Monday, March 14, 2011

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

I live in Florence, Italy. My family and most of my friends live in the US, primarily in Minnesota. That’s a seven hour time difference (8 for my friend in CO and 10 for my aunt in CA). This has led to some pretty interesting conversations about appointments for phone calls or messaging.

Mom would send an e-mail saying “Can you talk at two tomorrow?” If she sends this late in her day, it is probably already tomorrow for me by the time I read it. I get confused, not only about which day but then there’s the added confusion about two. Two her time? Two my time? Two AM or PM?

FYI-it’s really easy to confuse me sometimes. Date and time math feel like upper level college courses to me. Crazy, but there you go. NOW I live in a 24 hour clock world…seriously, subtract 12 without a paper and pencil? I think not. I have devised a (nearly) fool proof system of subtraction combined with keen observation and intuition to come up with the correct time. This may only work for me. Maybe I need a chart or  somethig.

We finally agreed that any appointments would include the day (and date if possible) and in which time zone the appointed hour resides. I am happy to say that for most of the people I Skype with there is no longer any confusion about when to have the computer on. Of course, this will all change during the two weeks when the time changes in the US but doesn’t change here for another two weeks. Will I remember? I guess we’ll see…

Facebook is another matter. Now, I have a hard time coming up with snappy replies and comments at any time. They usually occur to me hours later. I have learned to accept this about myself. One of the things I liked about Facebook when I was in the states is that I could take a few hours and still sound like I was part of the conversation. The problem now is that I am a often a whole day behind. While you all are busily posting on Facebook during the evening I am asleep. By the time I read anything, the perfect moment has passed. By the time I think of something really witty to say, it has probably been more than a day and you are wondering if I have some sort of mental illness or have been kidnapped.

I sometimes feel like the last comic to go on during a show, listening to every one of her jokes work so darn well for someone else. Leaving me with not a whole lot to say…so if you don’t hear from me it’s not because I don’t care. I may be deep in the middle of a complicated time equation to figure out if you are awake yet. It might just be that I am still waiting for inspiration to hit, and when it finally does either someone has stolen my perfectly witty response or it just doesn’t seem like the right moment anymore.

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