Different cultures have drastically different concepts of time.
Many Native Americans have trouble adjusting to the dominant live-by-the clock society we live in. For some, work starts when everyone is ready and finishes when it proper to be done. We laugh at our neighbors to the south about their manana approach to work.
But let’s not get too smug about our sense of time. Admiral Gallery writes of being stationed in Iceland running aerial anti-sub patrols in the north Atlantic during WWII using a three-day calendar.
The three days? Yesterday, today and tomorrow, of course. He claims this worked so well they had to assign a yeoman the job of keeping track of the actual calendar date for official paperwork.
So this trip I learned about Dad’s time.
Dad: “Let’s go out to breakfast tomorrow.”
Me: “Great! What time do you want to go?” (I’m hoping for 8:30ish)
D: “How about 10:30?”
M: “That’s a little late, Dad.”
D: “Well, I want to sleep in a little.”
The phone rings at 8:30 the next morning. I’ve slept in and I had to fumble for the cell phone.
Dad: “Where are you?”
M: “I’m on the third hole of the Greenbrier golf course putting for a double birdie.”
D: “I thought we were going for breakfast?”
M: “We are. You said 10:30. It’s 8:30 now.”
D: “Well I got up at 6 and I thought you might be ready to go.”
That’s how I found out about dad time and I understand it’s a condition chronic to retirees.
The trip is over and I’m soon heading home. I’ve got to admit I’m not looking forward to the drive. I’m especially not looking forward to Ohio cold either.
|These are my feet on Jan 3. What did yours look like?|
People in Florida love to boast about the nice winter weather. “December was a bitch,” they say. “The average high was only 65 and partly sunny. Why at night it got down to 51 degrees!!”
Of course, I like ask them about May, June, July, and August.
“We get used to the heat.” I’m told. “Really? I respond. “Then why do you all have air conditioning?.” “Well,” they reply. “We don’t like the excess sun. So we stay in during the day.”
Traveling down to Florida I did notice some states and counties have different ideas about roadside bill board signs. Ohio has relatively few of these giant skyscraping advertisements. Still, Ohio is not as bad as some. In California I noticed a lot of advertisements for breast enhancement and lawyers for help you with your botched boob job. In Florida it’s all about senior living and lawyers who help you with your botched medical procedure.
The Florida biosphere is really different. The birds and palm trees are wonderful but I’m just crazy about the little lizards that live everywhere.
|The Florida sun bringer?|
I had developed a theory that lizards cause sunshine. Yes, it could be true, because every time I saw these guys, it was sunny. But then again I might have it backward.
|My wife and her flock|
I was enjoying the view by the pond and a flock of birds found me in their constant search for a hand-out. Of all the white plumed birds, one bird was clearly a rebel. While I was observing the lone non-conformist rebel, a woman stopped in her car to talk with me.
|Rebel punk bird!|
As I explained before, the residents are very much interested in who you are. Residents wear badges with their name on it. But visitors remain completely anonymous. Security appears to be almost non-existent and anyone could walk in and enjoy the coffee and continental breakfast, stroll around the pond or take books out of the honor system video and book library.
This time the conversation went from the polite ‘Are you visiting someone?’ and “How long are you staying?’ to the third degree.
When she got to “Where were you born?” I had decided I had enough. Either this woman needed to pull a badge or find someone else to practice water boarding on.
“Where was I born?” I repeated. “In a hospital….Because I wanted to be near my mother.” And I went back to Hammett’s “The Thin Man.”
The trip home was long and greatly helped by the book tape we were listening to. I don’t remember the title, but it involved lost love regained, trains, snow storms, Hollywood directors and thievery. All and all a very satisfactory listen.
The only real bump in the road was a fill up at the WV-Ohio state line. The pump indicated I had to see the inside clerk if I wanted a receipt. I believe these non-available receipts are a scam with the goal of getting you in the store and confronting you with items you neither want nor need, but must have because you don’t have one. I got in line at the register. I had to wait for Bubba in front of me.
Bubba: “Got any vapor refills?” I assume he was asking about the e-cigarettes.
Clerk: “Yeah, I got Red and Blue.”
B: “What size?” Apparently Bubba knew what red and blue tasted like.
C: “Don’t know. I’ll check.” She walks over to a plexiglass case, opens it and studies the contents like it would be the final question on judgment day. Comes back and announces “I got big and small.”
B: “How much?”
C: I don’t know. I’ll have to check.” She repeats the size performance.
While this is going on I’m thinking “Please, please, pleasepleaseplease finish! I just need a receipt from pump 7 and I can be gone!”
C: “Well, the big is 9 bucks and the small 7,” Bubba had to think about it and check his wallet.
B: “I take the small. Oh, I want a lottery ticket too!”
Here’s a hint. If you have to debate the 7 dollar addiction compared to the 9 dollar addiction, you can't afford lottery tickets.
Twenty minutes later I’m back on the road thinking if I could show the security tape to a jury, they would never convict me.
After I’m home I call my dad to let him know we are safe and no longer on the road. The conversation ends with…
Dad: “I’m glad you’re safe. Boy, I really miss you two!”
How incredibly sweet! It was an expensive trip, took a lot of time and involved hard work to get everything organized, packed and ready to go. We spend a lot of hours behind the wheel to travel about 2400 miles. Suddenly all the work and effort seems so light and easy.
Me: “Well, thank you, Dad. We miss you too!”
Dad: “Yeah, I don’t have anyone to play cards with now.”