese (don’t apologize), and lie to Richard

    I’m not trying to make excuses for habitual tardiness. I’m definitely from the school of ‘if you’re early, you’re on time/if you’re on time, you’re late/and if you’re late, you’re fired.’ But being Carol takes maintenance…and maintenance takes time. Personally, I think it’s worth the wait. Besides, she was punctual when it counted (Tea @ Plaza & Dinner @ Oak Room).

  3. Carol is the origin of the term “fashionably late” and no one can convince me otherwise.

    But also, I believe it’s more about Therese waiting then about Carol being tardy.
    Therese spends her life waiting, not just for a person like Carol, but for Her Life to start in general.

    Their third phone call – I think it’s their third, correct me if I’m wrong, but I mean the “I miss you” call – is the exact moment the balance shifts. After that call, Therese is done waiting and she starts taking life into her own hands. From that moment, Carol is waiting for her instead (on a side note, that’s why I find Carol telling Abbey she should have told Therese to “just wait” superb writing).

    Or maybe I’m going too meta with this and Carol is just always fashionably late because of course.

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