Here’s a question I’ve been carrying around in my head for months. I’ve been meaning to send it to The Ethicist, but since it’s been a while since I’ve opened comments on a post (and you guys are clearly in search of a thread to brawl in) I guess I’ll just toss it out here.
Dear Teh Intire NetarWeb:
Say you have a friend with a glaring character flaw, something that drives you crazy. Tardiness, for example. Always shows up late for everything, and walks in the door making excuses. "Lost my car keys. Google maps was wrong. Couldn't find parking," et cetera, and so forth.
So one day you are meeting your friend for a movie. And, as always, he shows up late. Late enough that you're certain to get the crappiest seats in the house--somewhere in the first row, no doubt.
"Traffic was terrible," he says as he arrives, to forestall your objections. But this is the final straw. You read him the riot act, call him to the carpet, tear him a new asshole--pick your favorite cliche. "Why do you keep doing this?!" you yell. "It's just as easy to be consistently on time as it is to be consistently 20 minutes late!!*" He, of course, keeps insisting that it's not his fault, but you'll hear none of it.(* I actually hollered this at a friend once...)
Well, it's worse than you imagined: 28 Weeks Later is totally sold out by the time you get to the boxoffice, and you have to go see another movie instead.
Afterwards you decide to go to a bar together--not because you are friends again (you're both still totally pissed), but because you made the mistake of seeing Georgia Rule and now have no choice but to consume enough alcohol to retroactively blackout the entire evening. While you sit there silently fuming in T. J. McDrinkies, pounding greyhounds, the local 10 o'clock news comes on. Top story: a semi jackknifed on I-5 a few hours ago, bringing traffic to a virtual standstill.
Your friends looks at you expectantly. Do you apologize?
P.s. to those using the comments to offer me advice on dealing with my “friend”: this really is a purely hypothetical situation–one that occurred to me last week when I was caught in a traffic jam and showed up late to a movie.