William F. B. O'Reilly is a Republican consultant.
There was a Twitter handle for it -- briefly.
@HowlatewasBdB launched Thursday after Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was late to his own news conference -- again. This time by 40 minutes. The account quickly gained followers. Then, it abruptly vanished from Twitter Friday morning. Someone got to someone who got to someone who shut it down. Hopefully, in the process, the message was relayed: de Blasio's chronic tardiness is becoming an issue.
Everyone knows someone who's chronically late. It's as befuddling as it is insulting to the ones stuck waiting for him or her to arrive. Perfectly capable and rational people leave you waiting outside a restaurant or in front of the theater every time. It's usually their one consistency. Handheld devices have helped reduce the anxiety a bit -- it's a little better when you can communicate with the tardy. Still, some people believe cell phones have made it worse because the tardy can text that they are running late.
For some reason or another, the problem is endemic with political leaders and celebrities. Some do it on purpose to build tension. Others schedule themselves too tightly. But then there are those who are just inveterately behind the eight ball all the time for no good reason.
The mayor-elect seems to be one of those. De Blasio's reputation for tardiness has followed him for years. It became an issue in the mayoral race when he repeatedly kept reporters waiting at his own events. De Blasio showed up more than an hour late to a West Side campaign rally in early November scheduled for 11:30 a.m., admitting to members of the media when he got there that he had overslept. "I'm not a morning person," he explained at almost 1 p.m.
Republicans are not immune to the syndrome. I've had bosses who were maddeningly late all the time. One, a prominent committee chairman, would sit inside his office -- 50 steps from a hearing room -- and fiddle while a roomful of people and reporters waited for him to arrive. "We just lost CBS," was the prompt that would usually get him moving.
It's not all politicians. Former President George W. Bush and former New York Senate majority leader Joe Bruno were meticulously punctual, to name a couple, proving timeliness can occur in public life.
Experts say that chronic tardiness is a psychological issue. Some think it's a narcissistic power play, "the-party-doesn't-start-until-I-get-there" thinking. Others believe it's adrenaline related with "sufferers" requiring crisis to perform optimally.
I just think it's rude. We're all busy New Yorkers. We have jobs, kids, appointments and responsibilities. If you agree to meet at a certain time, you're supposed to be there at that time, and if you're not it reflects badly on you.
As it is, de Blasio's lateness is reflecting poorly on him even before he takes the oath of office on Jan. 1.
Hey, what a great day on which to announce a resolution . . .
William F. B. O'Reilly is a columnist and a Republican political consultant.