No police in the world can arrest them. No prosecutor, no judge, no magistrate can convict them. So much so that they have become the hyper-powerful people of modern times, so much so that they are free of all social and moral norms, to the point of enjoying total immunity. What exactly do they steal? Seconds, minutes and sometimes even hours. They are non-violent vampires, thirsty not for blood, but for time; the single most precious non-renewable resource we have. With no leaders and no clergy, they are the most dangerous unorganized gang in the world. Yet no one dares to talk about them, let alone denounce them.
So by exposing their abuses today, I would like to be the one who dares to break the omerta. So that these criminals can no longer act with impunity. But also to allow them to repent. Also, to shed light on their modus operandi and thus allow future victims to protect themselves. If, today, I am able to expose them, it is because, for more than ten years, I was myself one of the most active members of this community. It took me another ten years to finally manage to emancipate myself.
I wasn’t always like this. From childhood to adolescence, I was more of a giver than a taker: I was constantly early to wherever I needed to go. Three hours before a plane ride. Two hours before an exam. One hour before a medical appointment, at least. All in all, I let thousands of hours of my life slip away. Not to say wasted. This perception of time was taught to me by an anxious father who hated having to justify being late. So to avoid this, he preferred to be early. Sometimes too much. Often in a sickly way.
Once I was old enough to claim my intellectual independence, I reacted like any teenager: I went the other way. Down with the dictatorship of time. Down with this liberticidal rule that made me lose hours of my life. From now on I will be late. Everywhere and all the time. From important appointments to school work prepared the day before for the next day, I underwent a rethinking of my operating system. Nothing and no one deserved me to be on time anymore. Let alone early. In my mind, by doing this, I was finally taking control of my own time, my own life and my own destiny. It was a way to make up for the hours I had wasted waiting, for nothing.
What I didn’t understand at the time was that by being late, I was missing the most critical appointments of all: those with myself. I developed a marginal system of functioning, on which I consolidated the idea that freedom came from rejecting all established norms. Later, I understood that freedom is strongly linked to constraint. While living on the edge of my delays, each day I sank a little deeper into the abyss of my own mediocrity.
Being on time means respecting your time. And especially the time of others. No negotiation is possible with these terrorists who take our time hostage. None at all. We must tell them so. They must be confronted with their inconsistencies and failures. They need to understand what they do to us and the impact it has, on our lives. We must no longer be afraid to say it loud and clear. We must reject their tasteless excuses. It is their turn to fear us. And certainly not the other way around.