While going over the old “How to Tell if You’re Imperial” post, this particular entry stood out to me:
If you have an appointment, you’ll be sure to turn up a couple of minutes late. While you’ll apologize if you’re more than five minutes late, being early (or on time for that matter) is worse.
Is there any particular reason behind this? Given that Imperial law and custom takes the matter of oath-contracts so seriously in every other case, it seems a little out of place that it would be customary to show up late for a promised appointment.
…only a little late. That’s important. You aren’t supposed to be actually late-late, just never early and not annoyingly prompt.
It’s a courtesy thing. One does not hazard embarrassing the person one has come to see by arriving before they’re ready for you. By establishing a little customary “spread” in appointment times (it’s even in the CSP), one ensures that this solecism does not happen.