speaking the language
All this time, it was a communications problem. I have this co-worker, Sarika, who is always saying "I'll be there in 5 minutes" and then not showing up, or showing up much later. I was trying to figure out what she is doing that takes so long, but now I realize it was just a language problem. Sarika is from India where they have invented their own dialect of English. Apparently "5 minutes" in this dialect translates to my dialect as "whenever-the-hell I get around to it".
See, you just have to learn to speak the language.