(idea submitted by Blair H.)
One of the more common peculiarities of Jewish Young Adults is their tendency to be tardy. This incessant lateness, commonly known as Jewish Standard Time, is frequently exhibited in social situations, where the JYA will, on average, arrive at least twenty minutes past when they were expected to arrive. While many cultures exhibit the quality of delayed arrival, there are specific traits within the Jewish community that make JST a distinct anomaly which merits further study.
First, there is the generation issue of JST. While JYAs will seem to place no moral or ethical value on punctuality, their Jewish Elder counterparts are notorious for their early arrival. JYAs can be seen running through the airport to catch a flight because they couldn’t leave the house on time, while JEs can be seen sitting in the departure lounge reading Margaret Atwood three and a half hours before boarding time. Therefore, one of the unique aspects of JYA lateness is how quickly the JST effect dissipates and reverses into a fanatic need for uber-promptness as the JYA ages.
Secondly, there is embedded nature of JST that has permeated across all JYA communities world-wide and has become so systematic that it seems irreparable. A group of JYAs who have all agreed with each other to meet at the local JDate Speed-dating event at 8:30 will not bother showing up till 9:00pm because they know full well that none of their counterparts will be there till 9:00pm either. A typical interaction between two JYAs who have planned to meet typically runs as follows: Say they have previously planned to meet at 9:30pm at the local bar. Neither of the two will officially make any indication of leaving the house until one gets frustrated and calls the other, asking where they are. The second will lie and imply that he/she is leaving the house now, even though he/she has not prepared for departure. The first will automatically assume that the second has not even begun preparing for departure, and therefore will only then begin his/her preparation to leave as well at that moment. Both will arrive at 10:15.
Lastly, it is important to note that JYAs take liberties with showing up on time only with other JYAs, or with family. When the JYA has scheduled with Non-Jews they are instinctively trained to show up on time, knowing subconsciously that Non-Jews do not share in their apathy toward punctuality, and would therefore not understand the status quo.
These three factors make Jewish Standard Time an unavoidable daily occurrence; a fact that is widely accepted and unquestioned. Unfortunately, the JYA penchant for leaving for a meeting roughly at the time that they are supposed to arrive creates frequent friction between JYAs and JEs; which seems to be irresolvable.